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Monday, November 16, 2009

Employees Nobody Wants

By Tommy Eden, Attorney

In today’s tough economic climate is important that all Alabama employers use wisdom to discern the employees you want to keep and those employees nobody wants. Perhaps it's time to inspect your work force using Solomon's performance evaluation criteria from the Book of Proverbs. Part II "Employees Everybody Wants."

A. The Sluggard. Proverbs 24:30–34. Sluggers come in all denominations. The complainers’ liturgy goes like this: “what time is it; it's not my job; this is the easiest way; what time is it; work is a drag; I don't get paid enough to do this; what time is it.” Aside being a whiner, the sluggard is characterized by six telltale signs:

1. He has trouble getting started. Proverbs 6:9. “A little sleep a little slumber," he doesn't know when he will get started to work.

2. She is restless-filled with inner plans she never implements. Proverbs 13:4; 21:25. The sluggard can be extremely creative but has trouble getting on track and is typically the “idea man."

3. He is costly to do business. Proverbs 18:9. They know how to destroy office morale, goals and accomplishments by destroying the goal of the business.

4. She is often defensive when faced with her wrong. Proverbs 26:16. Always ready with a reason for everything.

5. He is a quitter. Proverbs 12:27. Starts all endeavors with a lot of enthusiasm, but are known to have several unfinished projects.

6. She lives under self-delusional excuses. Proverbs 22:13. Channels all their creative energies into making excuses. Procrastination is their badge.

7. Solomon's counsel to the Sluggard. Proverbs 6:6-8; 26:14.

B. The Deceiver. Proverbs 11:18. This employee typically whispers things like, "no one will ever know; don't worry about it; everybody does it; this is smart business; besides they owe it to me after all the hard work I put into this company; they will never miss it.” These are their three characteristics:

1. He appears to have a life of ease, but it's really empty and without purpose. Proverbs 13:11; 15:27. It is only a matter of time before the employee is caught and shame comes.

2. The deception may be exciting initially, but it is bitter and hard to bear. Proverbs 9:17; 20:17. There is a feeling of twisted success from the theft.

3. He lacks a sense of loyalty. Proverbs 25:19. First to abandon ship and leave you stranded when hard times hit.

4. Solomon's counsel to the Deceiver. Ephesians 4:28

C. The Greedy. Proverbs 28:22. This employee is typically the get rich quick guy, "when I make my first million I will be back; all I need is just a bit more and I'll quit; I promise money means everything to me.”. These are their four characteristics:

1. He attempts to find security in money. Proverbs 11:28

2. She never slows her fanatical pursuit of riches. Proverbs 23:4-5

3. He is extremely selfish. Luke 12:15 – 20

4. She will get burned because of her greed. Proverbs 28:19–20

5. Solomon's counsel to the Greedy: Read the book of Ecclesiastes

Tommy Eden is a Lee County native, an attorney with the local office of Constangy, Brooks & Smith, LLP and a member of the ABA Section of Labor and Employment Law and a Sunday School teacher at First Baptist Opelika. He can be contacted at or 334-246-2901. Blog at