Saturday, March 13, 2010

So, I fired someone the other day.

"To whom it may concern: I can't begin to count the number of people I've fired. So many that I've forgotten what it's like to actually hire someone."
~Ryan Bingham (played by George Clooney) in Up in the Air

It's what I do. People often ask me if I hate that part of my job. Is it awful to say that I don't? Call it what you want: firing, releasing, letting go, or terminating someone. I mean, it's never fun to let someone go, but it's part of my job and although I handle it very delicately and tactfully when I speak to each person, it's something I'm incredibly accustomed to and it doesn't bother me much at all anymore. In fact, many times I feel like it's a favor, a blessing in disguise for the individual. If you think about it, when someone is being released from a position, there is obviously a reason and that reason is that they did something wrong or it's simply not the right job fit. I'm giving them the opportunity to move on to something that fits them better.

You'd be surprised by how smoothly most of these types of meetings go. If you handle it correctly, generally the termination ends peacefully with a shake of hands and wishes of good luck. My mom says I was made for HR because I have the ability to be very straightforward, expressing just enough emotion to sympathize, but remaining stern enough to "let people know who's boss" and avoid any backlash or unwanted scenes.

It just is what it is. When I'm letting someone go, I point out that the behavior in question was brought to their attention several times (you always have to have documented warnings and improvement plans) and so this may just not be the right job or industry for them. So while I'm letting them know that we will no longer be able to employ them, I take the opportunity to discuss what their possible next steps could be and I typically offer a hefty dose of "friendly advice" to help them be more successful next time - not the least of which includes things like "Next time, don't lie to me," or "Next time, losing your temper and telling a customer to 'F*$! off' is not a wise decision," or "Maybe it would be good for you to tell yourself that your shift starts at 730am, instead of 8am. You may have a better chance of being on time." For better or worse, I generally never know if they move on to be more successful or repeat the same mistakes. I'd like to think that something I say helps them make at least one wiser choice next time.

You know, just trying to make the world a better place... one fired employee at a time.

Photo found here.


Brooke said...

you are hilarious! You do make the world a better place :)

Lindsay RC Wilson said...

Um, I loved reading this.

Kimberlee Koplin Mills St. Clair said...

This made me are superb.