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Friday, October 27, 2006

Sometimes I Hate My Job

Just sometimes. Like today. Well, not my whole job, just a part of it.

Today the powers that be decided two managers would lose their jobs. Through no fault of their own. By being casualties of decisions to change their jobs into something they don't fit. Jobs that were put there one year and six months ago, respectively. Jobs into which I lured these two people, from good solid long-term employment.

We used to be a lot more ethical than this. We used to know what we were doing for more than a year ahead of us. We used to treat people a lot better than this. We used to be a good, secure place to work. An organisation big enough to be powerful in its industry, and yet still small enough that we knew and cared about each other.

I've never enjoyed this part of HR, the firing part. I much prefer hiring, even if the interviewing process often exhausts me physically and emotionally. At least I get to talk of possibilities with people who are excited to be considered to work in what is, for here, a very long-established organisation with a very good reputation. Or was. Yes, perhaps the time has come to say was.

It's worse when these are promising, enthusiastic, good people. People who deserved better from us, better from me. I remember interviewing both of them. I remember telling them that this is a company which stands by its employees even in the bad times, such as when our business was so severely affected by SARS in 2003. Noone lost their job, noone had their pay cut, noone was put on unpaid leave, noone had to worry about still having a paycheque despite us having no customers.

I remember their delight at being selected as our final candidate and offered the job. I remember talking about their contracts with them. I remember their first day with us. I remember doing their one-month interviews with them, making sure everything was going well and finding out if there was anything else I could do to make them feel more at home here.

Don't get me wrong, I understand that employment is part of being in business and we are here for the shareholders and the profitabilty of the company. I know that contracts aren't promises, I know that we might need you today but not tomorrow. I know all that.

But now, I will have to be part of the process that tells them: Sorry, we just don't want you here any more. We have made other arrangements for your jobs, changed them, and you just don't fit what we want. And I will have to deal with their disappointment, fear, anger, disbelief, sadness, before it becomes just an acceptance, a beaten-down acceptance that they've been crapped upon. At the end I will have to collect back their cards and keys, get them to sign off when they receive their last paycheque. Shake their hands and wish them well. Often I'm the last person people see. The first they meet at the interview, the last to say goodbye.

I hate this, I really and truly hate it. Every time I have to do something like this, it hurts.


Miranda said...

ohh that really does suck. I do remember the days when you knew there would be a job for you a year away. Now adays its like watch your back. Between mergers, and office politics, I dunno.

freebird said...

Miranda took the words out of my mouth. It sucks. I guess being my own boss means I only have myself to be responsible for - you have to bear all that on your shoulders. What can I say? Hugs to you. x

LePhare said...

I've had to hire and fire several times. Usually one of a team to hire but me alone to fire. Never like doing it but I always thought it would be better for me to do it than some of the insensitive sh*ts I had to work with.

It always sucks, no other word for it.

Emily said...

That is horrible. When they promote the joys of joining management, they never mention that part, do they!

Fiona said...

Thanks guys

Well you know I've had to fire the mad and the bad, from people who actually refuse to accept what is happening and go merrily about their job....to those whom you seriously think you should get security involved with, especially when they hang around until after everyone else has gone.

But these good guys, well it is going to be so damn hard. And of course one has to keep the 'party line' going.

You're right Ian....I'll never forget one of my bosses, who when I first joined where I work now (he's long gone), decided I needed to learn how to do things the 'proper' way when it came to dealing with people. Long story short, I came from a 'chain' hotel system into a very select international award-winning smaller group.

His approach was.....sell it not as a bad thing but a good thing (yes my eyes widened at the very suggestion) and he sat there and told this poor distraught woman to look on this as a wonderful opportunity, not as a failure of any kind. And he was all tra la la, it was all I could do NOT to hit him on her behalf.

Right dude, she really needed to hear that straight after you told her that she's out of a job in what was then a very tough job market.

Oh, I learned all right. I learned that I could do it a whole lot better than my then-boss could.

We're on long notice periods here, 3 months, so there is a lot of work and support to be done for them during that time. And this is often when they need you the most. I'll be there for them, it's all I can do.


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