my company advertises every job all the time to make sure we know we can be replaced

A reader writes:

I work at a mid-sized company in a highly competitive field where turnover is usually very high, and most positions are either sales-focused or service-based with a few office/administrative occupations making up the roster. The sales openings do not require any specific training, while the service positions are considered skilled trade jobs and can be highly specialized and hard to fill.

Recently, my company has adopted the policy that everyone’s job is posted online all the time. So, no matter what your position is (unless you’re an upper-level manager), you are at risk of being replaced and it only takes your manager opening the bank of applicants to move forward with replacing current employees.

The company’s stance is that everyone should be aware that they are replaceable, and that should be enough to motivate us to perform our best every day. However, I feel that this is incredibly offensive and horrible for morale. Granted, I am opposed to any kind of tenure system and feel that no one’s job should be protected against replacement if warranted, but this is taking it to the extreme. (One colleague pointed out that it was like a married person logging onto dating apps when they get into an argument with their partner).

Besides the employee morale issue, this is also problematic because we constantly get calls from job seekers who have submitted their application online and are wondering about the status of the job search when it may be a position that’s not technically “open.” I have voiced concerns that it does not present a great image when a person is hired and notices the job they just got is still posted online.

In your opinion, is this a good idea? Or am I correct that it’s incredibly demoralizing and bad for business in general? Do other companies do this?

What?! No! This is a terrible idea.

Your company is managing people by threat and fear. They are clearly saying to employees, “We have zero loyalty to you, we can and will replace you on a whim, and — most importantly — we want you to know that and to fear it.”

Why would anyone want to build a career somewhere that operates like that?

Something is deeply wrong with the management culture in your organization. They apparently don’t know how to manage effectively without holding the daily threat of replacement over people … and they don’t realize that managing by fear stifles tons of good things that you should want from employees, like creativity, initiative, risk-taking, and willingness to give honest input. Who’s going to take any risks in their job or be honest about problems in a climate like this one?

Who is even going to feel any good will toward an employer that operates this way?

Your company is shooting itself in the foot in the weirdest way possible.

To be clear, good managers do try to build a pipeline of potential candidates so that they’re not starting from scratch every time they need to hire someone. But that means things like networking, talking with people with interesting skills, building relationships with colleagues at other organizations, and keeping in touch with former staffers and interns — all low-key ways of expanding the group of potential candidates you can reach out to when a job does open up. It doesn’t mean posting current employees’ jobs online!

Here’s hoping that everyone working there takes this as a giant sign to get out. If everyone is at daily risk of being replaced, its workforce should give the company what it seems to want — every position vacant.

{ 231 comments… read them below }

    1. Observer*

      Totally and completely.

      The surprising thing is not that it’s high but that it’s not astronomical.

      1. LimeRoos*

        Hahaha, yesss. I went back and re-read the paycheck boss too, and whoa boy I forgot how completely out of touch she was. Totally applicable to this company.

        1. Love to WFH*

          I was 100% convinced that Paycheck boss was white, and the employee who had the “disrespectful” expectation that she be paid on time was Black.

          1. CharlieBrown*

            There’s really nothing in that letter to indicate this, and I viewed it as an age disparity thing, but yep, this is definitely about someone in power who thinks those who are beneath them are really beneath them and get upset when they become “uppity” or as the rest of us would call it “expecting to be treated like a human being.”

    2. CatCat*


      It seems employees’ stance is that the company is also replaceable, which the high turnover should constantly remind the company, yet somehow that has not motivated the company to perform its best in how it treats employees.


    3. starsaphire*

      I am shocked – shocked! – to discover that there is gambling going on in here!
      – Capt. Renault

    4. AnonInCanada*

      Came here to say this as well. Maybe if they incentivized people with carrots rather than sticks… just sayin’.

  1. Chairman of the Bored*

    This company is just saying the quiet part loud.

    Their implementation is dumb and likely to backfire, but “everybody is replaceable and we’re always interested in hearing about cheaper alternatives to our current worker bees” is very much business as usual at most large for-profit companies.

    There’s a reason there is a whole massive industry around helping big corporations relocate jobs to low-cost regions.

    1. Happy meal with extra happy*

      Is this really the case? Like yes I totally agree that there are companies, large and small, that regularly operate like this, but “most”?

      1. Dinwar*

        My sense is that they’re the ones that get the most attention. It’s unclear–and without fairly rigorous study, it will remain unclear–just where the majority of companies lie on this spectrum. And it’s worth bearing in mind that different groups within each company are likely to be different with regards to loyalty.

        This company is horrible, absolutely. But I don’t believe it’s typical, nor do I believe the mentality is typical, and I disbelieve the idea that we have sufficient knowledge to definitively answer these questions right now (making my beliefs above mere working hypotheses, not actual accepted truths).

        1. sam_i_am*

          > And it’s worth bearing in mind that different groups within each company are likely to be different with regards to loyalty

          This! So many times, people talk about “company culture” and act like all aspects of it are company-wide. Maybe it’s because I’m in academia, where things are pretty disparate, but my group’s culture is much more important to my day-to-day than my university’s culture. Of course there are things like promotions that are handled by university-wide HR, but with general “culture,” I’d be hard pressed to say anything about the wider university. I can only speak to my research group and, to a lesser extent, my department.

          1. The Real Fran Fine*

            Your work culture sounds like mine where my direct team functions differently from other teams company-wide, and I believe that’s true of most of the teams within my global company (many of our groups act as independent mini-companies within the larger company, which is not always ideal, but does occasionally work and make sense). In my entire 12 year career, I think I’ve only worked at one company (out of five) that was a shit show from top to bottom and in every department.

      2. Chairman of the Bored*

        Quick research indicates that well over half of Fortune 500 companies are outsourcing non-trivial amounts of their work to low-cost regions, so “most” does seem to be accurate.

        Also, note how loudly big employers and their lobby groups complain whenever there is any talk of lowering the H-1B visa cap or implementing stricter vetting of H-1B positions.

        1. Dinwar*

          As I understand it, most companies are small. Even most corporations (hardly the only type of company) are fairly small. Limiting your search to Fortune 500 companies artificially biases the sample towards the preferred result.

          From a company standpoint, outsourcing makes sense. I work for an environmental company; what do us rock-jocks know about accounting? If someone in a low-cost area can do just as well as someone in a high-cost area, why not use them instead of trying to figure out something with high risks and way outside our expertise? This isn’t necessarily malicious. When I moved from CA to AL I took a pay cut, and therefore became somewhat more attractive for desktop reviews of certain projects–I was doing the same work for less. (For my part, I had far more purchasing power, so everyone–the client, the company, and my family–won.) For the accounting, given that I work for a Fortune 500 multinational company, we’re not even going outside the company to outsource certain work to low-cost areas. We’re just switching around some task codes.

          We’re a global economy now. The harsh reality is that a lot of fields are facing competition from foreign workers, both within the USA and as outsourced work. Is there a compelling reason why companies should allow themselves to suffer competitively by not taking advantage of these savings? Before you say “We’re harming local workers by paying them too little!” I will remind you of my experience moving from CA to AL. Sure, the pay would often be crap for someone in the USA. But they’re not in the USA, and where they are the pay is often better than the alternatives. (Note that I’m not talking sweatshops here–though the economics of those is more complex than most are willing to admit as well.)

          1. tessa*

            “Before you say ‘We’re harming local workers by paying them too little!’ I will remind you of my experience moving from CA to AL.”

            A sample of one is anecdote, not generalizable data.

            Also, corporations used to contribute to their local economies by staying put and employing community members. Making every last thing about profit is just…sleazy.

            1. Dinwar*

              “A sample of one is anecdote, not generalizable data.”

