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Telling horse people they are not good at their jobs....

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  • Telling horse people they are not good at their jobs....

    ---A Vent---

    I'm a business person. I get business. I wake up every morning, put in my 8 hours. Go home. I do what I am asked and then some. If I don't do something (and this has never been intentional) I get reprimanded and it doesn't happen again. If I do something poorly, I also get reprimanded, and I do better next time. My boss is never worried about hurting my feelings, neither are my coworkers. We don't call each other on the carpet, but we point out flaws and do what we can to get better. I don't blackmail my coworkers or treat them any differently if they've correctly called me out. This model works.

    How come, in the horse world, I cannot tell someone they are not doing their job well without hurting feelings or burning the proverbial bridge. I have been asking my hay person to come for two weeks and he keeps giving me the run around. If I tell him I do not appreciate this, then I am at risk of loosing a hay person. Same with the woman I have been working for/ boarding with for 5 years. She sends me a text on Friday that says, 'I've replaced you so so-and-so's brother can have a job, don't come to work on Sunday.' Because I have a horse there, if I say something, I risk reprucussions on that front.

    I don't want to flame people, because I don't want to destroy business relationships, but I would like to say to my hay person "You said you were going to be here X day, you weren't. I spent $XX additional to get hay in a pinch. I do not want this to happen again." And to my BO, I would like to say "2 week notice is pretty standard and would have been appreciated." I honestly feel like I can't, and that's a sad state.

    Do I just have a knack for finding the emotionally unstable ones that cannot take criticisms? For as many, 'how do I tiptoe around X situation so such-and-such doesn't think I'm awful' threads as I see, I don't think so.

    Rock...meet hard place.

  • #2
    This is pretty universal. My previous boarding barn had trouble keeping staff. I didn't think the employers were that hard to get along with. For instance, they had trouble with the staff feeding the correct hay to the correct horse. When the employee was called on this - the employee said the employer was impossible and quit.

    In other news, keeping your farrier or vet happy can sometimes seem like a full time job. I am thankful to have had some great farriers and vets, but there have been others who I felt I had to always go over the top to "keep them happy" because otherwise I might lose them. I'm talking cash tips, cookies, etc. The problem was with supply and demand.

    You never know what kind of obsessive compulsive crazy person you are until another person imitates your behaviour at a three-day. --Gry2Yng


    • #3
      IMO, as far as the hay man goes, I would nicely explain to him that ,"I work and have limited opportunity to get my hay here. It does not work for me to ASSUME that you will not show up when schedule. Do you think we can remedy this?" and see what he says. I know the value of a hay connection but I am a busy person also. And I would have a stroke if my guy did that to me.

      As far as the BO, why did she replace you? Was there a reason given or she just did it. Not all BO are unstable emotional messes----again, IMO


      • #4
        Because it's not just a job for a lot of people - it's a lifestyle that allows them freedom from that 8 hour job that they can't handle, or don't want. There are no written rules, and the unwritten ones vary from barn to barn, farm to farm.


        • #5
          As for the hay, I don't know how much you ordered, but it ain't as simple as delivering a box of candy bars. In addition, there are few people who make their living off of selling hay. Most will sell hay in addition to other jobs/responsibilities, (I've had people show up and leave their very young children in the truck with A/C on a hot day while they unloaded....) and the tangled scheduling of multiple work streams can get messed up. Or the hay guy is a drunk and just knew he had already had too much to drink that day...

          Working off board is not exactly 'standard' so I don't think you can expect 'standard' 2 weeks notice.

          There is not enough $/clients/employers/employees for their to be 'competition' that would force people to do things a certain way. Many people are already losing their shirt, so they don't worry about details like showing up for appointments or giving under the table/work exchange 'employees' 2 weeks notice.
          "Friend" me !



          • #6
            This is one of the reasons I have had a few farriers in my horsekeeping tenure. I board, so I do not deal with the hay man. I do find another, reputable farrier if the current one does not call back promptly. I give the farrier a bit of leeway, but when my shod horse is over a month overdue, I have to do something. I also do not tolerate missed appointments and phone calls.

            You very much can tell your Hay man to step it up or your business is being taken elsewhere - but you have to be prepared to take your business elsewhere.


            • #7
              What you described with your work is not even close to what you have as a client of independent service providers who have little to no competition (or where there is competition, but going there would be a big pain, ie switching barns, so the client is willing to tolerate a lot of BS).

              I assume that if there were a lot of other, more reliable hay guys, you'd have switched by now, or at least complained strongly. There wouldn't be a worry about "burning bridges" - you'd presumably be niceish about it, but if he got all angry and dropped you on the spot you'd shrug your shoulders and move on to the next hay guy. If your boss reprimanded you and you huffed up and quit, no biggie, he'd hire someone else.

              It's functionally more like a monopoly. You may not like the service you're getting, but hey - you don't really have a whole lot of consumer choice, do you?
              Proud Member Of The Lady Mafia


              • #8
                As someone once told me. Who needs who more?


                • #9
                  Supply & Demand. And, it happens in the real world of business, too
                  Disclaimer: Just a beginner who knows nothing about nothing


                  • #10
                    That's not just in the horse world. Welcome to the world of small business.


                    • #11
                      Agree with LauraKY. It really is small business in general.

