Barking Up The Wrong Tree: what happens when work expectations are not made clear

Updated: Apr 24

(originally published to the Business Owner Tide Chart newsletter - December 2019)


I love dogs.  Growing up, we always had at least two furry friends.  So in high school, when a new dog day care and grooming location opened up near my home it sounded like a great fit for a summer job.  I could spend the day with my favorite creatures, petting and playing with them.  Of course there would also be some cleaning of cages and cleaning up after the dogs.  But I wanted this job for the hands on time with all the dogs.  Looking back I don’t remember much about the interview process.  It was probably pretty standard.  I had experience with dogs and I was a hard worker, that at least covered the basics.  I showed up for my first day and my manager took me through my orientation.  We toured the facility and she started to explain the various responsibilities.  As she explained the process for cleaning dog pens, moving the dog from their pen to a temporary one she casually says “Oh, and you can’t pet or play with the dogs.” What?!  I stopped dead in my tracks.  All these adorable dogs, missing their owners, and I can’t show them any affection?

This was the main reason I wanted this job.  And now you’re telling me it’s not allowed?! 

I was stunned.  And disappointed.

Needless to say I lasted two weeks at that job before quitting.  There was a huge discrepancy between why I wanted the job and what I was actually allowed to do.  Through the interview process, both my interests and expectations of the job should have been discussed.  Of course, some things are obvious.  But not being allowed to touch the dogs at a dog care facility seems like a unique policy, one that would have deterred any number of dog lovers attracted to the company. (Pictured: me and my dog Quincy, who I get to play with anytime I want!)


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