Skrip - tyur' - i - ent: adj. Possessing the violent desire to write.


#097 In which our hero gets bad news. Again.

For the past two months I’ve been worrying -- to a varying degree -- about losing my job. My relative inexperience in this field, the fact that I haven’t been given a key to the building, the limited feedback I’ve received… it’s all added up to a stressful situation.

Well, the good news is I can stop worrying now.

I got fired last Friday. I’ve been laid off several times before, but this is the first time in my life I’ve been outright fired, as in, “You aren’t doing your job well enough so we’re going to find someone else that will.”

Y’know, before I moved to Cleveland, I had never left a job other than by my own volition. Then, I get up here and I’ve been laid off twice and now, fired. What does this tell us? That’s right -- Cleveland hates me.

On one hand I’m mightily pissed about being fired, and on the other, I don’t really blame them. I mean, here’s how clueless I am about being fired from this agency: I don’t know why I was fired. I mean, I was writing good stuff, I liked my co-workers and my co-workers seemed to like me… and I had only been there for two months; certainly that wasn’t enough time to really ascertain if I could excel at the position or not, right?

Last Friday around 4:50 pm (and isn’t that chickenshit? Why do employers wait until the end of the day at the end of the week? Here I was looking forward to the weekend, hanging out with the girls… then BOOM! You’re fired!) and one of the two partners calls me back into the conference room. The other partner is already sitting there. For one deliciously long moment I though they were going to talk to me about a Web site outline I had written earlier and submitted to them, requesting feedback. Then I sat down and suddenly the situation was very familiar.

“Craig,” one of them said, “We’re going to have to make room for another writer.” But still, my brain tried to steer me clear of what was coming, and for half a second I thought they were telling me that they were going to have to move my desk to make room for a second writer. Not so much, as it turns out.

What followed was about five minutes of them telling me that they had a vision for the future of the agency, but that I didn’t really fit the vision, and some other bullshit. Honestly, my brain was screaming “I can’t fucking believe we’re being fired AGAIN!” over and over, and I didn’t register a lot of what was said.

But the gist of it was that they needed a real informational architect, and my skills in that area were too soft, and they needed to hire someone more suitable to the position.

Now, here’s the thing: they are absolutely right. When it comes to being an informational architect, I really don’t know my ass from a hole in the ground. BUT - I made this clear when we initially interviewed. They ran an ad for a “Web Copywriter;” I applied for a position of Web Copywriter. This meant, I thought, writing for the Web, which I could do. They mentioned that they would like to see me develop additional navigational/organizational/hierarchical skills down the road, but not to worry, they would work with me on that. So I didn’t worry.

And, despite asking for feedback and suggesting that maybe I could attend a seminar or some-such, I never really got any guidance or assistance in building those skills. None. So, I’m more than a little pissed that after I was told to not worry about lacking certain skills, I was fired for lacking certain skills.

And while I’m ALL ABOUT blaming other people for my ills, I know I’m not guiltless in this one. Maybe a smarter guy could have picked up quicker on what they wanted. Or maybe I should have shown more self-motivation about learning these new skills. Frankly, I was a little lazy about it. But then again, I never received any feedback that would have led me to believe that I wasn’t doing an okay job.

After what needed to be said was said, there came a lull, which one of the partners filled by looking at me and saying, “Yeah, it sucks.”

And I came this close to coming completely unglued.

Despite my sometimes mercurial temperament, I’ve always been careful about burning bridges. This is Cleveland, after all, and the advertising community is fairly small and inbred. I could really do myself some damage if I unloaded on this guy. But for a second I completely saw red and lit up the proverbial torch and prepared to go to town. But I didn’t… rather, I packed up my shit and got the hell out of Dodge.

Not feeling the need to make a prolonged exit, I simply said to the room at large, “Well, I enjoyed working with you all while it lasted. I guess my time here is done.” The shocked faces of my co-workers were almost comical.

Speaking of my co-workers… two to them have since emailed me to say how sad they were that I got fired so unexpectedly and that they missed me. If you guys ever happen to run across this entry… thanks. It means more to me than you probably know. I worked at my last agency for nearly two years and not a single person said good-bye, kiss my ass or anything. It’s very cool that you reached out to me after only two months of working together. But anyway.

So I had to go home and drop the bomb on The Scientist. This will make the third time I’ve made her cry with news of my sudden unemployment. It gets really old and makes me feel completely shitty. It doesn’t help that we’re just about into the third month of her three-month maternity leave, aka the month in which she doesn’t get paid. So we don’t have any income of any sort coming in.

And just when things seemed their darkest, I made a single phone call, which led to me starting a new job today.

I know, WTF? More to come.


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