Watch Me Entertain Myself!

Sacha Guitry once said, "You can pretend to be serious, but you can't pretend to be witty." Oh yes, I'm the great pretender.
(pilot episode: 20 January 2004)

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Letting Go

Last night for the first time ever in my life, I had to tell someone that, shortly after hiring him, he was out of a job.

A series of unfortunate events plus circumstances beyond anyone’s control contributed to one of the most awkward situations I’ve ever been in. What save the day for me was that from the start, we decided to be completely honest and open with him. You see, the reason why he was let go was highly sensitive and personal, involving other people. It would have been easier to just give him a safer explanation. But in this case I felt that honesty and full disclosure was necessary for him to realize what kind of complicated circumstance forced us to make this particular decision.

I had my two other managers with me when we talked to him, though I did most of the explaining. He was initially surprised, but managed to take the news well. Or rather, he said he understood. He did manage to keep a po-po-po-poker face throughout the rest of the talk. After thanking him, my group head discussed the details for his initial and final pay, and his immediate supervisor thanked him for his short time in our company.

Afterwards when he left the conference room, my group head turned to me and said, “I was watching you when you were talking, your right hand was shaking.”

“I know!” I exclaimed. “I couldn’t do anything about it. That was just the most awkward thing I’ve ever done!” What made this quite difficult, aside from the fact that this was my first, was that the reasons had nothing to do with us, the ones who decided to hire him in the first place; we were just doing a hatchet job. Oh well. If ever I find myself again in a similar situation, I will be more prepared.

Letting go is never easy.


rudeboy said...

You're in Creatives, Joel, or were (?). Our bloodlust is of a different kind : more of outsmarting, outwitting, and outlasting the competition. I know mine is.

But as we move up the ladder, you and I cease to be "just" Creatives, and are saddled with some unpleasant tasks that come with "Management" territory. Terminating employment must be the most excruciating task of all, especially if, as in this case, circumstances went beyond anyone's control.

I don't particularly relish firing people or blacklisting them from future projects. But sometimes, we just gotta do what we gotta do.

Anonymous said...

woah. ang hirap nito. so far i can't imagine myself doing this. baka i'd be calm and composed during the conversation pero im going to shake uncontrollably after.

Guyrony said...

That's saddening McVie.

So, can I apply for the position? :)

joelmcvie said...

@RUDEBOY: It's much easier for me to give subordinates unfavorable feedback if I really believed they deserve it. I've given probationary warnings before. Funny thing is, this wasn't really a "firing" but more of taking back our job offer; regardless, it sucks.

Thad said...

You'll get used to it :-) rudeboy is right, sometimes you have to put the company's interests first (or as i'd like to believe, the welfare of the many).

Naalala ko the first time I had to fire someone- she was four months pregnant and I pitied the girl. It got easier after I fired the 32th time ;-)

ʎonqʎʇıɔ said...

at some point, you probably wondered when your office became the next 'survivor.' haha

that must've been terrible. i've never had to do end someone's training and employment even though there were times i really, really wanted to. i hope i never get to do it. :c

joelmcvie said...

@THAD: It had nothing to do with the company's welfare, nor the welfare of the many. It was personal, yet though I can't divulge details, suffice it to say that it had to be done.

But yeah, I know that it will get easier. Thanks. =)

Manech said...

That experience at least proved that you're, well, sensitive and empathic enough to feel that way.


Ming Meows said...

if it was too personal, why have two managers with you?

joelmcvie said...

@MING: The three of us interviewed him and got him in. It's only fair that we three be there to explain fully what happened and to be on-hand in case he had questions or issues to raise.

Agent Callboy said...

When you're uncomfortable, you're growing. The next time you'll handle a similar situation in the future, it would just be a piece of cake for you. :D