              It’s a well-documented trend, however. This is one reason why people favor remote working, for example–it allows them to live in areas with lower cost of living. Most don’t go as extreme as I did, but it’s still something workers consider. Why shouldn’t companies?

              My example also illustrates that outsourcing to poorer areas does not necessarily harm the workers, an assumption that many of these arguments rest on. It can actually be to the worker’s benefit. They get paid less, yes, but if the cost of living is also less they may actually end up ahead.

              “Also, corporations used to contribute to their local economies by staying put and employing community members.”

              And then the companies would go belly-up and towns would die. Or they’d make company towns and issue scrip instead of paying workers. Let’s not paint this situation in rosy hues; this wasn’t any better than outsourcing.

              And it’s not like corporations don’t contribute to local communities these days. Again, most are small, and many still are local. The idea that “company” means Fortune 500 is false. And even Fortune 500 companies donate money to local causes and events.

              And isn’t helping out the less fortunate a good thing? Why should rich Americans (and even our poor are rich compared to much of the world) be the only ones to benefit? Isn’t it a good thing to provide opportunities to developing nations? Charity often fails–see “Water for People”, a charitable organization, for the economics–but establishing information-economy employment leads to sustainable economic growth in those areas. Why is that bad?

              Further, at that time communication was a bottleneck. You COULDN’T outsource to another country, not unless you lived on the boarder, because communication methods didn’t allow for timely transfer of information. That no longer is true. I can communicate as fast with someone in Australia as I can with someone a mile down the road. The practical barriers are gone. You are arguing that there are moral barriers. Okay. What are they?

              1. Tyler Rowe Price*

                These small towns typically court these companies with insane subsidies in sweetheart deals and the corporation ends up being a net drag.

                I’m not here to argue though. You like the neoliberal kool-aid and I don’t.

                1. Red Sky*

                  I’m not here to argue though. You like the neoliberal kool-aid and I don’t.

                  Sounds like arguin’ words to me…just sayin

                2. Regina George*

                  I agree. Companies don’t stay in communities to support the local economy and “give back”. They are getting tax breaks and as soon as they find a better deal somewhere they can move or outsource to with lower operating costs, they’re out.

                3. Fishsticks*

                  Yeah, I think we’ve all watched those big corporations move in with their promises of ‘supporting the little guy’ and then watched them undermine local workers’ power, pay them less and less and bring down the local community wages overall in the process, viciously union-bust, and often eventually move on, leaving a desiccated husk of a warehouse impossible to repurpose and permanently depressed wages behind.

                  I’m happy to hear the environmental corp doesn’t seem to be doing that, but… one good company doesn’t unspoil the bushel of bad apples.

              2. yala*

                “And then the companies would go belly-up and towns would die. Or they’d make company towns and issue scrip instead of paying workers. Let’s not paint this situation in rosy hues; this wasn’t any better than outsourcing. ”

                I feel like there’s a bit of a gap between “16 Tons” and outsourcing everything possible to the point that something being manufactured in the US is a novelty.

                I also feel that the fact that folks were on average more prosperous two generations ago when companies employed people where they were kind of says that while not rosy, it was still better for the overall economy and for the people living here.

                “And isn’t helping out the less fortunate a good thing?”

                I don’t think you get to say that companies should take advantage of every opportunity for profit, and then play this card and be taken seriously.

              3. NotAnotherManager!*

                This sort of outsourcing is becoming more common in my field. There are a few problems with it:

                A number of my type of organization have outsourced their admin support to a tiny “city” in a poor, primarily rural state. The outsourcer is the biggest game in town, but the part of the Venn diagram of “qualified to do the job” and “willing to live where the job is located” is narrow.

                If things don’t work out with said outsourcer, there are not a ton of other job opportunities, which depresses wages and doesn’t incentivize provision of human benefits or PTO and certainly does not draw qualified applicants to relocate for the “opportunity”.

                When the sweetheart deals for “new industry” dry up/expire, the outsourcer make the loss of subsidies by cutting costs, which often affects quality. So, your contract works great for three years, and then the tax holiday expires and your team lead is “too expensive” for them to keep.

                Also, outsourcing all these sorts of jobs to rural areas can exacerbate poverty in high COL areas because formerly middle-class jobs have now been sent out of the local area and not everyone can just pick up and move to a rural area due to local elder care commitments, not wanting to their kids to go to a public education system that ranked in the bottom 10 nationally, a need or desire to be near healthcare facilities, a family member who is LGBTQIA+ who may not be welcomed in these communities, etc.

                1. Vanellope*

                  It’s very common in my field as well, and we are starting to see repercussions of the short sightedness. All entry level work at many of the larger players has been outsourced and then reviewed by local managers, and now we are reaching a point where companies are desperate for managers but there aren’t experienced people at that level because they took away the opportunity to start at the bottom and learn from your elders on the way up (which is how my industry works). They’ve cut their legs off to save money and now are facing a real staffing shortage at higher levels.

          2. yala*

            “(Note that I’m not talking sweatshops here–though the economics of those is more complex than most are willing to admit as well.)”

            tbh, that feels like a distinction without a difference. If its being outsourced to a cheaper economy, then it’s more than likely that it *is* being done by someone being drastically underpaid for their work, working long hours or doing piecework

            “Is there a compelling reason why companies should allow themselves to suffer competitively by not taking advantage of these savings? ”

            The less companies pay their workers, even (or especially) locally, the less money those workers have to put back into the economy, the worse it gets overall. Is that compelling enough?

            Wealthy people taking advantage of savings by trying to squeeze every last drop of blood from a stone winds up hurting everyone

            1. Summer*

              This is exactly it – you send the jobs overseas because you don’t want to pay people a living wage. Plus, the CEO needs a yacht for his yacht! Then it’s a race to the bottom. However, if those Americans don’t earn enough money, how are they going to be able to purchase your goods?

            2. linger*

              Lower COL alone might be neutral for workers in terms of purchasing power. However, it’s usually not the sole reason for a company seeking to lower costs by moving jobs: operating expenses are also lowered through moving to a less well-regulated environment, with fewer worker benefits available, and less control on quality of working conditions and safety, materials, and construction techniques. In the absence of a concerted and ongoing effort to maintain quality in all of these areas, it becomes a race to the bottom of the barrel.

          3. coffee*

            Australia has a problem at the moment with rents in rural locations, which have dramatically increased in some places with the rise in work-from-home during the pandemic. This has pushed out long term residents who can’t compete with management-level white-collar wages. So I don’t know that “everyone wins” in that scenario.

      3. Sola Lingua Bona Lingua Mortua Est*

        I don’t think you can classify “large” organizations one way or the other. It can vary from department to department, team to team, depending on the leadership and how problematic backfilling positions and training up new blood is.

      4. Love to WFH*

        No, at lot of companies really want to retain employees, at least in more skilled jobs. It’s much cheaper than constantly recruiting and training.

    2. Hello Dahlia*

      Yes! My company also has high turnover just because the job sucks, but since we’re all remote, they are hiring in poorer areas so they don’t have to pay as much. I’m glad I’m not a worker bee because I’d be searching for a different hive.

      1. Zombeyonce*

        Wow, that’s a great way for your company to have huge equity problems in service of the bottom line. I wish there was a site I could go to in order to easily see things like this from companies I buy products and services from so I could stop using ones with terrible business practices.

    3. Warrior Princess Xena*

      I think this is a little unfair to corporations – yes, even large ones. One of the common ideas of business, that has been frequently repeated by Allison and this entire comment section, is that having your business or office or team rely on a single irreplaceable person with loads of historical knowledge is a recipe for disaster, burnout, and turnover. Even in great businesses people quit, are fired, retire, etc. and having a pipeline of skilled people so that transitions can be made gracefully is a good thing.

