Dysmey Post Archive > Pages for 2003 > Mid-November 2003 Edition

Mid-November 2003 Edition

On the afternoon of this past Tuesday my boss Brad ushered me into the Company's board room. Inside was my boss's boss, his boss, and the head of the human resources department. That was a bad enough sign. I was given a performance review to read over. It was a list of the mistakes I have made during this year, ending in my dismissal.

Yes, I have been fired.

It took an hour to gather my things, to hand in my key, to go to human resources and get the final stuff sorted out. I left two Lotus books behind; it's unlikely that I will ever meet up with Lotus Notes/Domino again. I let the folks know that I've been given the boot, and then I headed home.

Still stunned for the suddenness of it all, I did some yard work to work off the shock. I had just milk for dinner; I didn't feel like eating. I then watched PBS, which broadcast American Valor about soldiers who received the Metal of Honor. I watched them relate the deeds they did on the battlefield—deeds which they thought were just part of their duty—deeds which won them that Metal—and I thought to myself, "Compared to those guys, who am I? Who the bloody hell am I?" I didn't watch it all, because I was bone tired by then, so I dragged myself to bed.

Later I looked through my assessment, and I was stunned that:

  1. I had done so badly;
  2. I never realized I had done so badly;
  3. I find it almost unbelievable that I had done so badly.

Here is part of my response to my boss's assessment. I will now admit at this point that, for the past eight years and a half, I have worked for a bank.

I admit that I had slacked throughout the year. I had grown complaisant in a position that I had held for over eight years. Indeed, I was so complaisant that I did not realize—despite the repeated warnings—that my job was on the line. It was not made clear to me that I would be dismissed if I did not improve, so I did not improve.

This complaisance was the main reason for my tardiness and for the laxity of my work. I did not intend either to insult any of the internal customers or to be a burden on my co-workers. If I have done so, then I admit fault and apologize for being a problem to my co-workers and to the Bank.

And why should I not admit that I was at fault, when it is so obvious? But I did not see it. I had been at the bank for so long, and thought I was doing okay despite my mistakes, that I never saw my dismissal coming at me.

The honest truth is that I should not have stayed at the bank for more than five years. I should have left when Vernon and Debbie (my original boss and co-worker) were leaving; but I had a car to pay off, and that would have left the bank with only Brad (Vernon's replacement). So I stayed. And then I stayed on even after the car was paid off because by that time the economy had gone sour and I feared I would not find another job. And on and on.

I had believed that by and large I was doing the job I was supposed to be doing. I had believed that I had gotten along with most—admittedly not all—of my co-workers and was a contributing member of the Bank. Evidently neither of these was true, and it is most regrettable that I had to learn in this way.

What to do next?

I will have to look through my bills for the past few months and compute a budget. There are a lot of things that I will not be doing during the coming job search. No buying DVDs or books. No fast-food or restaurant visits. The health insurance is still good for the rest of the month, but there is likely no question about continuing it under COBRA.

I talked with the consumer loan department of my bank, and they said the monthly payments on the computer loan will not change in amount—they will just be more of them. If the worst comes, though, I have set up an emergency computer with WinXP, VirusScan and TextPad for when I will have to sell or return the computer.

I have already found one possible position that matches my skills. I will need to convince the employer that I will not slack with them as I did with the bank.

Copyright © 2003 by Andy West. All rights reserved. Last updated 15 November 2003.