In the years before Delta got the promotion, Charlie dealt with more than his fair share of adversity. Chief among those difficulties he faced was the problem of junior employees who possessed few job skills but exhibited multiple personality quirks. Charlie, in his defense, was the first to admit he lacked the skills to handle HR types of issues with these employees. His preference was to handle things informally. He didn’t like the plodding bureaucracy that Human Resources required. Usually Charlie enlisted the aid of Delta only after the situation had reached a breaking point, after the informal method had failed. Charlie would need to vent his frustrations or bounce things off of Delta. And, Delta would provide the outside perspective, the calm insight, the brutally honest assessment, and tell him to call HR. Delta worked at the office of the client during that time. He was local, but separate. As such, he could observe the situation from the outside vantage point. He could advise without direct involvement. He saw the people and the situation often enough to have a firm knowledge of the type of help Charlie needed. And, Delta knew it wasn’t his place to provide that help until Charlie asked for it.
One summer, a prominent client asked Charlie to give his daughter an internship. She was in her second or third year of college and supposedly wanted to get experience relevant to her degree. Charlie obliged, in the interest of good business relations, and set her up in the office with her own work area and responsibilities. It was his first intern and he was glad for the additional assistance. He quickly grew to regret the entire situation. Unfortunately, the girl did nothing but call her friends on the company telephone all summer. Projects and tasks she was given were ignored. Requests to join the group for conferences and meetings were fruitless. She was worthless. Charlie considered taking away her telephone, but knew the client would hear about it and was of the type to take the side of his daughter. Delta responded to Charlie’s request for advice with a suggestion to just wait it out and do nothing. Charlie realized Delta was right, but never allowed another intern.
Another time, the administrative assistant was the problem. She was Charlie’s first (and only) hire. She was pleasant and personable, intelligent and bilingual. She was under qualified for the position. Charlie had assumed she’d grow into the job. Unfortunately, the responsibilities of the position grew faster than her capabilities. While there had been minor indications along the way she was struggling, there was never a major crisis. One day, though, Charlie got a phone call from FedEx (he was listed as the contact for the account) and was told the service was discontinued pending the actions of the collection agency. Since Charlie was sending lots of FedEx packages to clients every week, he was obviously distraught. After challenging FedEx and the billing people in the Home Office and getting no resolution, Charlie spoke to the Admin. It turned out she had been merely filing all of the invoices she’d received, assuming they were duplicates and the Home Office was handling. She never questioned the late due notices. She just simply filed everything away. Also, FedEx was just the tip of the iceberg and it took six months to straighten everything out. Charlie didn’t fire her, though. He felt honor bound to keep her and, besides, Delta had pointed out she’d never been properly trained.
(to be continued)