Corporate America truly boggles my mind sometimes. The big wigs often want employees who are reliable and invested, totally dedicated, and actually into their job. And sometimes, when they have someone like that, they’ll discard them for the pettiest of reasons. In what appears to be one such case, paint retailer Sherwin-Williams recently fired a young, internet-famous employee who started a very cool, visually stimulating paint-mixing TikTok channel.
Ohio university senior Tony Piloseno is really into mixing paint, even by paint store employee standards. While working part-time at a local Sherwin-Williams store, Piloseno created a TikTok channel called @tonesterpaints. Piloseno runs a very straightforward account — all he does on his page is mix paint — and it literally could not be more wholesome.
Before he was let go from his position at Sherwin-Williams, he reportedly spoke to management, offering to use his wildly successful and viral TikToks as part of a digital marketing pitch to the company.
While his direct manager loved the idea and reportedly offered him a contact in the marketing department at the corporate level, upper management disagreed with his methods and accused him of using company time and stealing from the very paint company he grew to love in his three years of employment. If it all really went down like that, upper management who canned him are some kind of foolish.
The company spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that Piloseno’s firing was due to a "customer complaint" about his TikToks.
“They first accused me of stealing — I told them I purchased all my paint," Piloseno says to Buzzfeed News. "They made me answer a bunch of questions like when I was doing this, where, if there was anyone in the store while I was doing [filming]. There was never anyone with me while I was doing it."
This all goes to show that there are two types of bosses: One who really encourages their employees to take their tasks to heart, thus forstering an organic investment in their work, and then others who dislike any deviation from what they’ve asked their employees to do.
Many Fortune 500 companies, to be fair (even Amazon and Phillip Morris) actually have initiatives built within their systems to encourage employee innovation, and then some others, well, don’t. Thankfully, if you like your job, it’s more likely that you have a boss in the former category.
It’s also important to note here that Sherwin-Williams is the top paint manufacturer in the country currently, closely followed by Behr amongst Fortune 500 companies. This recent bit of publicity doesn’t seem to bode well for Sherwin-Williams marketing department, because Piloseno seems to be a little paint mixing saint. Just take a look at a recent TikTok where he fills in his followers on what he does with all of the paint that he buys with his own money: He donates it all to Habitat for Humanity.
For his part, Piloseno seems to be taking the incident in stride, even though he goes to Lowe’s for his paint, now. And I might too.