Probably The Most Expensive Employee Ever

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Yesterday, I went to a retirement office party. Nothing special – cake, bad punch, obligatory cane with tassel and horn.

The party was for a guy named Mike. Here was my exact conversation with Mike’s boss, a friend of mind:

Me:What does Mike do?” (Me making small talk)

My Buddy: “I don’t know.” (Only half kidding)

Me:Are you going to replace him?” (me trying to drum up business)

My Buddy: “Probably not.”

Me:How long has he worked here?

My Buddy: “33 years.”

Me:33 years and you don’t need to replace him?

My Buddy: “We had an intern last summer who did his job while he took an extended vacation to Europe – and did it better.”

Me:How much do you pay him?

My Buddy: “$53K.”

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Me:Seriously – what does he do?!” (Me now getting annoyed at all of this.)

My Buddy: “Mike got hired 33 years ago because his uncle was the General Manager. He hired Mike as a favor to Mike’s Mom. Mike is suppose to handle client problems.”

Me:How does he do?

My Buddy: “We don’t have client problems – ever. Our Account Managers take care of any problems that crop up, which are normally very minimal. Mike is the next level in case those don’t get resolved. I can’t remember the last time Mike had an actual conversation with a client.”

Me:Do you realize you’ve paid Mike over a million dollars in his career here!

My Buddy: “Yeah – I consider it the most expensive hire we ever made.”

Do you have a Mike working for you?

This was originally published on Tim Sackett’s blog, The Tim Sackett Project.

Tim Sackett, MS, SPHR is executive vice president of HRU Technical Resources, a contingent staffing firm in Lansing, MI. Tim has 20 years of HR and talent background split evenly between corporate HR gigs among the Fortune 500 and the HR vendor community ? so he gets it from both sides of the desk. A frequent contributor to the talent blog Fistful of Talent, Tim also speaks at many HR conferences and events. Contact him here.

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3 Comments on “Probably The Most Expensive Employee Ever

  1. An example demonstrating exactly why the concept of the passive candidate being the best of the best is so flawed. A complacent, unproductive “fixture” in the organization, adding minimal value, yet allowed to collect a paycheck for three decades +. From the outside, he probably looks loyal, dedicated and stable producer for having so much career longevity with the same employer. ~Kelly B @TalentTalks

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