Yes, Everyone in Your Organization Has an Expiration Date

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Sep 22, 2015
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

We got home from vacation recently and like most families we were foraging through the cupboards and refrigerator to make dinner our first night back home.

I poured some milk for my son, and he asked me, “Is that milk all right?” like somehow I hadn’t considered its feelings, but he mostly was asking “was it still good?”

Sure, the expiration date had passed a day or so prior, but I did the Dad smell test and that milk was more than all right!  He wasn’t in agreement, so our “all right” milk took a trip to never-gonna-get-drunk-land down the sink.

It comes down to expectations

Expiration dates on food are great. They help us understand when something goes bad, protects us from ourselves, and what we think is good and bad, which can be subjective.

All of this makes me think that we should have expiration dates on our employees!

It was recently rumored that Detroit Tigers Manager Brad Ausmus is probably going to get fired after this season. He was a popular hire two years ago and led the Tigers to the playoffs. This year, though, the Tigers have not met expectations with a team filled with high priced talent.

So, why has his expiration date come up? It’s all about expectations.

Once you gain success, it’s not good enough to maintain that success or, God forbid, go backwards. You have to keep getting more successful. The only way Ausmus gets more successful is to win the World Series, which is tough to do.

The kinds of people who have expiration dates

There are a number of other reasons people should have expiration dates with organizations. These include:

  • Chronic Average — This is for the people who just never really do anything; they just exist in your organization. After a while, they need to just go exist at another organization.
  • Convicted Idiot — This is the person who makes certain bad decisions that are so bad that their expiration date with your organization must come up. Think of hitting on the bosses’ wife at the holiday party, or worse! You probably can’t legally terminate them, but they need to go someplace else.
  • 1997 Top Salesman/Saleswoman — This happens way to much. Yeah, you were top salesperson a decade ago, so either get the trophy back or give another organization your attitude! We tend to keep them around because we are hoping they’ll regain their top form, but they don’t, so let them expire.
  • My Boss Is Dumber Than Me — An organization can take only so many of these, for only so long. OK, you win, go be smarter than us someplace else.
  • No Admins Left To Sleep With — I’m hoping the title of this one explains it as well, otherwise you might have reached your HR expiration date at your organization!

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

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.