The mask for today: Fuck you, you’re fired
It’s a cold May afternoon in the mountains. The clouds are featureless and ambiguous, flattened by an undiscerning bright light that makes the eyes think it must actually be early in the morning, maybe too early to be seeing… in a way that makes them want you to go take some pain killers.
I dislike firing people in the same way. I rarely need to do it, and I rarely use the word ‘fire’ (even to myself). Firing is something you do to a thing: piece of pottery, a bullet. It connotes and demands a disjointed objectification where the person being fired ceases to be a person and becomes a projectile, an obstacle, some thing to be discarded. In firing, power is used to remove an obstacle. A story of hierarchical power is believed in and adhered to.
I don’t hire things though. I hire people. In hiring I feel connected to them as a person where I recognize them as a person. That’s the character and tone I strive for in the relationships in my life: seeing each other, striving for understanding, compassion, acknowledgement, support, growth.
I want to protect and deepen that even in a relationship with a staff member that needs to go. In firing, that want is disallowed. But it finds fulfillment when I am able speak to the staff member as a person about moving on. This is not a game of semantics, at least no more or less than any thing else.
Encouraging someone to move only deepens the trust we’ve built even if the nature of our relationship changes. The relationship actually has the potential to move to a deeper more meaningful place. There is a recognition of each other, of ourselves in relationship to the situation with the other. Here we have the opportunity to face a challenge, communicate and meet each other in a way that doesn’t hang on to the idea and use of hierarchical power. It is an expansive space where more than ‘boss’ and ’employee’ are recognized, more than ‘the job’, the ‘company’, the building, and the hotel exist.
Firing is an end that disallows satisfactory resolve not only for the fired, but for the employer, for me. Rather than the disjointed vacuum of relationship experienced in firing, in helping someone move on, the energy of potential, of forward movement, of personal and professional growth that originally fueled the hire is expanded, explored, and continues its momentum.
But that’s what I want. I also want a gold anodized aluminum guitar. It’s beautiful isn’t it? Don’t you agree? Today a staff member helped me realize what I want, my vision of beauty, is not what others want necessarily. As it turns out, today I did not get what I wanted. I got much much more.
A moment of gratitude to the unnamed who insisted I fire. Thank you for helping me see what I want more clearly.