Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Working in a Toxic Atmosphere

Amybear has been working at Sylvan Learning Center since we came back from our honeymoon. She does their testing and is currently the acting Director of Education at a Delaware center. It's been a rocky two years for her, mostly because of Sylvan's toxic management style.

Sylvan's curriculum and testing systems are fully developed and work well, but their attitude towards their employees stinks. The company just needs warm bodies to fill the instructor and administrative slots. Staff members are largely interchangeable provided they are trained within the existing system and curriculum. This works because there are lots people with education degrees (new graduates, part-time homemakers, etc.) they can hire to staff most open positions. Interchangeable staff also allows them to control costs and maintain profitability. That's important when you're paid by kid's parents directly and not through their tax dollars.

But, staff members are treated like gears in a machine, pushed and pulled, bent and spindled. Amy has been lied to on several occasions by management in order to manipulate her for their advantage. She changed centers because she was promised the possibility for promotion, only to have that snatched away. They've placed ads for her job and her boss's online as an incentive for them to work harder, keep quiet, and do as they're told. When staff members have had enough, they quit.

Amybear just found out that it is her turn to quit. A job interview last week paid off and she can give Sylvan her two weeks notice. Her new job will give her higher wages, more hours, and a shorter commute. She is understandably happy about this. I am understandably happy about this as well because I don't have to cheer her up after every crappy day at work anymore.

UPDATE: Amy's been gone from Sylvan for quite a while, so I'm restoring this post to its original honesty.

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