What goes around comes around. The story of Jenny and 3 basic rules of management.


This week a woman called Jenny resigned from her post in what has subsequently become one the most public of resignations.  It’s a great story and a real example of what goes around comes around.

Success as an employer is never guaranteed.  Whilst countless volumes and column inches are dedicated to the science (or art) of management there is one adage that holds true regardless.  Treat people as you would wish to be treated yourself.  If you can remember this (and on many an occasion I have failed in this regard) then you will go far.

It would appear Jenny’s Boss, Spencer, did not share my view.

Having put a call through to him, Jenny was about to hang up when her Spencer was heard by Jenny to refer to her as a “HOPA”.  For those of you not familiar with the term, it stands for Hot Piece of Ass.  I think you are starting to get the picture as to the kind of employer he may be.  This was as I am sure you can imagine the final straw.  It was how she resigned that is where the story starts to get interesting and is a lesson for any employer who continues to adopt such an a lousy attitude to people.

Jenny resigned by placing a series of statements on a dry – erase board.  She photographed these and emailed them around to her 20 or so colleagues.  These photos make for a highly amusing and entertaining story, not only evidencing Spencer’s views of Jenny but also how he spent his time online.  You see Spencer decided to monitor how his employees spent their time online.  He gave Jenny the passcodes to enable her to compile reports on this for him and at the same time gave her access to how he spent his own time online.

4 hours week trading stock, over 5 hours on Tech Crunch getting the latest technology news and the icing on the cake……….

19.5 hours per week playing Farmville!

The full details of the story and the slides (which are worth a look, they are very well done and extremely entertaining) can be found at the excellent http://www.mashable.com (just search for the story entitled “Woman Publicly Outs Boss for Playing “Farmville” at Work”.

Think of the impact on this company in terms of employer brand.  There are countless examples online of employers who have screwed up royally.  Sure that happens, nobody is perfect, but technology is such that the repercussions can do untold damage to your business if that employee decides to vent publicly via email, text or any other electronic means of communication.  Historically this would have been a conversation with close friends over a bottle of wine after a bad day.  Today this is a conversation with the whole world.  Never has there been such focus on how employers engage with employees and this will only continue.

I suspect Spencer’s monitoring of his staffs online habits were in part driven by his own guilt.  After all this guy’s in charge and he spends more than 80% of his work time on non work related activity.

Lesson one, lead by example!

Lesson two, don’t ask anyone to do anything you aren’t at least prepared to do yourself.  Or at least don’t have one rule for one, and another rule for everyone else.  Staff at this firm weren’t considered it would appear adult enough to work out for themselves what might be an appropriate amount of time spent online so Spencer felt he needed to keep check on his people.  Treat people as adults and in my experience the majority will behave like adults.

Lesson three.  Treat people as you would wish to be treated yourself.  Its simple, easy to remember and costs nothing.

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