Who among us has been told that you have to be “let go”? ∗raises hand∗ I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve been involuntarily resigned, terminated, “let go”, fired, kicked to the curb. I don’t care what kind of polite euphemism is used, the result is unemployment. Sometimes unexpected (the worst kind), sometimes not. Having been on both sides of the termination conversation, I only have one thought to contribute on this: call a pink slip a pink slip! I recall thinking to myself when I was told out of nowhere that my employer had to ‘let me go’: “let me go where”? Where exactly is it you’re allowing me to go and was I not permitted to go there before? It’s funny where one’s mind goes in traumatic situations… Job loss is considered one of the most traumatic experiences a person can go through and ranks right up there with divorce, bad health and loss of a loved one. Anyway, my second thought at that traumatic time was “whatchu mean?—wait—what?—huh?”.
Of those of us who have been “let go”, how many of us wish they could go back in time and not be so professional about that sudden dismissal; especially when we felt it was unjustified or downright unethical? ∗raises hand again & looks around∗
I don’t have much advice to give about how to handle the influx of emotions from being involuntarily resigned but what I can offer is that the response should match the consideration, or lack thereof, for your feelings that the employer shows. If you are being allowed to leave with your dignity intact, then by all means, keep it intact and behave like a reasonable, professional adult. Maybe you knew this was coming and maybe even earned a swift kick out of the door (you know what you did). Maybe you didn’t see it coming but you’re relieved (because now you don’t have to quit AND can get unemployment!) and the employer was compassionate and tried to make it as painless for you as possible. What do I mean by making it painless for you? Not escorting you out in the middle of the day in front of all of your coworkers as you lug all of your “workly” possessions in a box comes to mind—this may or may not have happened to…a friend. How about not watching you like you’re going to enact your nefarious plan to steal company secrets and sabotage the computer system with a virus before you leave? Not doing these things would allow you to leave with your head held high and your #selfofsteam (gotta love Twitter) intact and would also prevent you from losing all behavior and home training and displaying emotions worthy of a parent-embarrassing 2 year old…See? Everybody wins!
See what you typically find are employers who stay up nights trying to think of the most humiliating way they can fire their employees. You know, the ones who fire you right after you arrive on a Monday morning, watch you like a hawk as you gather your belongings then escort you out of the building like you were guilty of corporate espionage or
caught your married boss with his secretary after hours or embezzlement. This category would also include employers who fire you unjustly and/or unexpectedly and then give you bullsh*t explanations like “it just wasn’t working out” or “you aren’t a good fit”. I think we can also include the employers who wait until after you’ve finished reeling in that big client, completed the 60 hour workweek for the annual audit or found the cure for cancer before deciding “it wasn’t working out”. These, my dear friends, are the employers that you should let have IT (all of it!) before you leave the premises. You have nothing more to lose right? You aren’t even being allowed to leave with your dignity! This is the time to say everything that you will wish you had said once you get home if you don’t take this one-chance-only opportunity as someone is killing all of your hopes and dreams! Trust me, I know you will replay the scene over and over inserting all of the witticisms you would have SLAYED with but only thought of after you left with your head hanging and your tail tucked between your legs! I know it and you know it and I know that you know that I know it!
What are some of the things you wish you’d said after being “let go”? Anyone willing to share what you actually DID say after your employer let you go…off? I’m just asking, you know, for a friend.