Joe’s a photographer in his spare time, I thought maybe he had one of his prints enlarged for his office wall. A few minutes later he stuck his head over my cube wall to say goodbye – and tell me he’d been fired.
I was gobsmacked. I walked out the door and met up with him in the parking lot, where he was talking to another employee. Joe gave us the details of what went down, told us who was behind it (five employees). And you’ll never guess what he did to get himself fired – he tried to take the company into the 21st century and hold people accountable for the work they were doing.
Joe came on board two and a half years ago with the intention to buy the company from Dick (not his real name, but he’s a big one). Joe wanted to put at least a million into equipment upgrades, but he couldn’t do it until the sale went through. Dick kept dragging his feet on the sale; I question if he ever had the intention to sell.
I’ve only been here five months. Joe liked my experience in marketing and public relations. He told me about his plan to buy the company and that it should happen by year’s end. Joe was forward-thinking, embraced change and a more efficient way to get things done. I liked Joe right away, we clicked. He welcomed my ideas, and we were on the same page about almost everything.
Right from the start, I could feel the tension between Joe and Dick. If Joe said one thing, Dick contradicted him. Dick was ‘this is the way we’ve always done it, why change?’ and Joe was ‘if it’ll improve processes and help our employees, let’s try it.’ The employees here were like children caught in a bitter divorce.
After Joe left yesterday, the office air was heavy and tense. It might sound cliché, but you could’ve heard a pin drop on the carpet. Everything we discussed and started: The marketing plan, the social media plan, the crisis communication plan, the videos, the recruiting efforts, the new website, the new payroll system – is dead in the water.
My role now? I answer phones and enter bills for accounting. Yee-ha. For all I know I’m next on the chopping block. My boss treated me like a human being. I’m the only woman in the office and Dick and the accountant Ralph (not his real name) both treat me as if my place is to answer phones and not say a damn thing. With Joe no longer here, the office mentality has gone backwards from 2018 to 1968.
Oddly enough, something similar happened once before. I had a boss I liked and worked very well with and he was transferred after four months. I stayed there a year and a half. I know I won’t be staying here a year and a half.
I was excited to work here, and to work for Joe. I thought this would be a company I could grow with. I liked the people, but knowing who the key players are in Joe’s firing, I now have a very different view of them. Augie (not his real name), one of the five who was in on the firing, was terribly friendly and happy yesterday, even more so today. I wanted to punch him – don’t worry, I won’t. I’m not breaking a fingernail on his account.
My boss sent me an email this morning thanking me for the work I did. I really appreciated that, but it left me sad knowing I won’t see him in the office again.
I’ve already looked at other jobs online, I may or may not apply. I’m doing my damndest to be patient, because even though I’m still ticked off this happened, I can’t help feeling there was a reason it happened, I just don’t know what it is yet. I’ve given a lot of thought to upending my life (in a good way) since my mom died a year ago. I don’t how it’ll happen, but at this point, it’s not an if, it’s a when.