Enterprise Software

The guy who wouldn't leave


What would you do if you fired someone and he wouldn't go away? That was the case a few years ago in a company I once worked for. A guy who produced virtually nothing in the entire probationary period (six weeks) he was onboard was told he had to go. Our expectations were repeatedly explained to him, yet he just couldn't or wouldn't step up to the plate. I must mention that this was a company that rarely had to fire anyone so the decision was thought out long and hard. The following is the conversation that took place when he was given the news of his termination. Let's call the employee Fred.

After a lengthy explanation of why the action was being taken, the manager concluded with:

Manager: So, I'm afraid we're going to have to let you go.

Fred: Let me go?

Manager: Yes.

Long silence.

Manager: You're being fired.

Fred: I'm being fired?

Manager: Yes.

Long silence.

Fred: When you were telling me the reasons just now, I became a little clearer on what I'm not doing right. Maybe if you gave me another chance and paid me a little more, I could turn things around.

Manager: I'm firing you and you want a raise? I don't think so.

Long silence.

Fred: Can I borrow a company computer to take home and do my resume?

Manager: No, that's against company policy.

Fred: I'll bring it back.

Manager: No.

The manager then told Fred he'd leave him to gather his things and be back in an hour.

One hour later, the manager walked back to Fred's office to see how things were progressing. Fred was still seated at his desk, reading a magazine. The manager looked at his watch and reiterated that Fred should be getting a move on. Two hours later, Fred began putting a few things in a box. Same thing three hours later. Same thing four hours later. Finally at 5:00 pm, the exasperated manager, normally an unflappable guy, practically shouts "Fred, you have to leave!"

And with reluctance, Fred picked up his box and walked out the door. These days, employees are often escorted to the door minutes after a firing. I guess this is one reason why.

About

Toni Bowers is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and is the award-winning blogger of the Career Management blog. She has edited newsletters, books, and web sites pertaining to software, IT career, and IT management issues.

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