      That’s not at all what OP’s company is going. They are made up of crazy bees, and OP should run far far away. But to a certain extent being replaceable is a healthy thing.

      1. Observer*

        But to a certain extent being replaceable is a healthy thing.

        This is true – both for the company and for the worker(s).

        But, as you say, that is totally not the issue here.

    4. TechWorker*

      I don’t think this is really the same thing at all. A company making the decision to move a whole team or department to a different area is a business decision that is very shitty for the people losing their jobs but *might* be the right decision for the business long term (or not? Who knows). Some (not all I’m sure) big corporations also make an effort to help people when that happens, either by encouraging them to apply to other roles within the company, or with recruitment help.

      Randomly replacing people without any other changes to the role and ‘because they can’ is not common – hiring is expensive, firing is expensive, and onboarding new people slows down productivity. This company is full of bees.

      1. Dinwar*

        “hiring is expensive, firing is expensive, and onboarding new people slows down productivity.”

        Early in my career I took over a position on a major project, one that no one else wanted long-term, so there was a lot of turnover. (This lead to my move from CA to AL that I mentioned above.) When the project started winding down I mapped out the rate of quality issues over time. The correlation with turnover was not perfect, but high enough that it raised some eyebrows with upper management. That was turnover within the company, meaning we didn’t have to train people in new systems or ways of documenting things or the like–just about the best case for turnover. And we still could map changes in staff merely by looking at error rates. It changed how we handled future projects, requiring longer-term commitments from staff (not a hard thing in our industry, which is largely project-based; the long-term commitment was a selling point, not a burden, it turns out).

        The number of quality issues that would arise from constant turnover in a major company is astronomical. Even if the company was doing everything else right, this decision alone could tank the company.

      2. Koalafied*

        This exactly. A strategic move of an entire department or workforce is a one-off event, while there’s plenty to criticize about it, is categorically different from figuratively announcing “ATTENTION BAJORAN WORKERS: YOUR REPLACEMENTS ARE STANDING BY” every morning.

    5. Sleepless KJ*

      Google is bringing a new HQ to downtown Chicago so … I’d like to know where you get your data. Got a link?

      1. Koalafied*

        There’s been a lot of reporting on the “worker caste system” at Google and other tech companies. At the same time they’re opening new corporate HQs in US cities to hire a few thousand highly paid full time employees into corporate jobs, they’re also continuing to outsource tens of thousands of less glamorous roles to contingent workers (temps and contractors, who receive about $100k less per year in average total compensation compared to a full time employee doing the same work) and to labor forces in cheaper countries. The YouTube content moderators, the Google product support teams, the army of entry-level app programmers and cloud and data center engineers – they’re still sourcing that majority of their labor needs as cheaply as possible around the world even as they continue to build posh new offices and hire for a smaller number of more prestigious and higher-paying jobs in the US.

    6. Well...*

      This was my first reaction too, having had parents in tech my whole life and often laid off/scrambling through layoffs. At least the company is being honest, shrug.

    7. OyHiOh*

      There’s a reason there is a whole massive industry around helping big corporations relocate jobs to low-cost regions.

      This is, roughly speaking, the industry I work in. There are consulting companies that offer site selectors (what I assume Chairman of the Bored is referring to) and there are EDO’s – economic development organizations. EDO’s are place based: we live and work in a community, a county, a region, to support economic development activity in the place where we live. Sometimes we’re a non profit corporation, sometimes we’re a department within a city or county government; and some communities have both a non profit EDO and a local government department. Many companies have a business development or economic development department, as do many public and private utilities companies. Much of the work we do is nearly invisible. I often describe learning my part of the industry (EDO side) as the Wizard of Oz moment when you find out who is pulling the levers and ringing the bells behind a curtain.

      I personally think the site selector part of the industry is a little bit scummy and that’s not a part of my world I would want to work in. On the community side, a good EDO is a three legged stool – there’s growth (retention/expansion) of existing established businesses, there’s developing new ideas into local businesses, and then there’s attraction – bringing new companies to a community. The last leg gets the most attention because it’s the flashiest and tends to come with lots and lots of tax incentives but it’s only one leg. In a good EDO, 60 to 70 percent of all the activity the staff do has to do with identifying people with ideas, and with helping existing businesses grow. Good EDO’s, like the one I work for now, also work hard to keep the people picture in focus. The “business” brings tax dollars to the city, but the business cannot exist without people to work in it. We might, for example, suggest that a growing company consider relocating in a particular quadrant of the city, because our data research indicates that’s where many of their potential employees live, and a short commute makes the company more attractive in future growth.

      To your last sentence, relocating to low cost regions can be beneficial to all involved. A “primary jobs” employer will usually bring dozens or hundreds of “high pay, high skill” (one of the US federal definitions we work with) jobs to a new community. A primary job makes things (software, chips, transmissions, clothes) and ships it outside the county. Call centers and data centers aren’t primary jobs. Hospitality is a secondary industry – it’s assumed that if the primary jobs are in place, service/hospitality will naturally grow into the environment to meet demand and interest. Both the primary jobs and the growth of secondary jobs benefit the community. In a state like mine where funding comes largely from sales and other use taxes, we can throw really really big tax incentive packages at a company, because we know that all those incoming employees making 60 or 80 or 100 grand a year are going to pour millions of sales/use tax dollars into the economy.

      I apologize for the book! As with most things, it’s a lot more complicated than simply site selectors luring companies into unsuspecting small towns.

    8. Turtles All the Way Down*

      While I agree that they’re saying the quiet part out loud, it’s just for companies that are similarly toxic. Frankly, I could picture this place being my former company, where my department of 20 people had a 40% turnover rate in the year I worked there. When I was “promoted” (in title, not pay) to replace a more expensive employee, I should have known the same thing that happened to him would happen to me, 5 months later.

      The company I’m at now, 2 jobs and 6 years later, really values nurturing employee skills and interests and has an average tenure of 9 years.

  2. Sara without an H*

    I, on the other hand, have always believed that all employees should be looking, or ready to look. So I hope the Letter Writer here spends all their breaks and lunch hours reviewing the AAM archives for advice on cover letters, resumes, and search strategies.

    And I hope the Letter Writer steers as many colleagues as possible to AAM.

    And I also sincerely hope that the Letter Writer soon sends us an update, telling us that they have landed a much better job at a much better company.

    Because this place sucks.

    1. The Real Fran Fine*

      You just took all of my thoughts from my head and said them much better than I could right now. I’m too gobsmacked to form coherent sentences. What in the world are these people thinking?! It’s like they want their business to fail.

    2. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Post this article in a public slack channel and promptly give your notice – which should be 24 hours at most.

        1. Eldritch Office Worker*

          You say generous I say sadistic desire to see some of the fallout lol but you’re right there’s no obligation of notice in this scenario

              1. onlytimeididntgivenotice*

                I did this. I worked at a toxic place where we had an all staff team building (yes, their term) meeting and the Big Boss’ idea of a pep talk was to say that we weren’t all needed and if we didn’t begin finding other opportunities, layoffs were in the future. I got a new job a couple of months after that, and since my direct supervisor had given her own version of a pep talk to just my team (you are all lucky to be working here, could be fired at any moment, not needed at all, etc.), I decided to give one day’s notice, take a payout on vacation time (I’d only used one day since working there) and due to the way new job’s starting date was according to their payroll schedule, I took four weeks between jobs. Best part: when my supervisor came in that day, I’d left my resignation on her desk chair and she came out of her office panicked because I happened to be their only trainer for the public who came in and who had to be served, no matter what (grant funded). My exit interview involved the HR manager asking me for tips on how I got my new job. Note: if you’re going to tell your employees that they aren’t needed, don’t be surprised if they take you at your word!

