Posted on 27 June 2007

Bozofication Alive and Well: Utah Companies Will Pay for Stupidity

UPDATE: Please leave comments about BOZO things you have experienced at your or other companies! Anonymous submissions OK

Dilbert DeamonsI hate to say it, but I am seeing some of the most foolish and downright stupid things coming from Utah companies these days. These things may not be approaching the Yee-Haw ‘Bozofication’ problems that Guy Kawasaki ranted about from his blog-base in Silicon Valley, but there are some wildly dumb things going on out there.

According to the Utah Department of Workforce Services, May 2007’s unemployment rate is 2.5%, where the national rate is currently 4.5%. BYU’s Newsnet validates the data with their recent article, More Jobs … Less Money: Utah Unemployment Rate at 2.4%.

Corporate DroneWith such unprecedented job-growth and such a freakishly tight labor market (I have interviewed three people this week who “just up and moved here” knowing they would get a job), you would think companies in the area would be tripping over themselves to train and retain the talent they have, knowing that it costs up to 80% of an employees annual salary in recruiting fees and lost productivity to replace an employee once they go.

But, no.

In fact, as I see the market tighten, companies seem to be getting stupider and stupider with their retention systems. In fact, they may as well be paying their employees to leave, rolling out the red carpet for them, and tossing in a trip for them and the fam to Disney Land while they’re at it.

Here are five things that have consistently surfaced in my interviews over the past few weeks when I ask, “Why are you looking to leave your current job.”

  1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T: “I am continually being micro-managed. I have been doing this for 15 years. I think I know what I am doing. But, my boss is new, and I think they’re trying to look good. Now, I have them to manage as well as the rest of my job. “
  2. INTEGRITY: “I was told in my annual review that I would get a raise. That was January. This is almost July. I haven’t received a cent.”
  3. PAY: “I have been getting fed the line that ‘Utah County is Different’ for seven years. I don’t believe it any more. My living expenses are just as much here as anybody I know in Salt Lake County, and I am earning $15K less than people doing my same job, for smaller companies, with less responsibility.”
  4. INSULT TO INJURY: “I am already underpaid by $10K for the same job in Salt Lake. I was told to hang on through the rest of the year and I’d get ‘taken care of’. They gave me a raise of 14 cents per hour over last year. You’ve gotta be kidding me. That’s not even worth my time.”
  5. HONESTY: “They promised to pay my tuition if I went to school and got my degree. Their only stipulation was that I had to pay for it, then they would pay me back when I graduated. I thought that was dumb, but I did it. Now, I’ve graduated, and when I turned in my bills, they told me that ‘the policy just changed’ and they don’t do tuition reimbursement anymore.”

At the end of the day, the trend I am seeing simply stems from BAD MANAGEMENT. I wonder if the tight labor market is actually exposing fissures in the infrastructure of these companies to the point that they are letting any Tom, Jane or Harry run the place?

If you are caught working for any of these companies, I would RUN, not walk to your favorite recruiter or job-board and doggedly search for the next opportunity for yourself… or you may be the last comic standing when the walls come tumblin’ down… and it will surely not be funny.

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3 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. Robert Merrill Says:

    BTW, I took the test for my company and I score it a 2… maybe a 2.5. I think people in my home office might score it a little higher (I have never seen the CEO’s chair, so I don’t know how much it cost)

  2. Robert Merrill Says:

    Overheard: A branch of a national company wins a “Best Company To Work For” award, and then is invited to the black-tie banquet to celebrate.

    Last year, the same branch was rewarded internally by their company as one of the most profitable they have.

    Company flies in executives from out of town to attend, explaining to all the local staff that “Sorry, it’s just that the cost to attend is $100 a plate, and it’s just too expensive.


  3. Robert Merrill Says:

    Update to comment above–all execs being flown in are, of course, staying at five-star hotel…

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