                      On the "employment", two weeks notice either way does not seem to apply to horse care duties. On the upside, so-and-so's brother probably won't last long and then you will be asked to return. You'll have some leverage to negotiate.
                      Where Fjeral Norwegian Fjords Rule


                      • #12
                        It is rare in the horse world to find professionals that are on par with others in business (attorney, plumber etc). People get way too personally involved and the boundaries of client/professionals lost. That is why you see so many threads of angst about "How to I change instructors"? Or, "How do I tell my Farrier to stop trimming my horses too short"? Do you see threads of those crying about how to tell their plumber to unclog the toilet better, or how to tell their dentist that they want a second opinion? No....people simply go to another professional. A lot of it in the horse world IS there are not exactly a lot of options, but we let these "professionals" run us over most of the time....we think of them as friends so that causes the gray area....and they often take advantage, because mostly they don't think of YOU are a friend.
                        "The sea was angry that day, my friends - like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli"


                        • #13
                          2 weeks notice of firing is not standard in my experience. When employees are fired, you are often escorted back to your office to collect personal items; HR stands there while you gather them; you are escorted to the door and your key doesn't work any more. 2 weeks notice to employer is standard if you resign but not vice versa.

                          The rest really are "who needs who more" issues.


                          • #14
                            You do see the same angst with hairdressers, for example. It's the close personal relationship that gets in the way of common business sense in some cases. Would you fire your hairdresser and go to another in the same shop? I would, but I believe that's probably unusual.

                            On the business owner side though (for example the hay dealer)...that's typical of small business.


                            • #15
                              I don't mean to be harsh, but is it possible your BO is telling you that you suck at your job and was trying to be nice about it since you are also a boarder?
                              McDowell Racing Stables

                              Home Away From Home


                              • #16
                                I can only guess from your post that you only have a few horses. FYI selling and delivering small loads of hay is probably not a profitable endeavor. Your hay guy probably isn't making enough money from your business to be able to make you the priority you'd like to be. In fact, he might be subtly trying to encourage you to take your business elsewhere. None of my hay suppliers would deliver to a person with small orders. Also, even with as much hay as I buy, I feel pretty sure it would be a problem if I expected them to deliver around my schedule. It's similar for farriers and dentists...driving out to a barn for one or two horses just isn't profitable from a business standpoint unless they charge extra and some are uncomfortable doing so and instead they just avoid or de-prioritize those clients. So before you criticize someone that you do business with, I think you should analyze the situation.

                                As far as the two weeks notice, I don't think that a P/T job helping at a boarding stable necessarily qualifies for much notice. Your BO may have underestimated how important the job was to you, or, there may have been a problem with your work that she was uncomfortable discussing with you since you are also a client.

                                I also think there is a huge difference between communication within a company between co-workers versus communication to other companies that you do business with. For example, I have no problem speaking frankly to my own employees and I expect them to speak frankly to me in return. However, when I speak to clients or to other professionals outside of my business sometimes things have to be discussed with with a little more tact. As a businessperson, I'm sure you choose your words with a little more care when having professional interactions with people from other companies that you work with, even when dealing with a problem.


                                • #17
                                  I don't think any of this is "telling people they are not good at their jobs."

                                  It is simply saying, "Hey, this thing you did here bothers me for the following reasons. It impacts me [thusly] when you do [x, y and z]. In the future I would appreciate it if you would do [a, b or c] instead, or I will have to consider other options."

                                  Which is a level of simple and mature communication that is completely beyond most people. My neighbors, for example, would rather rant at each other loudly across the fence and be "overheard" than simply knocking on a door and having a reasonable conversation.

                                  Sometimes in grown-up land you have to
                                  1.) initiate
                                  2.) carry on
                                  conversations like an adult.
                                  The Noodlehttp://tiny.cc/NGKmT&http://tiny.cc/gioSA
                                  Boy Wonderhttp://tiny.cc/G9290
                                  The Hana is nuts! NUTS!!http://tinyurl.com/SOCRAZY


                                  • #18
                                    wow. if i acted to my clients how some of you folks allow/expect small business to treat you - i would not be working!

                                    IMO, you should treat people fairly and with respect. and any vendor who treats me like shite will get the boot!

                                    allowing people to treat you badly only encourages them to treat others badly too.

                                    i am fairly militant in this belief and have been able to find great people to work with - even if it has taken awhile to find certain vendors....

                                    and fwiw, i will not work for folks who treat me or their clients badly. so it cuts both ways.

                                    in the end i find the horseworld to be chock full of crazy people who would not be able to act like they do in others walks of life


                                    • #19
                                      Originally posted by LauraKY View Post
                                      You do see the same angst with hairdressers, for example.
                                      True. I have long joked that it's easier to break up with a boyfriend than with a hairdresser. In fact, now that I think about it, my relationship with my hairdresser has lasted far longer than my marriage.

                                      On the subject of hay deliveries, I use small quantities so I go pick up my own. And I always start my conversation with "When would be a convenient time for me to come pick up some hay?" And if I have to sneak away from work in order to be there at that "convenient time," I do. But, I know most people can't do that.
                                      "Facts are meaningless. You can use facts to prove anything
                                      that's even remotely true."

                                      Homer Simpson


                                      • #20
                                        If professionalism is important to you (sounds like it is--it certainly is to ME!) then you need to surround yourself insofar as possible with people who believe likewise. My hay man has a 6-hour drive one way to get here, and arrives on the dot of when he told me to expect him--a good thing since the help are standing around waiting to unload. But I buy 12 tons at a time, and hand him a good check while the guys are still sweeping out the truck. Because I also have been loyal to HIM for 18 years, I'm paying $30/ton below market average as well.

                                        It's always a good idea to keep "professional distance" between you and BO, BM, or boarders if you own the place. That makes misunderstandings, the taking of liberties, the outrageous impositions and resulting resentments less likely to occur and easier to deal with when they or minor problems arise. Not "I thought we were friends," but "You need to treat me fairly and above board." Two different equations, entirely!

                                        Sometimes you just need to shop it out--see what else is out there. Often another hay dealer or barn might be out there that would really appreciate your business and is willing to show it. Don't worry about "burning bridges" if your money is better spent somewhere else. It's business, not a romance!