This is a fictional story. But the facts fit.
Once upon a time, there was a young man who grew up and wanted to start a business.
He decided he would start a shoe business. As time went by, he was able to get large contracts from big shoe companies that wanted him to make their shoes.
He got contracts from a company out West, then another from a company in the Mid-West, until he had about 4 contracts. He was so busy making so many shoes and so many different styles he had to hire experts in the field of shoe making.
One person made the soles, one person made the laces, one person made the leather uppers, one person stitched it all together. Then he decided, he wanted to go on vacations with his family, so he decided to hire someone to be his ‘right hand man’. He did.
He hired a man who seemed the perfect fit. This person was so good at what he did. He knew shoes inside and out. He knew which lining to put on some and which leather to put on another. He really knew what he was talking about. But what the owner didn’t realize, was that his new right hand man, didn’t have his company and his company’s interests at heart, but was chummy with the other shoe makers, those that gave him the contracts.
He didn’t know what his right hand man was doing behind the scenes. He rarely talked to his employees, he was too busy doing other things. Besides, isn’t that why he hired this overseer?
The overseer let it be known that ‘no one better cross him’ or there would be hell to pay. The employees weren’t afraid of him, they knew their jobs, but they knew there was this over-arching threat, hanging in the air. They continued to make the shoes, even coming up with new thoughts and ideas on how to make them better. One time, the overseer took some shoes that weren’t finished yet by one of the employees who had already left for the next day, and finished them.
One day, one of the workers was out mountain climbing and while grasping onto a rock, his hand broke. This worker had a high pain threshold and didn’t realize it was broken, so he came back to work and continued to work. It began swelling up and he realized something was wrong. He went to the doctor and the doctor said ‘you waited a pretty long time to come in, we’ll take x-rays and see what we can do’. So they put his hand in a cast of plexiglass, it was a new invention, so others couldn’t see it was a cast.
The guy went back to work and no one realized there was a problem. The guy’s hand was getting better and he thought it was coming along nicely and healing. The overseer saw that the workers’ shoe quota was suffering because he didn’t have full use of both hands. Yet, he said nothing to the worker. Again, this worker had some shoes that should have been done, but weren’t. So the overseer took some of the shoes and said, ‘there will be consequences’. The overseer finished the shoes. No one knew if the overseer told the owner.
The owner was so far out of touch with the employees he hired, he didn’t even know new styles had come out. He left everything to his overseer. The employees knew the score and talked amongst themselves of the shenanigans going on, knowing the overseer was not one to cross.
They could see thru the facade of friendliness and the specter of constantly working the overseer kept saying he was doing.
As the man’s broken hand began to heal, he thought he was doing better than when it first broke. No one ever said otherwise to him.
Until one day, the owner told the employee he was going to put a plan in place to get his shoe stitching up to speed. This was surprising to the man as he didn’t know his performance was still down. The man knew this letter would be the end of his job at the shoe factory. Everyone knew that.
Three weeks later, out of the blue, the worker was informed he no longer had a job, yet was being kept on until the end of the contract. The worker was bewildered and perplexed, but glad he had a job for 6 more weeks.
The overseer smacked his lips with satisfaction. All the workers felt it was the overseer who exacted his revenge on the employee, as he said he would.
Five weeks later, the worker had gotten a job at a new factory with better wages. His co-workers celebrated. The overseer got wind of it and wanted to look like a good guy, calling him up asking if the employee wanted him to ‘talk to people and try to get him hired in the same job’. The worker was getting better wages at the new job and was suspicious of the overseer. He declined.
When the owner talked to the employee, the employee told him he had gotten a job where he used to work, working on the same shoe style he had been doing for this owner.
The owner didn’t know what the man was talking about. Sad. Sad the owner was so out of touch with his own business.
Here’s hoping the owner begins to see the type of person he hired as an overseer and if he does know, woe to all involved. If he does not know, he better watch his back.