Have you ever had to replace someone?
By replace, I mean “fire”. Such a heavy word.
Well, I had to do just that the other day and it’s not a pleasant experience.
I remember having to do the deed a few years ago but it was nothing compared to this time.
I had hired someone to do a job for me.
I had great hope.
I was thrilled to work with this person.
Initially things were just fine.
Then, about a month ago in an e-mail, I had to remind this person that there was a job to do and if it seemed overwhelming now, just wait a few weeks- it would get more involved.
I had suggested the person in question could opt out of the job at hand.
The e-mail was misunderstood and I was blasted by return mail.
Never a good idea to send this type of message in an e-mail but this is how I correspond with this particular band of employees. I swiftly counter-acted by saying the message was misconstrued. It was simply an option- an open window, to opt out of the situation but we continued along with the job at hand.
Now, a few days ago I found my back up against the wall. This hiree was unavailable for work one evening. It was disappointing to the rest of the employees that they could not move fully forward and they all knew and understood the commitment required.
The key word- commitment.
It was beginning to be an albatross around my neck.
So, the following morning with the sun shining brightly and the birds tweeting lightly, I had a conversation with an associate who advised me to end it with this person and the sooner the better. Seconds later the phone was ringing and a happy-go-lucky voice answered.
It was like I was firing Snow White! The voice on the other end of the line was bright, sweet, innocent and cheery.
God Damn it!
What I needed to hear coarse with an aggressive undertone of non-benevolence.
I was screwed.
Nevertheless, I proceeded right to the point.
I am removing you…blah, blah, blah.
I am sorry.
I may have misjudged you.
Maybe it’s a lack of experience.
I know how you feel.
Maybe the workload is too much.
On and on I went till I had exhausted the points I wanted to make.
In return some aggression.
Fully expected and probably warranted. How can one make this seem like a delightful Afternoon Tea?
Pass the cucumber sandwiches anyway.
I suggested this was not the moment to burn bridges.
The person on the other end of the line wasn’t listening.
This was one of the problems I had been having from the beginning.
A lack of listening and taking direction as required. Not always but...
So, the conversation ended.
I knew this wasn’t the end.
There would be repercussions…and there were.
A few hours later, a letter had been drafted and sent to not only me but all those “employees” involved. It was from a person who felt hurt and betrayed and led down the garden path.
All valid points but the main point was missing.
I was accused of having no faith in this employee.
It wasn’t a question of “faith” in the person it was a question of “commitment”.
That was the problem. The employee was in deep water and although others were circling to keep the employee “alive”- they failed.
So, it was a difficult thing I had to do.
It was difficult for the employee to hear.
Question is, would I hire this person in the future? Before would have before the letter.
However, the letter stirred the pot. The contents- of which I have still not read although it was hinted at by others, involved not only me but other employees. I had said all I needed to say and could say earlier in the day.
So it’s done and that’s that. I hope you never had to do it.
I can still smell the smoke from the smoldering bridges.