March 06, 2008

I'm the Terminator!

Since Iíve had direct reports with my company, Iíve never had to terminate someone. Donít get me wrong, two of my people have been fired, but someone else did that when I wasnít even in the office. Hell, I didnít know it was happening until I got back and found out. Well, thatís no longer true. In fact Iím making up for lost time.

Back on Valentines Day, (again I wasnít in the office) there was an incident involving the misuse of company assets that involved A LOT of people. This was big enough that it went up the chain of management all the way to the executive level to determine what kind of action was going to happen. We ended up scouring through disciplinary records of the staff involved. Based on past disciplinary action, upper management made a determination on the type of disciplinary action was going to be taking place this time. They did this to make sure there was consistency as it involved employees working for different supervisors in multiple departments and units.

When the dust cleared it came down to everything from a warning for first time offenses to termination for repeat offenders. The only person I had involved received a verbal warning before so they were given a permanent written warning this time that could lead to termination if they do it again. Thus none of my people were getting terminated. Yet, I ended up doing all the other terminations.

One of the individuals terminated asked me to assist, just because Iím a guy and she thought there might be trouble. The others didnít have supervisors in the office that day and the terminations had to be done. Because the other supervisors, even the ones that worked in the same unit, didnít directly supervise these people, they didnít want to do it. In fact they felt I should do it. They were scared of what these individuals were going to do, they were repeated disciplinary problems. Their logic was that they wouldnít get upset if I was doing it because, ďContagion, youíll kick their ass if they start anything.Ē Yea, thatís right.

So I spent most of the day terminating or handing out punishments to people. And Iím not done yet. Nope, we ran out of time before we could get to everyone. Iím mentally exhausted from doing this. I feel bad for the people that were terminated. Donít get me wrong, they brought this upon themselves, but really it should have been their supervisor or one they worked with that handed out the punishment. Not the guy in the office they deal with rarely. And contrary to some peopleís belief, I took no pleasure from doing it.

The worse part is that word spread quickly. You donít start firing people left and right on the same day with out people not only noticing, but also noticing who is escorting them out of the office. Some of the people I terminated were friends with or relatives of employees of mine. When I returned to my unit for stuff, my own employees wouldnít look or talk to me. They kept they eyes diverted. At one point they were gathered and talking and when they saw me, they all scattered to the wind like roaches when a light comes on.

Needless to say, tonight Iím mentally and emotionally drained. Iíd like to have a drink, but the only think I have is that nasty Bud Light Chelada.

Posted by Contagion in Tales from the Work Place at March 6, 2008 06:51 PM | TrackBack

"an incident involving the misuse of company assets"....

So... another round of firing people for surfing the internet?

Posted by: Shadoglare at March 6, 2008 09:52 PM

Must be something in the water.

I had to fire a guy I had hired, whom was a friend of mine, yesterday morning.

Posted by: BloodSpite at March 7, 2008 09:24 AM

I feel for you. My husband had to do the "lay off" thing for multiple employees back before he got laid off from his old company. (Yeah, great, make him do a bunch of lay offs then get rid of him too... heh quite the sense of humor that company has). He also had to do a hostile firing at one point - where they had to work and document (council the guy, warn the guy, yada yada yada) the employee's lack of actually doing the work he was paid to do over 2 years!!! Then he tried to sue them once they did finally get rid of him - the wanker. It's really really hard to do - even when the employee deserves it and has been a complete jerk.

Posted by: Teresa at March 7, 2008 02:19 PM

You have my sympathy, it can't be easy "terminating" someone, no matter whether they deserve it or not.

You still become the "Bad Guy".

Posted by: bx19 at March 7, 2008 05:13 PM

I have had to fire 3 people and I didn't feel sorry for them at all.

They screwed up, they knew the rules, were warned about it and yet they still screwed up.

Posted by: Quality Weenie at March 7, 2008 06:06 PM

In the industry I work in, rarely are there 'terminations'. To get rid of people who are not performing or others they want to eliminate, they have a lay off once every year to couple years. Its a massive 'firing' if you will. It SUCKS. For everyone. For months and months in advance, supervisors have to rank their people, then sit in a room with the others supes under their manager, and roll it up. (We call it 'rack 'n stack.) It comes nearly to fisticuffs as everyone tries to keep their people from the bottom. It is rolled all the way up and then one day the supervisor is handed a list and told, "Tomorrow, you lay all these people off."

it sucks. Even the biggest asshole supervisors hate it. It makes everyone sick. There is nothing pleasant in firing someone unless they have for sure done something so horrible that it can't be overlooked. Work with someone long enough, and you know of their families and what is going on in their lives.

I'm sorry you had to do that repeatedly. Its one thing to have to fire someone for something like lying on a time card or stealing through travel audit, and quite another to have to do what you did.

Posted by: Bou at March 8, 2008 08:25 PM