I need to vent.

I probably shouldn’t, but what the hell.  Only about three people read this blog anyway.  🙂

[You may wish to read the background information below, otherwise you might get lost.]

Yesterday was a first for me.  I fired an employee.  Unfortunately, working for the federal government, actual firing is an extremely long and tedious process.  But, I pulled the person from her current job and moved her to sit next to my boss and me.  The sad thing is, many or our folks are so unprofessional, they probably won’t even look at this as a negative.

I just don’t get some people’s behavior.  How can you write you a snotty email to your supervisor, send it to the supervisor’s bosses (our division head and me) and not expect consequences?  When the boss (who’s nicknamed “Kung fu panda” because he’s so adorable!) read her email he was furious.  He called her (she works about 10 miles from where we work — yes, shitty working conditions!) and yelled at her.  He told her she had to stop her passive aggressive behavior towards her supervisor, that he was ready to fire the lot of the group, that she’d actually disobeyed him.  If you’d been redressed by your superior in that manner (especially one who is normally super easy-going), wouldn’t you think you need to shape up?  Yet, the very next day she had the audacity to tell her co-workers she had information her supervisor wanted but wasn’t going to give it to her.

That was the last straw!  I called her over to headquarters, told her she was off the team, and the reason was her unprofessional behavior and insubordination.  She didn’t see where she’d been insubordinate.  I gave her a couple of examples (including the one mentioned above), to which she told me she’d never said that.  Here’s the thing: she said this in front of about a dozen people.  How in the hell can she think she can get away with the lies?

Fortunately, we have documented counseling on her, and statements in writing about all the shit she’s pulled.  We’re pursuing a couple of avenues for dealing with her, and I think we’re doing everything the right way.  It just can’t come soon enough.

[Some background to help you understand better:  It may not make a lot of sense unless you have a military background, but here goes.  I am a deputy division chief, middle management.  My boss is an Air Force colonel.  We report to a two-star general.  So while we’re not executives, we’re not lost in the weeds, either.  Because the building we work in isn’t big enough, most of our employees are in a facility about 10 miles away.  We try to make it over there regularly, but the boss is so busy (his calendar depresses me some days) and I’ve been working on projects that don’t allow me to get away.    Consequently, some of our employees have been running amok.  Some of it is the result of working for an extremely poor manager–whom we have fired from that position (and are trying to do so from his current one), and some of it is personality driven.  Ok, so hopefully this is enough background.]

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7 thoughts on “I need to vent.

  1. It must be hard to have to tell someone they’re fired, but in your case, Gail, the person you fired only got what she deserved.

    Anyway, your story reminded me of the short period when I worked part-time at a post-office before going off to college (since there were almost four months between when I graduated from high school and when college started, I thought it was a good idea to temp). Since even there firing someone is an extremely long and tedious process (so much so that firing someone is almost impossible), people don’t feel encouraged to be professional and it is really up to each worker to decide whether they will do their best or not. Luckily, most employees there are good people with a dignity left, even though excellence may not be the norm, employees usually managed to be passably efficient and well-behaved.

    • That’s the case here, too. It takes so long and so much documentation that the firing rate is extremely small, less than 1/2 of 1%.

      The post office, hm? You know, we have a joke in the US about postal workers.
      It’s where the term “going postal” came from.

      • A running joke in Italy is that the slowest animals in the world are not three-toed sloths but rather postal workers. In fact, I can remember being told to work slower by my colleagues when I worked at the post office, otherwise I would have put them in a bad light. 😉

  2. Sounds like she really deserved it! You’ve been pretty lucky, if you’ve gone this far in your career and this is the first time you’ve had to fire someone. Maybe any other possible troublemakers will take it as a lesson and get their act together after seeing there are consequences.

    • Well, I haven’t fired anyone because most of my career has been as a worker, not a manager.

      Yeah, I’m going to meet with the team tomorrow and discuss what I consider professionalism and I expect of them. I was kind of debating about it (because of some other things in the works and the boss wants to wait until then), but you’ve confirmed it for me.

  3. Pingback: 3 Disasters, 4 Plans | Stream of Conscience

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