She was 35 minutes late and then began on why she was late. I stopped her and said, "Whatever it was, it can wait. There's a lot to get done."
I was in the middle of a project and did not want to stop to have our conversation so I waited until she was almost finished working for the day.
I stated my position. She was initially a bit defensive and I stopped her and said, "this isn't about what I don't like or that I don't want you to work for me anymore. This is about what my expectations are and what yours are and if those will continue to work together." I reminded her that when I hired her, I stated that we would evaluate when necessary and today I felt like it was necessary.
I began with : The biggest thing is the tardiness and how that communicates to me that she doesn't take my time or my business seriously. Of course she wanted to respond. I asked her to "hear me out" before commenting. I explained how I do understand that all families have things that go on and need attention but I expect those things in her family to be attended to outside of her time here and that includes discussing them with me. I could tell she was offended by that but I kept on. I said that when I plan my day and my week and I have her on the schedule to work from 9-12 and she doesn't come rolling in until 9:35 or 9:45 - then that is a most unproductive use of my time and that kind of behavior would not be tolerated in any other kind of business setting. I explained how I understand that she is working in the shadow of the history of my former assistant and with that in mind, I wanted to explain how things began to look when it went south with her so that she could prevent me from thinking the same thing was happening again. I'm not confident that she caught the connection between her behavior and the behavior of the previous assistant.
I explained what a terrible place I was mashed into last week when I had to meet the deadline and perform 2 days of work for 2 people in 12 hours. I explained how angry (that's the word that I used) I was when she didn't show up on Thursday morning or call. She tried to tell me that she didn't know she was supposed to work and I said, "that's why I write the schedule down when we agree with it and it's right here in my date book....so we could be on the same page with the same dates/times." She just kind of shrugged. She tried to make out like she wasn't prepared for the events over the weekend and didn't know that was going to happen and I stopped her and said, "You were over 5 hours away and you knew on Sunday evening that you were not leaving until the next morning, yet you didn't take the time to inform me so that I could plan accordingly. You called me 15 minutes before you were supposed to show up, said you couldn't come that day (which means you did know you were supposed to work) and then you didn't call as promised and left me hanging further. Now you are telling me that you didn't know you were supposed to work? That doesn't match up." She just said she must have misunderstood. Perhaps she knew better than to press me on that?
I reminded her that if at any time, she did not feel like this was the best use of her time, that the compensation wasn't meeting her needs or she had family matters that prevented her from continuing this position according to my expectations - that I depended on her to communicate that with me up front and we'd agree to part with no ill feelings. I promised the same to her. I then closed by saying that if she agreed to meet my expectations and then didn't - then that communicates to me that she no longer wishes to continue this working relationship and I will seek another person because I will not go through 4 months of hoping or "self correction" like I did last time.
She isn't scheduled to work until next Monday at 9 am. Time will tell. I feel neutral about the entire thing. I feel relatively sure that she understands that when she is here, she is working. Now I have to wait to see if her behavior indicates that she understands.