Monday, December 23, 2019

Remembrance Day

I had to terminate friend and coworker last week.

This is the sort of thing that the workplace environment never really prepares you for - anywhere.  Oh, they have all sorts of knowledge on how to do your job and how to not break the laws and possibly how to be a better manager.  It is occasionally acknowledged that this might happen - but no, there is no formal training for it.

The reason, of course, falls into that general bucket of protected information that we are never allowed to discuss.  Suffice it to say was no question about it.

But that does not make it any easier. 

The experience, I can sadly say, was one of the single worst days of my approximately 3.5 year employment at my current company, or perhaps really in my entire 35+ years of working.  I have had to terminate individuals before.  But never friends.

After this sort of event, there is a twofold issue:  on the one hand, dealing with your own emotions about everything - not just the event itself but your knowledge of the person, their family, their situation, the very really impact of what just happened on their life.  The knowledge of the stress that is going on in their lives right now and that somehow, you contributed to all of that.

On the other hand is the very real fact that this sort of thing does not take place in a vacuum.  There are direct reports to the person who left.  There are coworkers,  All of these are now unsettled about what has happened (and rightly so).  Rumors fly faster than the truth which one cannot speak, made more potent by the fact that one cannot say much of anything at all.  One tries to ensure people that this is not a company wide event or indicative of any insecurity in their own jobs.  One works on salvaging the reputation of one's friend, who not there to comment or defend themselves. 

One does a pretty lousy job of it.

Thankfully (if there is anything to be thankful for in this unfortunate event) the individual has work friend who looked in and are looking in even now.  We have chatted via text a bit and somehow I am not held responsible for this event.  We plan to have coffee or some such after vacation, when hopefully they and I are somewhat healed - the weight of the emotions are still a bit raw and I fear it would bleed into our conversation until a little time has passed.

I have held for many years now that 02 August is my failure day, the day in which I celebrate any and all of the ways I have gloriously failed.  I can now add 20 December to the pantheon of self created holidays, that of Remembrance Day.  For remembering the very real impact - good and ill - I have on the lives of others. 


  1. Ugh. The timing of it couldn’t be worse, with Christmas looming.

    Been there, done that... and will never do it again. Mind you my circumstances were different, I was middle management when I did it. I mostly did senior management’s dirty work, and was expected to shelter them from the inevitable fall out blow back from their idiotic decisions. Eventually I quit and got a real job. But... I made a few dirty terminations AND had to promote some stinkers to appease the creeps upstairs. Then it happened to me and I got the punt! 😆👍

    It’s not fair, it’s life.

  2. Glen, you are right. I had nothing to do with timing, although I suspect it was to take care of business before the next year.

    I am not happy about it - but neither can I really deny the fact that it needed to happen. I was offered the chance of not being in the room but it is my responsibility. I am the boss.

    And yes, I sadly suspect my time will come as well.

  3. It's so hard when your heart gets in it. Just my two bits... but the fact that you did it as opposed to somebody else? I think that was probably the best way to handle it for everyone.

  4. eagergridlessbeaver7:29 AM

    Im a past life I was a Director of Research and Development..and in 2007-2008 due to an ecomomic downturn in the economy I had to terminate the employment of 16 of my staff in one swoop. One of which was an old roomate and a friend. All staff had worked hard for me and put in many extra hours on many initiatives...and it was the hardest thing I ever had to do and within a year and a half I left management to go back to a technical role where I controlled my own destiny instead of herding cats and montivating. I look back and and happy. I took a job for 1/2 the pay and never made a choice to work at another job based on money. I have worked for some comlete idiots since then but I have the technical acumen to enable me to be mobile to an extent. I feel your pain and never want to have to terminate employment for someone again...hopefully when I retire in 8 years I will make it

    1. EGB - How fitting that put this comment in. I have been thinking about this a lot lately.

      Two months in, I think I feel as bad as I did - and I am starting to have the same thoughts as you did (and are). The job for the sake of money has, frankly, become a burden now. I am logging enough hours that I am actually making two thirds of my "salary" just on hours. For the first time, my wife and I actually discussed the concept of "what if".

      Good luck on the remaining 8 years. And thanks for stopping by and posting!


Comments are welcome (and necessary, for good conversation). If you could take the time to be kind and not practice profanity, it would be appreciated. Thanks for posting!