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


#143 In which our hero talks about getting fired.

I feel like I’ve been through a lot of jobs in my life. A little quick math:

I’m 37.
I’ve worked, pretty much steadily, since I was about 16. That gives me 21 employed years. I think I bummed around at least a couple of summers in college, so let’s say 20 years to make things even.

In those 20 years, I’ve done the following for money:
  • Busboy
  • Dishwasher
  • Cook
  • Laborer*
  • Night Assistant**
  • Customer service phone rep
  • Copywriter
  • Insurance service associate
  • Freelance copywriter
*One summer I worked for the city back home. Now, when you apply for summer work at the city, it’s understood that you’re going to be stuck on a road crew that drives around town and patches potholes and/or lays down new asphalt. However, when I applied, I was placed at the city’s water treatment plant. Once you’ve worked at a water treatment plant, the phrase “solid waste” will forever cause you to break out in a cold sweat.

**At my dorm in college. “Night Assistant” was the term for dorm staff that worked, naturally, at night. We basically set up a table in the lobby and checked everyone’s ID as they came in to make sure they lived there or were the registered guests of someone who did. I lived in a co-ed dorm, and while OSU officially didn’t allow members of the opposite sex to sleep over in your room, they had a “24-hour visitation policy.” So, sex and discreet drinking are permissible, just no sleeping, okay?

Hmm… so, nine different things isn’t that big of a deal, I guess. And actually, the busboy/cook/dishwasher thing really should fall under one job, restaurant worker.

I used to brag that I had never been fired, that I had always quit a job for something bigger and better. But then I moved up to Cleveland about six years ago, and I’ve worked at six different places -- and only left one of them voluntarily. Two of those jobs were two-year stints at agencies, so clearly I’ve worked at some other places for less than a year. Or, in one memorable case, two months.

Anyway, this is just a preamble to say that I know a thing or two about getting fired. I’ve mentioned it here. And here. Oh, and here, too.

I feel like I’ve fine-tuned my Spidey-sense to things in the environment that might mean bad news for me. Like people suddenly vanishing.

So, it was a little alarming when I came into the office on Monday to find one of the art directors gone, and his office cleaned out.

Now, the agency I work for has upwards of 220 employees, so it’s a big place. Turn over is to be expected. And it’s not uncommon to get an email that says, “Please join me in thanking so-and-so for 2 great years, and congratulate her as she takes advantage of an opportunity elsewhere” or something similar. But, occasionally there’s also a terse email that simply states, “Effective immediately, so-and-so is no longer at the company.” And stuff like that happens, people get fired. So far there hasn’t been a catastrophic event (like losing a big account) and a resulting mass firing. And, I’ve also been happy to see that even as the account people come and go, not a single creative person has left the company.

That is, until Monday.

Now, I didn’t really know this art director very well. Since there’s about 20 people on the creative staff, I haven’t worked with half of them. But I did do one job with the guy, and I thought the results were really cool.

And you never know why these things happen. I mean, I get it, management isn’t about to share the reasons with the entire company, there’s privacy issues and all that. So it always ends up leaving more questions than answers.

Buuut… as I asked around, I started to get a sense that this wasn’t too surprising of a move. Here’s the thing: this guy was always the first into the office. And he was often still working when I left. I thought, now there’s a conscientious guy, a hard worker! But, it appears that it wasn’t so much a working religiously as working slowly.

More than one person remarked that the guy just didn’t have the needed computer skills. That he wasn’t as quick as he should be, and sometimes pulled in other resources to finish jobs that he should have been able to complete on his own. Like I said, I don’t know… the one time I worked with the guy it was a satisfying experience. But I see no reason to doubt what others have told me.

So, bottom line: this is the first of the creative team to go since I’ve been here, but it seems like it wasn’t without reason. And, since more than once I’ve been last one hired/first one fired, I feel like I’ve crossed a hurdle.

Which is good… because the last thing I want to do is lug that fucking sofa to the parking lot.


Blogger dressagemom said...

Yeah, try not to get fired this time huh? It sucks for everyone, not just you. :)

12:39 PM

Blogger Lil Kate said...

Congrats on dodging that bullet, and jumping that hurdle. Hopefully you won't notice any other offices emptied out for a long time and not without good reason.

6:17 PM

Anonymous Eileen said...

I did the night receptionist job myself for three years at Michigan State. You meet some darn interesting people around 4am. I was also fired early in my life. I was canned from the Dairy Queen. Not my best moment.

12:28 AM


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