                1. Sara without an H*

                  Highly satisfactory. In my experience, when administrators do things like this, they’re always astonished that it’s the most capable employees who jump ship first.

                2. The Real Fran Fine*

                  @Firestar I actually had something similar happen at the last company I worked for. When the HR rep asked why I was leaving the company, I told her about all of the various issues the company had, as well as the fact that I was leaving to work for a software company that let me work 100% from home permanently and gave me a 46% salary increase.

                  The HR rep’s jaw dropped and she said, “What’s the name of this company, and are they still hiring?” Lol.

                3. Curmudgeon in California*

                  Note: if you’re going to tell your employees that they aren’t needed, don’t be surprised if they take you at your word!

                  Yeah, if I start hearing the “we don’t need all of you” line, I’m going to start circulating my resume. Because that means layoffs, and in my field if you are older, PoC, disabled and/or AFAB you are always at the top of the layoff list. Since I match three of the four, I’m particularly sensitive to layoff rumors, or even mergers and acquisitions, because those usually mean the company wants to “improve efficiency” or whatever management buzzwords are in vogue at the time.

                  I’ve worked in several different industries, but the layoff thing is true for them all. Some do better with how they do it, but they all do it. When people prattle on and on about “loyalty” I just laugh. I’m loyal to a company as long as their interests and mine align. When they don’t, I’m gone, either by layoff or quit. If they can give me 15 minute notice that my job is ending, then I can give them the same. I usually do two weeks as a courtesy to my colleagues.

                4. Irish Teacher*

                  “Because that means layoffs, and in my field if you are older, PoC, disabled and/or AFAB you are always at the top of the layoff list.”

                  That is just awful.

        2. Petty Betty*

          Effective immediately.

          When I put in my resignation, I wasn’t sure what my boss would do (she was petty, and purposely kept only me in the dark about her pregnancy, and was on maternity leave when I put in my notice). The CEO and COO were wonderful. My boss refused to speak to me at all when she got back from her maternity leave (I gave 6 weeks since I had so much institutional knowledge and I had to wait for a few clearances before I could start working my new job).

          I was very tempted to stop coming in at all, but it was more fun to train my replacements, knowing my co-irker wasn’t getting the title bump she wanted when I left, and that my boss and co-irker both were staying in dead end positions (and 6 years later, are still in those positions).

    3. English Rose*

      And the LW and all their colleagues share their experiences on Glassdoor! It’s a candidate market and reputation is difficult to rebuild.

  3. UKgreen*

    This is vile.

    And of course, along the clear f*** you to current employees, it means that candidates are potentially spending time and effort applying for jobs that may or may not ever come up as vacant.

    1. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      So, it’s a f— you to candidates as well.

      Since this is a recent change, I wonder if there’s been a corresponding recent change in upper management.

    2. Robin Ellacott*

      Yes it’s just mean spirited and bad for everyone. Disrespectful to staff, deceptive to applicants, and disruptive to the business if they have to keep training new people and losing institutional knowledge.

      We work with an agency in which the way to move up is to switch to a higher position in another department, and people do this so much nobody is in their role (especially management roles) for more than a few months. So the people I deal with are smart and hard working, but nobody knows ANY history or context about their area, and it’s chaos. At last they seem to have good intentions, but it’s not functional.

  4. bamcheeks*

    How long before every decent candidate in your area has submitted their CV twice, seen absolutely nothing happen, and decides it’s just a scam? What happens when they actually WANT to hire someone?

      1. Observer*

        Well, it could be that they did think it through, but are just too arrogant and bad at managing to realize all of the implications.

        There has been a lot of talk about how the Fed is trying to slow down the economy and actually increase unemployment. (Let’s not get into the politics and wrong/right of the matter. This is a fact that exists.) And many folks are seeing this as a sign that power is going to shift back to employers. Which apparently means, in their minds, that even if potential hires are going to be angry at them, those potential hires are going wind up desperate enough that they will STILL apply again, and again and again. So, it’s not going to be a problem.

        Of course, it doesn’t really work that way. And companies who can primarily only hire people who are desperate do NOT get the best people and they generally don’t get people’s best work either. Even in a really bad economy.

      2. irene adler*

        Word gets around about companies like this. Everyone will know there’s no real job behind the ad.

        Someone really didn’t think this through at all.

        (Guess this is the other side of “I applied, received no response and the job continues to be advertised-why?”.)

        1. Rivikah*

          I’d conclude that they’re not really hiring, it’s just one of those speculative “we always want to hear from qualified people” things and by the time they decide to replace an employee, I’d probably have a different job. Hopefully with a company less terrible than this.

          1. Librarian of SHIELD*

            I’ve applied to a few of those in this current search, and I hate them. I get back a response that says “we’ve added you to our list of qualified candidates for future openings” and I’m just sitting here like, I wasn’t applying for some nebulous future someday job, I need a job now. It’s annoying enough that I’ve made note of some of the company names to avoid their job posts in the future.

    1. Smithy*

      In addition to this….even if it’s made clear to applicants that this is like applying to have your resume on file as opposed to active open positions, I have to imagine how much this could really mess with your perception of who’s available in the talent pool.

      Like, maybe there are 5 amazing Llama Grooming candidates who’ve applied over the course of 6 months, by the time the job actually opens on month 7….4 of those candidates may no longer be interested due to recently starting new jobs, internal promotions, etc. and the 5th turns out to not actually be a good fit or be too far apart for salary or whatever.

      For those highly skilled/hard to fill roles – I think it also risks messing with your ability to actually assess what the talent pool looks like when a position is open as opposed to generically at all times of the year.

      1. The OTHER other*

        All this. In addition to the horrible message it sends to existing employees (no surprise they have high turnover), listing lots of jobs and not making any hires (are they even interviewing?) is really poisoning the well. LW says the service positions are hard to fill to begin with due to skillset; in that kind of niche word will get around fast that this company isn’t really hiring.

        The letter reminds me of the clueless boss who kept posting a job “just to see what’s out there”, and another where a boss seemed to regard job a listing as some bizarre form of advertising.

    2. Zombeyonce*

      Not just that, but as a candidate it’s easy to notice that a company has a huge number of positions open, more than it should for the company’s size. I’d see this as a candidate and rather than thinking the company just posts all positions all the time as a practice, I’d think so many people were jumping ship that they couldn’t keep employees and that it must be a terrible place to work. I would never apply because of this, even if I knew a posting was real. This company is shooting themselves in the foot with both current and potential employees.

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Yeah, Alison has mentioned a large number of postings compared to the size of the company is a yellow flag. There may be good reasons (rapidly expanding/opening an office at a new location), but otherwise it’s going to look like the company can’t keep any of its employees.

        Which, if they keep this up, will be 100% true.

  5. Turtlewings*

    Not to mention how it looks to applicants. “Why are they hiring for every single position in the company?! Did everyone just get up and leave one day? Doesn’t sound like a good sign…” And of course, the frustration of hundreds of people applying and hearing nothing, ever. Not good for the company’s reputation.

    1. That'sNotMyName*

      Exactly! It looks like they’ve had a shocking level of attrition or don’t know what they’re doing. I remember keeping an eye on jobs in an industry that had a lot of niche roles, so getting the right candidate could theoretically take a while. One org was *constantly* advertising for a role. I last looked them up years ago and as of today…that position is being advertised as available.

    2. Miette*

      …and the competition and customers as well. If this is a competitive industry, you’d better believe other firms’ sales teams will soon have this on their radar and use it as a ding against the company in sales engagements.

