“That is just unacceptable. You are doing something you were not asked to do, and you are assuming it will be ok. Well, it is not.” Penny said. The boss of my boss was scolding me. She was important, only four steps away from our CEO and I was a first line manager.
“I don’t care that the field is happy with what you did. You are no longer in sales, and you are by far the worst manager we have.” was the verdict. She had practically told me then and there she didn’t want me around anymore.
I was mad and angry and sad. My boss wouldn’t look me in the eye, and she was there, allowing her boss to beat me to a pulp. I remember thinking she was so embarrassed she couldn’t look me straight in the eye. I also remember thinking they could do whatever they wanted with me. It didn’t matter what they thought: I was right.
Only I wasn’t of course and they did what any corporate manager should do (and up to a certain point what any boss should do too): get rid of the problem. They had already weighted me and decided that the best they could do was kick me out. Of course, they did in the worst possible way. That’s material for another blog though. I will always remember that meeting as the first time I realized I was going to be fired.
I saw it coming and knew it to be unavoidable.
Regardless of what I had done at the time, the truth was I knew I was going to be fired and I knew exactly why: I decided to things my way because I didn’t want to do it their way. Reasons are not important at this point but back then I was sure they were.
Sometimes companies just fire people to save money and that is the one scenario where there is nothing you can do. Your employer just needs to fire people to survive. Harsh as it may sound, business is business. It doesn’t hurt or suck less, but it is what it is: business.
Most of the times though when people are fired there are reasons behind that action, and you can track them back to you. It doesn’t mean it’s your fault at all or that there was nothing else they could do but fire you. And it certainly never justifies violence of any sort when the actual “letting go” is taking place.
Unless you are entirely ignorant about what you are doing wrong or who you are pissing off, you know what you are not doing right. Sometimes having a sponsor or someone that cares for you at work gives you the wrong impression that all will be forgiven. You know better than that though. Deep inside you know your number is coming up at some point and you can track that back to your actions.
The question I keep asking myself now after so many years of being on both ends of the “you are fired” session is why do we deny it?
Why do we prefer to play the victim instead of taking responsibility?
If you are a manager firing someone, did you do everything in your power to avoid that? Did you communicate with your employee, or get HR’s help? And did you make it clear to that person that change was needed? Did you actually really care?
And what’s more likely if you are an employee being fired (or maybe even a manager), did you not ask for help when you needed it? Were you just obsessed with being right or rebel and stopped caring about the task you were commissioned? Did you just want to be fired? Did you acknowledge your own “why”?
Saying that a job is a job diminishes two simple and very real facts we all live with 1) being fired sucks and 2) most of the times that it happens, we know that at some point, we screwed up.
Or can you honestly say it jus happened to you?
Also published on Medium.