Saturday, January 10, 2009

Weekend 3-Way: You're fired!

So, it has come to my attention (again) this week that one particular employee is not doing her job. She has been given warnings, and reminders, and behind-her-back behind-the-scene checkups, but her performance is simply not cutting it. She should really be fired. My boss, however, is fond of her, and wants to, um, shall we say "relieve" her of her current position, but offer her another position within the company (small as it may be). It seems like a piss poor plan to me, but there are areas where she could do less harm, and he is the boss.

So, anyway, to finally get to the point of this weekend's 3-way, please tell us about a time that you should have been fired, or were fired, or even fired somebody else. The crazier the better, of course. Photos may be hard for this one, although Ellie always seems to come through somehow.
I've never been fired (knock wood). However, I've definitely pulled some maneuvers that could land you in the unemployment line. Here's one from a long, long time ago. During the summers of my final years of high school and first years of college I lived in Ocean City, Maryland, with however many friends it took to afford the apartment of that summer. The first two summers I worked at Candy Kitchen, which was a chain of, you guessed it, candy stores.

The first summer I worked on their store on 22nd Street, which was very busy. I was beat after every shift, my wrist sore from scooping out more dips of ice cream than I care to remember. The next summer, however, they asked if I'd be the closing "manager" of one of their slowest stores, which was located farther north, and close to my apartment. I quickly agreed.
It was a slow store. Very slow. Kind-of boring, really. Unlike the summer before, it was no big deal if my friends or boyfriend stopped by. The owners rarely dropped in. So my roommate's brother, who was visiting one weekend, showed up one night, maybe a half hour before closing, with the makings for strawberry daiquiris. He had rightly surmised that we had a blender with which to make milkshakes and malts. I was a bit shocked really, this was not what I normally did at work, but I figured it was highly unlikely any customers would be coming in before the doors were locked. So I took his ingredients and fired the blender up.

It was just as I was lifting the blended daiquiris off the blender base that one of the owners walked in. I was speechless, and flushed a deep red, my heart pounding and my mind racing to think of some plausible excuse.

My friend's brother promptly ordered some peanut butter fudge, I placed the spiked, deep pink blender down and packaged and rang up his order.

The boss man grabbed something from the back, asked about the nightly sales, and said good night.

It was one of those times when you're incredibly glad that you didn't open your mouth to try to explain. The owner simply didn't notice that I was turning his candy store into a bar. And really, who am I to say what he should or should not have been paying attention to?


I was laid off once, which is really just a polite way to say I was fired. It was my first job out of grad school, as an editorial assistant in a New York City publishing house. Except for being surrounded by smart and interesting people – including my boss – it was really a godawful job, with way too much to do, and way too little pay. I was secretly looking for another job when I got axed, actually, and there was a several day period when I was waiting to hear if I’d gotten the new job, without telling the new job people that I gotten shit-canned from my old job. I got the job. And my boss, who had been an editor at the publishing house for 25 years, started what has now become a 20-year-freelance career.

The better story is more recent, however. My so-called friend Peter, who also happens to own the Tavern, and is therefore my boss, tried to fire me recently.

Yeah, this guy.

Ms. Corey,

Due to the current unstable nature of the beer & burger market and, taking the recent worldwide economic downturns into consideration we here at The Tavern have been forced to make some tough decisions regarding the size and nature of our work force. Some positions will be out-sourced and others will be lost altogether. Cutting staff and telling people "bye-bye" is never easy, and I hope you can appreciate how hard this is for us. We wish you all the best in your endeavors in the exciting attic insulation industry. Good luck.

You think that stopped me? As if. I ignored my pink slip, marched right in the next day, and have been working in the face of this kind of adversity and harassment ever since.


Well now, this is a tough one! I have never been fired, and I have never had to fire anyone – although I have bullied counseled a couple of people into leaving their jobs so I wouldn’t have to be the bad guy. I can't see the wisdom in sharing anecdotes about why I should possibly be fired from my current, long term job. This was an unprofessional moment, but surely not grounds for termination.

I’ve got nothing about being fired, but I can you about the time times I started a fire!This year, I called it my annual holiday kitchen fire.

As I explained in an e-mail to my family the day after the first fire:

here is a quote that sums up our afternoon yesterday, as we prepared to head to OB in the rain for the bleepin Christmas parade:

me to my loving husband: "What were we fighting about before I started the fire?"

I had turned on the burner to make cocoa, except that I turned on the right rear instead of the left rear. Unfortunately, there was a huge green Tupperware lid sitting on the right rear burner. Plastic is really quite flammable! And it smells awful and toxic when it burns. It required the use of our kitchen fire extinguisher, which is lovely because it puts out fires, but makes a really, really big mess right on top of the melted sea of green plastic.

This year, the fire was on Christmas day. I was putting away the china we had used for our big dinner on Christmas eve, and set one of those zip up faux quilted plastic china cozy numbers on the stovetop (I need more counter space), and must have knocked the burner knob in the process because soon there were flames and I was yelling for Bill. We got this one out by beating it with towels, but again with the melted plastic!

Maybe someone will fire me from working in my own kitchen!


Sweet Jennie said...

Ellie, dare I say that your so-called "letter" seems to have Dibble written all over it??

Me, You, or Ellie said...

YES. But it was actually from Petah. That bastard.


Aunt Becky said...

Loves this post. I've not been fired because of some miracle or something, but there are many times I've quit. Usually without notice.

Springer Kneeblood said...

I have fired people. In most cases, it was no fun. However, in a couple of cases involving people who should never have been hired to do any work by any company anywhere for any reason, I would have preferred to beat the person to death with an axe handle. But, I wanted desperately to stay out of prison. I was fired, once; actually, my contract was not renewed after 7 years. Less fun even than firing people.

KG said...

I laughed HARD at the boozing candy kitchen story. Chiefly because I've been to Ocean City and have seen those Candy Kitchen stores. That's awesome.

NucMEd is Hot said...

I love that you continue to go to work when they pink you!!! Even if it may not have been true, it's still a really good story.

Lola said...

Too funny! I got fired once for telling my boss that she was the biggest bitch I'd ever met.

Since she was the biggest bitch I'd ever met, my firing was totally unfair ;)