      “Company A? Oh, they have so much turnover on the service side–just look at their open job reqs. Good luck with getting effective service if you sign with them.”

    3. amoeba*

      I mean, that’s what talent pools that people can register/apply for are for, isn’t it? Can imagine that should work much better than posting imaginary positions, and without threatening the current employees as well. But then I guess that’s their main point, so oh well.

      1. Alternative Person*

        This. It boggles my mind that they’d rather burn out current and put potential hires off rather than just have a list of people ready to contact. It’s like this employer can’t be happy without making others unhappy.

    4. Alton Brown's Evil Twin*

      Eh, “hiring for every position” isn’t that easy to see.

      If the company employs 50 more-or-less interchangeable salespeople, ditto 100 plumbers or electricians or tile installers or whatever, an ad that says “Hiring electricians and plumbers now!” wouldn’t necessarily make me think they there is high turnover.

      1. The OTHER Other*

        True of many places, can think of places that are pretty much always hiring for sales roles, or for call center agents. But LW is saying there are niche roles that are hard to fill, in that kind of setting the word is going to get out.

      2. Hlao-roo*

        It also depends on how people are getting to the job ad. Someone who types in “accountant” or “salesperson” into Indeed will see the ad that’s relevant to their role, but not that the company is also has ads up for engineers and technicians and admins and HR and all the rest.

  6. Lacey*

    Aside from how horrible it is to their current employees – who they might want to try appreciating – it’s also a HUGE red flag to job seekers who are going to wonder why they’re ALWAYS hiring for so many positions!

    1. Pool Noodle Barnacle Pen0s*

      Great point. As a habitual checker of open positions, even if I’m not actively looking for something else, this is not something that escapes my notice. And yes, it’s always a red flag.

    2. Kes*

      Right, it’s horrible to their employees, it wastes the candidates time and will be or become a red flag to them, and it also wastes the time of the people who have to deal with these candidates applying to roles that don’t even exist… just lose lose all around. I hope OP and their coworkers can get out of there.

  7. Qwerty*

    This would make me start job searching immediately. And possibly only give a day or two’s notice when I leave, since they’ve set it up so everyone is immediately replaceable.

    In the meantime, Glassdoor is your friend plus helps warn job applicants of the weird situation.

    1. lex talionis*

      And Reddit also has a place for this type of information, quite a wide reach and a bit more flexible re how direct you can be.

  8. Billdog*

    I used to work for a place like this where about once a month they would remind us that they are constantly interviewing and will replace anyone who seems better. Morale was terrible, turnover was high, and I left before hitting the two year mark. Since then one of the owners got out, another retired, and things have smoothed over a little but it was rough. One guy, for example, took a weeklong vacation and they fired him when he got back. Stuff like that.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      What a waste of time all around to be constantly interviewing for positions that aren’t actually open!

      1. LT*

        Right? I’m picturing the candidates being lead in, walked right by the current employees to make a show of it.

    2. Kshoosh*

      I had a boss (recently!) who liked to joke with everyone about how replaceable they were. Daily. He also liked to criticize anyone not pulling 50+ hour weeks by “jokingly” calling us “part-timers” and how our responsibility is nothing less than to live for the job considering how many other people would like to have our job. Then he’d go on and on with those we served about how much we should all value work-life balance. He had no idea how to be a manager, this was just the tip of his toxic behavior, and he was miserable to work for.

      1. Other Alice*

        Oh yeah, I also had a boss like that. “I had so many applicants, you are lucky you were hired, you are replaceable.” They spent the day chatting in front of the coffee machine, then sat down at their computer at 5pm and complained about how much they still had to do. They would joke I was a part timer because I left on time every day… on account I always finished my work. I lasted a whopping 6 weeks and my resignation was along the lines of “about those many other applicants, you should start calling them because I quit, my last day is Friday”. Saw the guy replacing me on my last day but they didn’t let him talk to me. Place was a dumpster fire.

      2. Bankerchick*

        This was quite a few years ago, but my DH worked for a large company in their research center. CEO at the time thought you should be constantly getting rid of the lowest performers. Even if they were exceeding expectations and were great employees.

        One woman got put on a PIP, because of course, that is the first step. But apparently they didn’t really plan to fire her. Just wanted more work out of her. She had a new baby and just purchased a house. I guess she worked 50 or so hours a week and they thought that was “part time”. They figured she wouldn’t quit as she “needed” the job.

        Problem was, even in a research center with a couple thousand highly skilled and educated employees, only she was familiar with what she did. And when they put her on a PIP in the morning, she arranged a lunch with a former coworker who was now running another company. She got an immediate job offer as her skills weren’t all that common and apparently went back and gave notice. And of course all the babbling started- we still want you. We were never going to let you go… But the damage was done.

    3. LT*

      They took it a step farther and were constantly interviewing, what?? Glad to see you are out of there.
      One of my old bosses would remind us every team meeting, if you don’t like it, here’s the door…
      (“it” being overworked and under-payed)

      1. Billdog*

        At my last job, we had one of those meetings after people protested being asked to work through several holidays. I actually started job hunting right there at my desk, and found a spot in the company I am with now.

    4. StitchIsMySpiritAnimal*

      Same here. Our manager would have frequent “come to Jesus” meetings where she’d tell us all that we were “a dime a dozen” and that “we should be grateful to have this job.” Shockingly, one or more of her “best people” would say “eff this” and “walk out on the spot” every time.

      1. Bankerchick*

        I remember a “manager” who actually said to us “we could train monkeys to do your jobs”. Some parts maybe. But there were definitely soft skills needed that she didn’t possess. She would wonder why turnover was so high. She ended up leaving as she said her doctor told to- to reduce stress. Maybe it wouldn’t have been so stressful trying to “manage” us if she actually treated us like people and said “thank you” once in a while .

  9. Plebian Aristocracy*

    I’d be tempted to take them up on their offer and search for a new job. If you’re replaceable, so is the company.

    I’m also wondering if there’s a way to communicate this culture to potential applicants. After all, it’s a good amount of work to apply to a job in addition to working somewhere else. All they’re really doing is showing that they don’t value the time and effort of anyone (except, as you pointed out, for the upper-level managers). Please, if you do get a job elsewhere and get one of those calls during your notice period, let the applicant know.

    1. Bilateralrope*

      The letter writer mentioned candidates calling to ask about the status of their application. I’d say start by being truthful every time. Tell the employees why those job ads are kept up all the time and how that means the LW doesn’t know if they are even recruiting for whatever position was applied for.

      1. nnn*

        Yes, that’s what I came to post! It would be delightful if the company discovered that their pool of applicants isn’t nearly as deep as they think it is

        1. Cedrus Libani*

          Same. It’s malicious compliance time. If these people are calling, tell them exactly what you told us – it’s company policy to keep these jobs posted at all times. Some chance that it comes back to you, but if there’s nothing wrong with the policy, there’s nothing wrong with telling applicants about it…right?

          (I will admit that I’m on the skilled worker side now. In earlier days, when I needed my job more than the job needed me, I might not have dared. But in that position, it’s MORE important to minimize your exposure to jerks – unless you enjoy being kicked around, because a jerk will know they can treat you however they like and you won’t complain. In that case, get out ASAP, and then tell Glassdoor why.)

    2. Billdog*

      All you’d really need to do is look up their social media presence and look at staff photos from year to year. New faces every time. That should be a giant red flag.

  10. MigraineMonth*

    “Your company is shooting itself in the foot in the weirdest way possible.”

    I’m amazed by the sheer creativity of bad management on this site. These innovators are breaking the mold of the usual bad management and really going all out to be the next big thing in awful management practices.

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Right? It feels like some kind of dystopian contest of “what’s the worst thing we can get away with?”

