Should I fire when I’m not sure I can find replacements?

Monday, April 13th, 2009

Dear Norm,
After my mother died, I took over her business. I hired a girl, who brought along a friend, and I reluctantly hired her, too. I’ve been living a nightmare ever since. These women drive me crazy. They abuse my kindness, abuse my phones, misfile, can’t type, mess up my computers, complain constantly, spend all their time talking to one another, and never complete assignments. Yet I’m scared to say anything for fear I won’t be able to replace them. The people I’ve interviewed want benefits, and my business is too small to provide them. What should I do?
Renee

Dear Renee,
Fire them both as soon as possible, and do it on your own terms. What kind of life do you have with those people around? You deserve better, and you’ll feel better as soon as you make the decision to let them go. Believe me, you can replace them, even if you can’t afford benefits. Maybe you can offer something else—a flexible work schedule, for example. Find new people, train them over the weekend, and have them start on Monday. When your two current employees come to work, tell them they’re no longer needed. You may have to put in extra hours for a few weeks, but your life will be easier in the long run, and you’ll be happier.
Yours truly, Norm

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