You're Fired! Part 2-Making a Graceful Exit
(This article continues where OERamz’s first article “You’re Fired! Part 1- I Never Saw It Coming left off.)
After the smile and, “we won’t be needing this today”. Mr. Manager continued, “you have been a very valuable asset to our group” and then the “but” … as you know the economy, our group, difficult decision … I felt like Charlie Brown listening to his teacher … and it wasn’t good news.
Funny how the mind takes over as I began to think, we’re moving tomorrow, my boxes are all packed and sealed, they’ll have to bring them back. Do I have enough bags to carry all my stuff, oh my, how am I going to pay …my mortgage/rent, car, insurance, food, etc. I don’t have another job, and it’s the holidays. The brain tends to multi-task on overdrive, it is adrenaline. Then I asked, what was a dumb question, “what about tomorrow’s move”? I hear a chuckle and “I’m sure you have done a great job and with the project status report, we’ll be fine.” Ironically, this would be the first and last time I’d receive such recognition. Wish I had a recorder, as it was neither the time, nor the occasion to savor it!
With Mr. Manager still across my desk smiling (seriously!?) , I rush to end this misery and ask, so Mr. HR will tell me what’s next? Mr. Manager stands up, says, “it’s been a pleasure” and extends his hand. The “Inner me” ponders, “wouldn’t you just love to ….” Logical me reacts, as I chide myself, you were raised to be respectful, courteous and professional, you still haven’t signed anything (that’s the Lawyer me), you don’t know what’s in the package … so I smile, extend my hand, barely shaking his, and with injured pride replied “I am saddened and disappointed by the news”. Which was truthful, and more appropriate, maybe a bit pathetic but my emotions were beginning to rise. Certainly did not want him to see me cry. Never let them see you cry! My dad, raised five strong Latina daughters, and always reminded us that “las mujeres no lloran” …ladies don’t cry, when we were faced with a difficult situation. Kudos, dad!
Having achieved his agenda, Mr. Manager takes his leave. On to Mr. HR. He was flushed; guess this is never easy. I also heard a lot of blah blah blah as I was pondering what I needed to do and who to contact before I relinquished my office – defense mechanism? Thankfully, he kept it short as I confirmed that I would not sign anything until I had my attorney review it. Done.
As I put my head down on my desk absorbing what had just happened, it occurred to me that this was the FIRST time EVER that I had been fired. I have been gainfully employed since the age of 14 and never left a job without having another. I was now joining the ranks of the unemployed. It was during a difficult climate, with the economy and more importantly, the job market at its worst (and it wasn’t even 2009 yet).
Not wanting to overstay my welcome, I sent my final note via a blast email, even sent one to the CEO and Head of the group (probably never read it but others did). The overwhelming response from my colleagues, staff and managers, however, both by email and in person made this outcome bittersweet. It confirmed, at least in my mind, that I had made a valuable difference, and what Mr. Manager had said was, in fact, true. I had indeed been an asset. Goodbye and Farewell.
What did you do next, after recovering from the shock of being fired? What, if anything, would you have said/done differently?
Stay tuned for OERamz’s next article “You’re Fired! Part 3 – What’s All This Web 2 Point Oh My God?.”
Orietta E. Ramírez (pen name OERamz) is a native New Yorker, born in Brooklyn, raised in The Bronx, and presently calls home in Dutchess County, New York. Pedagogically, her claim to fame, as she puts it, is that she shares Cardinal Spellman H.S. as her alma mater with the distinguished Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Fordham University with Vince Lombardi and Steve Bellán, first Latin American to play Major League Baseball, and with Geraldo Rivera, another Brooklyn Law School alum. A first generation Chilean-American, she is a dynamic bilingual lawyer, employee relations advocate and project manager, with experience in human capital administration, audit and risk management. While leveraging her legal and compliance background as an HR partner, she incorporates her expertise on projects and in business relationships with a focus on diversity and inclusion as well as talent management. She is an avid reader and includes salsa dancing among her extracurricular activities, and is always open to all that is intriguing and challenging, which offers new opportunities for thought.