    2. The Prettiest Curse*

      Yeah, if there was an award for Worst Innovation in Management, this policy would surely be in with a chance.

    3. Not Tom, Just Petty*

      “Hello, my name is Open Concept Office.”
      “Hello, I’m LW’s Company. Please, hold my beer.”

      1. MigraineMonth*

        Yeah, I thought my “open concept office” to “encourage collaboration” was bad.

        I feel like there are a limited number of ways to manage well (set clear expectations, establish reasonable boundaries, offer grace to employees when possible, fire employees when necessary, etc), so there isn’t that much room for creativity. On the other hand, there are an infinite number of ways to be terrible at managing!

        1. Nightengale*

          Isn’t the Tolstoy quote “All happy families are alike. Unhappy families are each unhappy in a different way”? I guess that is true of offices/management also.

    4. L.H. Puttgrass*

      It’s like they heard that’s there’s an award for Worst Boss of the Year and said, “Challenge accepted.”

    5. Reluctant Manager*

      One of the reasons I love this site:

      1. Practical advice, to do my job better
      2. Challenges to my perspective, so I don’t get complacent
      3. Rubbernecking the truly awful managers, employees, and companies, to help me put my well intentioned missteps in perspective

    6. Bob-White of the Glen*

      We should help these companies with this mission and provide some resources to shoot better:

      The Employees Don’t Matter Blog

      Easy Come Easy Go Recruitment Firm

  11. Eldritch Office Worker*

    Who’s idea was this?!?!

    I mean upper management, obviously, since they’re exempt from the policy, but holy cow that’s such a bad idea I can’t even believe more than one person had eyes on it and multiple people agreed to it.

    I feel like you’re in the middle of some kind of warped social experiment.

    1. Excel Jedi*

      > I feel like you’re in the middle of some kind of warped social experiment.

      This is what I’m thinking. The fact that OP is questioning that this might possibly be reasonable tells me everything I need to know about this company.

    2. Jake*

      I’ve got a nickel that sez this same company is very liberal in its use of non-solicitation and non-disparagement agreements. It just seems like the type.

    3. NotAnotherManager!*

      It makes me wonder if there is some sort of CEO or executive at the top who people are terrified to say “no” to as they churn out bad ideas.

      This was is just objectively terrible:
      1) Your workforce doesn’t feel valued and turns over a lot. Turnover costs money; frequent turnover costs a lot of money.

      2) Candidates are wasting their time applying to nonexistant jobs.

      3) Whomever is in charge of recruiting has to do a lot of busy work and probably has backlogs of candidate resumes so thick they don’t have the time to comb through and find replacements for everyone every day.

      4) The Glassdoor, etc. reviews are probably epic and not helping with offer acceptances or possibly even interview follow-through.

  12. Putting the "pro" in "procrastinate"*

    One of the things I try to do as a manager is make my employees feel valued, which is literally the opposite of feeling replaceable.

    Maybe this employer hasn’t gotten the memo about the Great Resignation, and the wave of workers leaving jobs in which they don’t feel their time or work or humanity is respected. In a just world, this move would backfire in a very serious way.

    1. Hawthorne*

      I was thinking this. What a ballsy move in the middle of a job market that favors job seekers. Soon, they’ll only have upper management left.

    2. Lana Kane*

      My take is that that they have gotten the memo, are pissed off because “people just don’t want to work anymore” and “no one is loyal, so why should we be?”, and are doubling down.

      1. Gracely*

        It would be hilarious if everyone there quietly found another job, and then they all quit en masse or one right after the other.

  13. to varying degrees*

    That’s horrible for morale. To be fair I used to work for a company that had a couple of different jobs that they were always hiring for, but that was due to the fact that they were constant vacancies as they were hard to fill roles and there were multiple positions open for them. Individuals weren’t getting replaced by new hires. This system sounds horrible!

    1. Eldritch Office Worker*

      Right constant job posting is usually a state companies want to avoid being in because it means they’re struggling to fill roles – and it signals that to legitimate job seekers as well.

    2. Lea*

      Yes! There are some jobs that are ‘open continuous’ but they are big job categories like ‘salesperson’ not ‘salesperson for xyz in office 123’. They’re open because natural attrition means their are jobs opening up frequently not because the company wants to keep people on their toes. That’s awful

      1. KRM*

        Yep, or a large research institution will have a constant listing for “research associate” or “lab aide” or however they categorize their non-PhD workers. Because 1-there are so many labs some of them are always looking for help and 2-many many workers at this level work for 2-4 years and then go to grad school, so turnover is expected to be high.

      2. Bankerchick*

        I work in banking. Entry level jobs (and even non-entry level) have high turnover. Some banks and credit unions have continuous ads- not for a specific position in a certain branch but a general “hiring tellers” or “hiring call center employees” etc…Not looking to replace a specific person but knowing by the time they find a good candidate and they pass all the screenings and tests, an opening will be available. Some even “hire ahead” and after training have you “float” until a permanent opening opens up.

    3. The Original K.*

      I worked briefly at a call center and they were always hiring – they hired in cohorts. Turnover was high – they fired people, students would leave when they graduated or got better part-time jobs, people were using it as a second job and then didn’t need one anymore, etc. – so there was a constant churn of people. This isn’t that though!

    4. Other Alice*

      A former employer of mine is constantly looking for programmers who know a certain esoteric language that they need for some legacy component. The pool of talent is small and they always need more. But I assume every time a suitable candidate sends a resume, they are called for an interview. This is not that.

  14. EPLawyer*

    CLEARLY this company has not noticed the huge shift away from the employer having all the power. If the service side is skilled trades and hard to fill, then the employees have options. Because if employees are replaceable, so are employers — at ANY TIME. When the good employees start going somewhere that they are treated with decency and respect not ruled through fear and intimidation maybe the company will get a clue. Or fall apart because they never figure it out. Either one works for me.

    The way to get the best out of people is not by treating like they are disposable cogs who can be easily replaced. Its by treating them as valuable members of the team. Not the hokey we would all fall apart without you value, but more like, as the company does better so will you, so we should all work towards that goal. But not you know, making the employees care more than the employer does.

  15. CharlieBrown*

    Please get another job and give zero days notice.

    When they complain, just tell them that jobs are advertised, and they are replaceable. And because they are replaceable, they were replaced.

    This company deserves zero loyalty.

    1. Eulerian*

      And take the rest of the workforce with you. And all resign on the same day – ideally by forming a queue outside the boss’s office.

      1. Hannah L*

        This was my first thought. Mass resignation all at once.

        Since every job is posted then they should have applications on file already.

        1. CharlieBrown*


          Management: “But we can’t survive without you! You can’t all quit! What are we going to do?”

          (Former) Employees: “Well, you have all those resumes on file. You said we were replaceable. So replace us!”

  16. Toodie*

    I would be so tempted to purchase an ad for the upper management jobs in the local newspapers. Shoe on the other foot and all that good stuff.

    1. Lana Kane*

      Or an ad to job seekers warning them that the postings for X Company are bogus and used to intimidate their staff.

  17. Falling Diphthong*

    It was like a married person logging onto dating apps when they get into an argument with their partner.
    It’s like you’re casually dating someone, and they make a point of constantly waving their phone in your face while shouting “See? I could replace you. Plenty of fish in the sea.” To which most people would say “Do that.” Certainly people with any sense of self worth.

    If the business model depends on ruling by fear and the conviction that only beaten down people who think they have no options will work for you–I would take it as a sign that things are not going well.

    1. Observer*

      If the business model depends on ruling by fear and the conviction that only beaten down people who think they have no options will work for you–I would take it as a sign that things are not going well.


      Totally this.

