Some Days It’s Tough to be The Boss

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Sometimes, it’s tough to be the boss. In many cases, the only way to grow your business is to bring in other people. At some point you’ve got to be able to trust and depend on others to get the job done. When it doesn’t happen, the buck often gets passed — right to you. You wind up being held accountable, either financially (through offering refunds and discounts) or in other ways (public complaints, negative publicity, getting sued, etc.). As you’ve paid someone to do the work, you’re actually out twice as much.

It’s been a tough week for me. Internal problems have left me looking around town to see who’s hiring and who’s looking. I need to add one, maybe two more people to cover the workload, but what I am seeing out there is discouraging. The same positions are being advertised, over and over again, which says to me that either the employer’s lousy to work for, or no qualified people are applying. Logically it should be both, but the last time I posted an ad I was deluged with responses, 99.5% of which were unqualified. I’m learning fast that there’s a big difference between calling yourself qualified and truly BEING qualified, especially in my field.

When I went looking on job forum boards though, the common theme seemed to be “the boss I work for is an a** because …” The people posting to that board are almost all employees, so it was unsurprising. In our Forum, however, the discussion is mainly amongst business owners. For them, the common theme seems to be frustration in finding people who can get the job done and have a decent work ethic, be they employees or independent contractors.

So if we have all these good people looking for good bosses, and all these good business owners looking for good people, how come we’re having so much trouble connecting with each other?

I wonder how much of a factor location plays? Reno is a town with a largely service-based economy. Wages are low, and the workforce is transient. We often don’t know someone’s quit a job until they stop showing up for work.

Education plays a factor for sure. In a low-wage town, the best and brightest tend to move on, to richer areas. But this is also a university town. With 15-20,000 students in residence, I have trouble believing there are no bright, capable people out there.

Then, I talk to people on the TaxLoopholes Forum with friends and relatives who are solid, honest, dependable and work their butts off, but are in parts of the country where work is scarce. I grew up believing that workers migrated to where the work was, but maybe the reverse is true? Work migrates to where the workers are?

I’m not sure what the answer is. But, after a weekend of feeling sorry for myself, the pity-party’s over. I’m not quite ready to throw in the towel. I’ll be advertising again for people this week.

But I’d sure be interested in hearing from others on this subject, especially those of you who built your businesses ground up. How tough was it for you to get the first couple of people in place? How long did it take? What did you find were the biggest challenges and keys to your success?


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