My friend Rich was astonished to see a news story about a company that fired a young employee by sending her a text message.
“Well, what did you think they should have done?” I asked him. “Tattoo the news on her lower back? Engrave it on a body piercing? Take a digital picture of her empty desk and send it to her camera phone?”
New technologies are always used for old needs. There was probably equal excitement when the first faxed firing occurred or the first job offer was accepted over email or the first CFO posted naked pictures of himself on accountantsgonewild.com.
So although advances in technology may mean that firings may occur over your cellphone – u r fired :( – always being prepared for that possibility is wise. After all, you never know when you will get a new boss who suddenly does not value you or when you will be caught writing a freelance column during company time.
The smart employee is always ready to leap from the speeding train of present employment on to the cinders, rocks and weeds of a new company, oblivious to the bleeding of the transition and the shocked stares of other passengers while optimistic that wherever he or she landed, it’s a place where they stop for hitchhikers. Here are some tips to make it easier for you when you hear the dreaded words: “We have decided to pursue an alternative strategy personnel-wise that is not inclusive of or consistent with your skill set.”
Travel light. If you have a lot of personal items in your office, it will take you a lot of time to pack and get out. This can be awkward, as co-workers are likely to come by as you are packing up and ask if they can have your chair. Clear your office of all photos, awards, books, bobble-head dolls, shaving items, shoe inserts, dental retainers, syringes, fresh socks and pets before the moment of rejection arrives. Keep all remaining personal items in one place, already packed so that you can make your exit quickly. This is good for your self-worth because it says to everyone else that you never planned to stay at the company very long in the first place. If you have a plant in your office, leave it and savour the idea of what will happen when its new owner discovers that it is poison ivy.
The last retort
Practise your ‘elevator speech’. No, not the kind where you explain in 10 seconds why someone should care about you but rather the words you will speak when the boss gives you the heave-ho. Personal favourites include, “does this have anything to do with the affair I am having with your wife?” and “to show you there are no hard feelings, I want you to have my plant.”
Don’t be angry. Sure, you’re getting unfairly canned by an incompetent boss who’s not fit to clean out kennels and the thought of your fist giving her instant, cheap rhinoplasty fills you with delight. But that doesn’t mean you can get angry with her. Be calm and be prepared to exercise your legal rights, which include demanding the return of your pre-employment urine sample.
Finalise all severance-related paperwork. Ask to see a calculation of your final check, including unused vacation time and any refunds due you, such as your pre-paid insurance premiums for the company’s bonus dismemberment plan. Get in writing your boss’s acknowledgement that the company understands you will not be bringing a covered dish to the office holiday party and absolves you of all responsibilities thereto.
Don’t voluntarily surrender any company property. Make them ask you if you have a company laptop at home or a company cell phone in your pocket. Some managers are so worried about the rhinoplasty possibility that they will forget to collect these items. Good 4U!
Be calm and be prepared to exercise your legal rights, which include demanding the return of your pre-employment urine sample.