      1. Worldwalker*

        And what kind of a successful business can you actually run if your employees are only those people who have no other options? That is literally selecting for the worst of the worst.

      1. Lydia*

        This song has been stuck in my head for a few days and, frankly, this is a perfect analogy for it.

    2. BubbleTea*

      Yes, I was thinking that it’s more like staying active on dating apps *in case* you have an argument, and then being *shocked Pikachu face* when it causes arguments.

      1. SW*

        Isn’t that the problem Amazon is staring down? Like in a couple of years they might run out of potential workers in many places around the US.

  18. Carol the happy elf*

    I love you for that idea! I’d be tempted to gaslight them into thinking “The Others” are going to gang up and fire them.

    Then it occurred to me– do these lunatics also have a DNC for the admins and salespeople they terrorize? A five-year Do Not Compete would be the cherry and sprinkles on the banana split.

    1. Observer*

      Highly unlikely that something like that would be enforceable.

      Also, I doubt that they have thought this through sufficiently to think about the possibility of good staff going elsewhere.

  19. nm*

    I’d be Very Irritated if I submitted a job application to what I thought was a real job, only to find that it’s just some kind of weirdo power play.

  20. Avril Ludgateaux*

    This is a company trying to combat “The Great Resignation” and the associated audacity of labor asserting their worth, by trying to scare labor back into feeling indebted to their employers for the privilege of working for a wage… OP, please get back to us in 6 months when you and 90% of your current colleagues have undoubtedly moved on to something better.

    1. Bob-White of the Glen*

      Agreed, please send us an update! And if you no longer work there (and I hope you no longer work there) then stay close to a few people so you get all the dirt and can still update us!

  21. C-Dub*

    I don’t think I would last a month if I worked here. Like sheesh, it is not only bad for morale, but it is also anxiety inducing.

    And turnover is high? No surprise. This company does not deserve any loyalty.

  22. Louise*

    I have to wonder if that’s what’s really happening at this company or is that the interpretation of the original poster? In my company, There is still a high amount of turnover.. I have suggested we keep job postings open to reduce the amount of time it takes to get a new posting approved, filled, taken down, only to have to repost the same job in 6 months time.

    1. CharlieBrown*

      Not quite sure how you missed this part:

      The company’s stance is that everyone should be aware that they are replaceable, and that should be enough to motivate us to perform our best every day.

    2. Zombeyonce*

      Instead of keeping job postings open because of inevitable turnover, why not recommend they try to fix the reasons for that turnover? Time would likely be better spent that way.

      1. CharlieBrown*

        This! If you have a patient who is losing blood, the solution is not to keep pumping them full of blood and saline, but to find and suture the leaking blood vessel.

    3. I went to school with only 1 Jennifer*

      LW says: “Recently, my company has adopted the policy that everyone’s job is posted online all the time.” Which means that … every single job is posted online. Pretty easy to verify. Plus we’re supposed to take LW’s at their word.

    4. Meep*

      I worked with someone who is like this because of working at a company like OP’s. It is a very real thing. I was threatened to be fired if I didn’t help my (highly incompetent) manager resize an image once. That is how she passed down orders regardless of the task. “If you don’t do this, you will be fired.”

    5. NotAnotherManager!*

      So, all those candidates that apply in that six months where someone is actually employed in the role, they are just supposed to waste their time applying to a job that’s not technically open and the people in charge of recruiting are just supposed to wade through months of applications/resumes for a position that, again, is currently filled?

      It sounds like the real solution would be turnover reduction or, at minimum, streamlining your repost process.

  23. McS*

    What Alison says is true because this isn’t a functional way to hire. It will not stay a secret with candidates for long and it will make it hard to hire. Would you submit an application at your company? No because you know there probably isn’t a job. Also it doesn’t make or break replacing you to have resumes on file. It s still a lot of work to interview and train someone new and they should be ready to fire you for performance even without someone ready to replace you. It also will make employees feel just fine about submitting a resume for any advertised position at another company, and the good employees will find new jobs. It is a terrible policy and the only “benefit” is the fear that Alison adeptly explains is not a benefit at all

  24. Emmie*

    Run. This is not normal. It’s offensive, demoralizing, and terrible.

    The job market is good now. You have opportunities today that you may not have six months from now. Move on and nope yourself out of this f***ery.

  25. Lana Kane*

    This info should be on Glass Door.

    That is some sociopath management right there. I know it’s easier said than done to find another job, but I worry about the effect that kind of management style will have on people’s mental health.

  26. Abhorsen*

    My mouth was quite literally hanging open as I read this.

    OP – get oooooooout! The call is coming from inside the house.

  27. Observer*

    OP, this is SUCH bad practice, and so weird and bizarre that I would take it as a sign that something is very wrong at the company.

    It sounds like they are having trouble filling jobs, keeping staff and getting people to “go above and beyond”. (I wonder why? /sarc) And that things have gotten so bad that they are trying to scare you into doing decent work and NOT looking for other jobs. Like “you’re SO replaceable, you should be deeply grateful to have this job, who would take you anyway” levels.

    Which is a signal to me that you should start searching hard. Because not only are these people bad at managing and bad at being decent human beings, but the company is probably in deep trouble.

    1. Worldwalker*

      “Who would take you anyway?” or “nobody else would want you” is straight from the repertoire of the domestic abuser. This company is abusive, and they’re messing with the OP’s head just like an abusive partner would. So my advice is the same: “Get out! Things will look very different when you’re looking back at them.”

  28. SK*

    OP says they “oppose any kind of tenure system.” I would urge them to reconsider, and their own own company’s practice is a pretty much perfect example of why. For what it’s worth, for somebody who works in a job with tenure, it *does not mean* that you can’t be replaced. It means you can’t be replaced without cause and due process. I’m a tenured professor. If I start doing a terrible job tomorrow, yes, I get chances to correct that before I get fired, but I can certainly be fired and replaced for failure to perform my responsibilities.

    1. Zombeyonce*

      Fully agree. It’s like being anti-union because you’re worried people will get away with more and never get fired. There are still plenty of processes in place to fire unionized employees, they just make it formal so you can’t do things like this.

    2. Louise B*

      Exactly. Especially since tenure exists so that professors can’t be fired for, let’s say, being Jewish or teaching evolution or critical race theory, regardless of what the political landscape looks like. Not that it can’t be abused or used as an excuse to not manage, but it’s not a get out of jail free card for bad employees.

  29. Age of the Geek, Baby*

    “The company’s stance is that everyone should be aware that they are replaceable….”

    Depending on a lot of factors, your company is ALSO replaceable…. job market is still in job seekers favor, I think.

  30. Bluzcluz*

    What in the h-e-hockey sticks did I just read here? What a terrible management team. I would start looking for another job. No wonder morale is low and turnover is high. Run and never look back.

  31. Bernice Clifton*

    As a an admin, I really felt the part about having to field inquiries from candidates about jobs that may not even exist. A good organization doesn’t implement a crappy policy like this and expect the frontline employees to have to deal with it day in and day out.

    1. CommanderBanana*

      Also, I feel like an organization that does this is going to start getting a reputation for it – Glassdoor now posts reviews for the interview process at organizations, and if you’re in any sort of insular industry, I feel like word would get out pretty quickly that applying there is a waste of time.

  32. AVP*

    I had a boss who would tell me when other people casually asked about applying for my job – ie, running into her in social situations and saying “Do you have X Role open? Id love to work with you if so.” Even that scared me, I felt like she was saying “these people (who are potentially better than you) want your job, what do you think?” I think she was actually trying to be encouraging but after seeing my face once or twice she stopped…thank goddess. I don’t want to know about that!

