At My Work Place!
You Are Fired!
There is nothing that is really so difficult, hard and that pains and eats into the very hearts and minds of many Managers and Human Resources Professionals than when it comes to terminating employees! Remember also in our culture and customs, unpleasant and unwelcome news are best avoided at all costs, but the NO will be communicated in different signs and formats!
Long time ago when I still had my Consultancy firm, my younger daughter M used to drop in the Office after school in the Office, or she would come in on Thursdays. I watched a very amusing anecdote one day when she would sit in my hot seat of the CEO, and call over my son who was working with me in the firm in his summer break away from College. She would call over her brother and say to him – F, you are fired! – As if she was the CEO. Then she would add in – God, I have always wanted to do that!
Definitely comes from watching too many dramas in the satellite dish. Then she would cut in – you have half an hour to clear your desk, or I shall call in the Security Staff to throw you out. The whole Office would get in a mirth uproar, but the good son would lament (though being the elder) – This girl scares me. Where does she get these things from? Dad, this is not a laughing matter – you should not encourage her to do such things!
Actually, the son is right; being fired is not a joke – though I would reiterate to him that the good sister is only having some jest and fun at his expense. Not that she can fire anyone for real, though the Indian lady Assistant would say – M, I hope you never become my real boss in life, you scare me!
Then I think we have read this incident that had happened in a neighbouring some time back This Head of a Marketing Team had called in his Sales Team who were not able to reach their set sales targets. He put all their names in a raffle pot, saying that these are the guys who were not able to reach their set marketing goals, and as a lesson, he was going to fire one of them.
To make insult over injury, he asked one of ‘those being fired’ to draw out ‘The victim’. The guys went complaining to the Authorities, and the terminated victim was reinstated and a good dressing down for the dramatics and antics ‘Firing Marketing Manager’. The Sales Team was able to justify that they could not sell the goods due to the fact that they were ‘nearing expiry dates’!
How can you tell if you are in the ‘firing range’ or ‘hit list of being fired’?
Not to unnecessary scare or worry you with all the difficulties and problems we already have? But it is better to be prepared! Like I said in these columns before, the East Africans have this expression – if you see your neighbour’s head being shaved, be sure to put water on your head just in case – or your head maybe shaved dry like the one you see it being done to! Better be ready and to be prepared!
Remember Fred Flintstones cartoons? Series like The Office, Outsourced, Mumbai Calling, Fawlty Towers, and The Apprentice (famous Donald Trump!)? Whilst many of us may think it is that funny in watching such series like in the above cartoons and comedy series of people being fired – and their reactions – the truth is it is one of the most scaring and worrying phrase that working peoples will ever face in their lives is when you hear ‘You Are fired’ being said to you by your boss or by those in Authority!
We have seen these films where the retort or rebuke comes from the subordinate when he or she says – I am not fired, I just quit! Then there is this cartoon where this boss character tells his subordinate – You should read your E-mail more often. What are you still doing here? I fired you two weeks ago!
In the Omani (Arab) culture and customs especially – unpleasant and unwelcome news are best avoided at all costs – but the NO will be communicated to you perhaps more in different subtle signs and formats! There are few bosses
(devoid of nationalities) and with guts and courage to tell you in advance – until it is too late!
How can you tell if you are in the ‘firing range’ or ‘hit list of being fired’? Not to unnecessary scare or worry you with all the difficulties and problems we already have? But it is better to be prepared!
Here are some ‘tell tales’ signs:-
v Worst ever Staff and Performance ranking received in your life and in your services in the Company!
v The IT Help Desk comes and asks to see your PC for no reason, you did not complain of anything wrong with your PC!
v The Boss comes continuously and asks progress and status of assigned projects and tasks.
v Your projects one by one are being assigned to others or being shut down.
v The worst case scenario when The Boss says sorry – but he is assigning it to someone else but not you – and you have to hand over it to him. Most probably, he is the guy who has been brought in by ‘influence’ (Wastaah)!
v Requests for stationery support and services being ignored – or downplayed.
v For example, you have asked for two pens black, 2 blue – but they give you only one pen black or blue! They tell you – stationery is out – and we shall bring in when they come in!
v Forgetting all that you have achieved, but judge you by a new and different set of rules and measures – just to pin you down!
v You are no longer invited to meetings or told what is going on. If you ask you are told ‘this meeting is not for you – or your presence is not required this time’! Key words – This Time!
v Reduction in fringe benefits (like a smaller office or car) – with the flimsiest of excuses given why!
v When the Boss invites you to dinner (or lunch) and seems most uneasy and uncomfortable when you do turn up!
v Or the ‘Omani way’ alternatively makes a point to see that you be treated like a VIP. Your throat is ready for hanging – you will feel guilty to make a big scene later because of this!
v When peoples you see talking in the corridors suddenly go silent when you approach, or go extra nice! (The news has leaked out).
v Top brass or the CEO or the Senior Management ignoring you.
v People ignore or try to avoid you. For example – The CEO or the Management pretends not to have seen you – though you have tried to draw their attention and or to say Hi!
v Or people pass your Office quickly without saying Hello – or go other routes to avoid you.
v Everybody is extra nice and polite, even the guys who hardly spoke to you in the past.
v Even the Tea boy keeps asking if you would like more tea, coffee etc – when you just had a cup 15 minutes back – or offer to run continuous errands for you!
v A new and younger perhaps less educated qualified boss is brought in.
v Decline in business volumes and profits – or merger rumours.
v Impossible new tasks and time frames set for you.
v A job advertisement that looks like your job!
v Give a break to you did not ask for.
v You have made a big job error, judgement and mistake – but no one talks to you still yet!
v Consultants and Advisors brought in.
v People who hardly talked to you in the past now do so!
v That includes The Boss’s Secretary or Assistant – who hardly talked to you in the past, makes a point to talk to you, or ask you – how are you doing? Troubled waters ahead, more when she asks about your family for the first time since you had met her!
v The Security guards being more vigilant to insist to see your ID card.
v If it is a finger print entry system (or other) whenever you try it, it does not work.
v You have to wait for someone else to come along to let you in. Notice that with only attempt he or she is in, whilst you tried 6 times to no avail.
v Unnecessary and unprovoked attacks, antagonism and insults towards you!
v Worst is in front of juniors and subordinates – or customers and clients – so you can take your pride and esteem in and make it easy for them by resigning yourself! That is the most unethical and unprofessional ugly turn of events and sequences!
v And many others more – depending on the corporate culture and environment (society)!
Jobs are not easy to get nowadays – once you reach that certain age!
I had a good Indian friend once – more Senior Manager to me – and I asked him politely, tactfully and diplomatically – Mr. S – How can you tell tell-tale signals if you are being fired? He retorted to me – Why are they going to fire you? Two weeks later – he was fired – the poor man – I knew as The Human Resources Manager before – but just could not tell him directly then – the Omani culture thing! Left it to the (Expatriate) CEO to do so!
Just be careful! Take Care!
By Majid Al Suleimany