My boss, and his henchman, arrived promptly for the meeting to discuss my sales update. It was 4 pm on Friday afternoon, approximately 48 hours ago.Â
I knew something was up because my boss started speaking totally in sentence fragments. â€śIâ€™ve made up my mind, things arenâ€™t working out, I need people to get along, itâ€™s time for a new direction, you canâ€™t be having fun.â€ťÂ
Â Later I remembered that many termination specialists, like George Clooney in the movie â€śUp in the Air,â€ť advise bosses when they fire someone to never pull a Donald Trump and say the â€śFâ€ť word. So it becomes a very weird game of firing euphemisms that fall on you drop-by-drop, like a painful kind of water torture.
Â I said something, I honestly canâ€™t remember what it was. This triggered my bossâ€™s loop to start all over again, albeit in a slightly different order.Â â€śThings arenâ€™t working out, I need people to get along, you canâ€™t be having fun, itâ€™s time for a new direction, Iâ€™ve made up my mind.â€ť
Â I donâ€™t know if he just screwed up the speech the second time, or if the termination gurus suggest that the firing sentence nuggets be shuffled like a deck of cards before being delivered each time.Â
Â Either way it was totally disorienting. Because he didnâ€™t tell me directly that I was being fired, IÂ had to say the word inside my own head. So what happened is that I ended up firing myself. How sadistic is that?
Â I do remember my next question, I asked why I was never given a chance to change my behavior before I was fired. The reply was quick, and clearly rehearsed, â€śCome on Bob, weâ€™ve got lots of documentation.â€ť
Documentation? Did anyone think to share it with me before I was fired? After? It would be nice to be consoled that there is a filing cabinet somewhere that answers the riddle of my firing, but clearly being fired by my company is a process that makes the selection of the Pope appear totally transparent.Â
Â Was the relationship between me and my boss flawed? You betcha. But it could have been humane to at least have one counseling session before the execution. Heck, even a kangaroo court would at least provide the illusion of concern and participation.Â
Â But alas it was not in the stars for me. My trial, sentencing and execution were neatly wrapped in one ten minute meeting.
Â Believe it or not, Iâ€™m a best-selling business author. And yes, this greatly increases my embarrassment of being fired, but it also puts me in an interesting place to observe the process. Iâ€™m going to try to deal with the salt-in-the-wounds quality of writing about my own firing, partially as personal therapy, but mostly to increase the rate of healing for everyone else whoâ€™ll follow in my footsteps. And more of us, than weâ€™d all like to admit, will undoubtedly go this route at some point.
Finally, Iâ€™m not going to mention the name of my former company anywhere in this blog. Because ultimately itâ€™s not about them. Itâ€™s about my journey to regain my sanity and gainful employment.Â