    1. Una Azul Fenix*

      Oh no! I can even imagine (someone more inept at presenting this) is thinking “I’m going to tell AVP because I think AVP is greater than these great potential hires and how much we like AVP’s work”….and just not understanding thats not how its coming across

  33. tessa*

    In other words, management doesn’t want to invest in dedicated and reliable employees.

    Talk about lazy and incompetent management. I hope everyone gets out before the company folds, because it most certainly will.

  34. Michelle Smith*

    This is one of the most unhinged things I’ve ever read. I hope you can find a way to somehow anonymously send this post to upper management.

  35. Meep*

    Is it weird I know exactly what company this has to be? My former toxic manager worked there twice. She was fired from there twice. She also brought the weird habit of threatening my job any time she had a new assignment for me no matter how asinine (e.g. “Meep, I need you to edit this pamphlet. If you don’t Bossman will fire both of us.”).

    Of course, when every move you make is a chance you can be fired, it ends badly for both parties.

  36. Una Azul Fenix*

    I just have to say…I *love* hypocrisy that this applies to everyone except upper level management.

    Ask a stupid question….

  37. Good Wilhelmina Hunting*

    And if they are constantly onboarding replacements, it’s never upper management who have to step away from their regular duties and handhold newbies while they learn the ropes.
    I worked for a firm who, in their wisdom, had a combined office junior/receptionist-telephonist role. They would hire the cheapest entry level hires, typically school leavers or new immigrants with no office experience, who would stay in the role a few months and then be ready to take the next step in their career. It was an office with a busy switchboard and an even busier typing workload, and it was difficult to keep the work turned around because there was always another inexperienced newbie to train up. The other admin post also had a moderately high turnover, for other reasons. Of course, the fee earners still expected their typing done and the phones answered and thought these things happened by magic. Lord forbid their own productivity should be impacted by the constant admin turnover! I don’t think they realised just how much I did until one day I wasn’t there.

    1. Sara without an H*

      I don’t think they realised just how much I did until one day I wasn’t there.

      I think this is true for a lot of good admins. Since admin work is often invisible, the executives they support often don’t know how the work gets done–until the admin gets fed up, quits, and leaves them to their own devices.

  38. heretoday*

    Just leave Indeed open on your desktop so the company knows they can be replaced on a whim, as well

  39. 653-CXK*

    Your workplace isn’t merely full of bees – it’s full of hornets, vipers, jellyfish, scorpions, toxic waste, and other things that will kill you.

    Your management is being transparent in their contempt for its employees – and you don’t have to take it. Get your resume polished and sent out, and get out ASAP.

      1. 653-CXK*

        My apologies to Skippy…tell him I mean no harm to the friendly, domesticated scorpions at home!

  40. animaniactoo*

    I would just love it if people would run away as fast as possible from this company. And spread the word about their job listing policy. I mean, wouldn’t it be delicious if people didn’t interview for jobs with them because they know the company isn’t listing jobs that are actually open? And then they couldn’t get real candidates, good ones, when they lose the employees they currently have because they’ve gone off to employers who aren’t such blatant jerks?

  41. RJ*

    This is awful, antiquated management that does nothing but endorse a perpetual cycle of toxicity. Make an exit plan, OP and leave as much detail on Glassdoor as you can so that no one steps on this landmine of a company.

  42. El+l*

    This place is somehow worse than Glengarry Glen Ross.

    Yeah, dump them before they dump you. (And don’t assume they’d dump you only for a good reason)

  43. BurnOutCandidate*

    I worked for GameStop as a store manager about a decade back, and they did this. Every position in every store was listed as available on the website. One of my fellow managers noticed this and brought it up on a conference call–“Am I on the way out the door?” was, I think, how he phrased it.

    The district manager’s explanation was that GameStop did this so they could generate applications. If someone sees a job is available they will apply for it, and then the company can review the application and see if there’s a fit for an actual open position. (In other words, GameStop didn’t need someone at the Knightdale store, but the one at Triangle or Crossroads might have an opening.)

    The thing is, my colleague’s question was not unreasonable. GameStop treated then (and, based on what I read on Kotuku and Reddit, still does) its employees like day old crap. GameStop set its stores up to fail, and it was a place where the axe could fall at any moment on anyone for the most trivial of reasons.

    I was glad to leave the place. I miss my colleagues and the customers, but I don’t miss the management.

  44. The Gollux, Not a Mere Device*

    Is there any way to spread rumors about the Powers That Be having realizeed that upper-level managers are also replaceable at any time, just bring in someone with experience managing a different kind of company?

    If an admin at the dinosaur shop can be replaced by an admin with oatmeal experience, or a brontosaurus salesperson can be replaced by someone from a llama rental company, then dinosaur managers can be replaced by someone from Captain Nemo’s Teapots.

  45. Ama*

    The thing is, if turnover is high then it’s not a bad thing to have a permanent posting up for jobs. But the ethical thing to do is call it “Bank of candidates” or “future needs” or something so applicants know that this isn’t for a specific opening but a potential future one. Fast food and retail often do this. But it makes no sense to be constantly interviewing people – that’s a waste of management’s time as well as the applicants’.

    1. CharlieBrown*

      High turnover is not good for a company. Even if it’s fast food or retail. We have normalized this in certain industries when we really shouldn’t. Are we really okay with burnt out workers in these jobs? We shouldn’t be.

      A good company cares about and wants to nurture its employees, and while realizing that a certain proportion of them will not be there for the long term, it should treat all employees like they will be there for the long term.

      Ethical stance aside, the revolving door of interviewing, hiring, and training employees is a huge expense to a company. It’s not a good long term situation to be in.

  46. Elbe*

    …everyone should be aware that they are replaceable, and that should be enough to motivate us to perform our best every day.

    LOL. Can you imagine being dumb enough to think that the world actually works this way?

    Why would someone work hard to prove their value to a company that flaunts the fact that they don’t value anyone? That’s a losing game. No one is going to invest time/effort/energy into a situation where management is gleeful about viewing everyone as a cog in a wheel. There’s nothing motivating about being treated poorly.

  47. Uhhh*

    They have to be insane to think that is acceptable or normal. I guess that officially makes it ok to leave without notice, as that street goes both ways. I suggest you find a new job, stop showing up to that one and see how long they keep paying you.

  48. The_artist_formerly_known_as_Anon-2*

    “Your company is shooting itself in the foot in the weirdest way possible.”

    Ah, AAM, but companies do that, all the time!

    I recall replying to one poster who asked “how do you maintain employee morale after a layoff?”

    …and…sometimes the purpose behind a layoff is to actually BREAK company morale!

    I’ve been through a couple of those – the layoff was done to scare the hell out of everyone else. Every manager was told – WHACK ONE PERSON. My group had four open “reqs”.. and it was lamely explained “we did this so the company can grow.”

    Unfortunately, years later it could be argued that the only thing it accomplished was to permanently destroy the previously high-morale situation.

  49. Elspeth McGillicuddy*

    What a perfect emergency job! Pays the bills and you can quit in 2 1/2 months just when you are starting to be useful and not feel a single pang of guilt. And best of all, always hiring, because everybody leaves.

  50. Luna*

    How To Ascertain That Your Employees Have No Loyalty For You 101

    Example A) This company’s actions.
    If you keep insisting that I can be replaced at all times, I have no reason to be extra nice or loyal to you. You don’t have loyalty towards me, so why should I show you any?

  51. head in the clouds*

    This is/may still be a pretty common tactic for a lot of schools. Every June they will post the jobs of all teachers on the local job boards and if an applicant with more experience applies they will replace that teacher. Almost all of us are on 10 month contracts and many school’s rationalize it as “finding the best talent for their students”.
    With the teaching crisis happening though that might have changed, but I haven’t been paying attention as much.

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