The April Ludgate Guide to Ditching Disgruntled Employees

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If you worked retail in the ‘90s, you probably saw Clerks. The movie, which introduced the world to director Kevin Smith, covered a day in the life of disgruntled employees Dante Hicks and Randal Graves.

Check it out if you can handle a lot of NSFW humor. And, yes, I do mean A LOT.

If you’re not old enough to have seen Clerks, you might be more familiar with another disgruntled employee – April Ludgate from Parks and Recreation.

Bad employees happen even to good companies. How can you tell that you’ve hired a Dante, Randal, or April? Here are six red flags as illustrated by real quotes from three of the all-time great disgruntled employees.

1. “I’m not even supposed to be here today!” — Dante Hicks

Who raises their hand to man your booth at the local farmer’s market? Who steps up to fill the gap when someone calls in sick? Who offers constructive feedback on your business before you ask? The employees worth keeping.

Disgruntled employees never go above and beyond the call of duty. If they’re not even supposed to be here today, they remind you over and over and over again through their words or actions or both.

2. “I don’t want to do things. I want to not do things.” — April Ludgate

In the same vein as doing the bare minimum for the company, disgruntled employees do the bare minimum for themselves. They rarely invest in personal development.

Of course, motivating personal development is partially on you as a manager. You can’t force it though. As the saying goes, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink.

3. “I hate people, but I love gatherings. Isn’t it ironic?” — Randal Graves

Camaraderie is key in a small business. Hours can be long. Pay can be low. Stability can be nonexistent. Your employees want to believe that their coworker will have their back.

That’s not to say that every team member should display perfect attendance at every happy hour. However, occasional extracurricular engagement goes a long way.

4. “If you ever speak to me in Spanish, please use the formal usted.” — April Ludgate

When I worked in corporate America, my title was Copy Specialist I. My spot behind Copy Specialist II in the pecking order was clear.

At my last job, my title was social media douchebag. It didn’t matter that I was a director. I was just another douchebag and I loved it.

If job title and tenure outweigh effort and results for someone on your team, there’s something wrong.

5. “This job would be great if it weren’t for the customers.” — Randal Graves

This one is fairly obvious, but think about how often you encounter bad customer service when dealing with other companies. Your customers are the reason you’re in business. Are they being treated as welcomed guests or as a nuisance?

If great customer service isn’t a priority for one of your employees, they gotta go ASAP.

6. “I hate talking to people about things.” — April Ludgate

Disgruntled employees don’t refer friends to your business. And they don’t share their work accomplishments on Facebook. When they clock out, they check out.

A lack of social investment in the organization is reflective of a deeper issue. The employee doesn’t care about the company vision. They’re not motivated by the Why.

How do you deal with disgruntled employees?

About the Author

Matt Simpson

Matt is a freelance writer for The DRIVE blog with expertise in digital marketing, social media, and copywriting. He's active in the #yesphx startup movement and has been recognized by AdWeek, Mashable, and more for digital innovation. Visit Matt's website or follow Matt on Twitter.


  1. says

    Theses are all very good points. Often times, we fail to see “the whole picture” and only see a comment here or there and not all of them as a group.

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