Being called into the office to be fired is rarely positive; yet many of us have had the (dis)pleasure of the experience. How does one react with the scheduled event and devastating news?
During these most uncomfortable meetings, your supervisor typically will not be alone. The reason: fear of a “he-said / she-said” situation. Given the amount of stress, no doubt you understand. Think of it this way, if an individual is getting terminated by the opposite sex, unfounded accusations are often claimed. Thus, don’t be surprised at a tag-team mentally… it is for their protection, not yours; accept it.
Taking a moment for David’s situation, here’s how he was notified via email from the boss, Bertha: “Hi David, Could you come meet and talk before class on Friday morning at 8:30 a.m.”
David replied: “Not a problem about Friday prior to class. Would you like me to bring anything?”
Bertha’s final reply: “You don’t have to bring anything except yourself silly. See you then.”
Notice the tone of the email invitation from Bertha was not indicative of an illegal termination. If you are called into the office, don’t always assume negatives are forthcoming. Hopefully your next office visit will be for the promotion you recently inquired. Needless to say, recognize what’s going on and be prepared for the most unexpected. During our discussions with David, I did ask how he psychologically felt about the email.
David: “At first I thought nothing of it. Then, after reading it for a second time, I felt marginalized by the use of the term ‘silly.’ I would refer to the main boss as silly. Feeling degraded, I began to get an uneasy feeling about the meeting. The night before, Thursday, I had a horrible feeling and could not sleep. How dare her call me silly.”
According to David, setting up the termination meeting processed as follows: Friday morning came along and her office door was open. After a “come on in,” I entered to notice an individual dressed in a power suit, sitting smugly, and eager to pounce. Bertha remained seated, silent, and bearing a squid-like facial impression. Once he introduced himself, we’ll call this gentleman Mr. Farris, an attorney, the level of anxiety became overwhelming. Within seconds, I knew…
For those who have ever been in this situation, you know it can be quite challenging. For those who have never been in this situation, congratulations. Prepare yourself for the inevitable… throughout one’s career life cycle, you most likely will be sitting on one side of the table before retirement.
Summary and upcoming: How should one react at the moment of being fired? Do you become angry? Is this the time to lash out or sit quietly? Do you beg for your job back? Do you play the blame game? No doubt for each his/her own, but there are established rules of conduct, even during an illegal termination.
Next time everyone will “come on in” as David takes you by the hand during the illegal termination presented by Bertha and Mr. Farris.
If you have any questions or would like to add to the journey, contact me directly: firstname.lastname@example.org to see how I can help you. Be sure and have your peers join in on the conversation and adventure… they may thank you one very difficult day.