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Hypochondria by Death Proxy


by Glenn Shepard
February 9, 2016
Category:  Management



Carrollton, GA Feb 16
Hannibal, MO Mar 1
Poplar Bluff, MO Mar 2
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Dear Glenn,

I love your columns and look forward to them. I recently heard a grocery store clerk at the customer counter say "They don't pay me enough to do this job". My snarky thought was "You’re right. And with the way you’re talking to customers, they’re paying you too much right now." But is there some response to give people that will cause them to think a bit about their ingrained mindset?

Ray in Peoria, IL

Dear Ray,

First, ask “How much do you think you should get paid?” After they give a number, say, “And which way do you think will get you more money – A. Complaining about what you make now, or B. Asking what you can do to make yourself more valuable to your company and earn more?”

- Glenn in Nashville, TN

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Last month was a bad one for anyone who loves classic rock as much as I do.

Within three weeks, we lost David Bowie, Glenn Frey of the Eagles, and Paul Kantner of Jefferson Airplane/Starship.

However, my life will go on as usual and I won’t miss any work because of it.

As obvious as that sounds, you’d be amazed at how many people call out “sick” when a celebrity they happen to be a fan of passes away.

When Michael Jackson died in 2009, one drama queen after another kept telling reporters they didn't know how they would carry on without MJ.

Whether it's some twisted form of hypochondria by proxy or just that these people have no life, one thing's for sure —

Some people will use any excuse to miss work.

The owner of a Chevrolet dealership who attended my seminar in Ohio told me that three of his employees called out sick, claiming they were “unable” to work on February 19, 2001.

Their reason: Dale Earnhardt died the day before.

I asked how closely they worked with Mr. Earnhardt and he responded "Oh please. These pinheads never met him. They were just milking it to get time off”.

So how should you handle it if one of your drama queen employees wants to take a day off to "mourn" the passing of someone they didn't even know, or to attend the funeral of a very, very distant cousin they haven’t talked to in decades?

This is where having a personal leave policy comes into play.

If they have unused personal leave time they want to use on this, it's a battle you don't fight.

Let them take it, but warn them of the consequences if they really need that time off later in the year and don't have any left.

When they have to take that time off without pay, are denied the time off altogether, or even lose their job because of it, it won't be because the company was "insensitive in their time of need".

It will be because they squandered away the fringe benefit of paid time off.

To Your Success,

P.S. Hysteria over celebrity deaths is nothing new. When movie star Rudolph Valentino died in 1926, it took over 100 police officers to control the 100,000 mourners. They were so hysterical that they smashed windows and some reportedly committed suicide. It was later discovered that the funeral home’s owner paid people to act hysterical to create publicity for his business.

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