Skip to main content

Too Many Employees Can Relate To How Comey Was Fired

Everyone is talking about the Comey firing this morning.

Was he really fired while he was giving a speech? Did news of his firing really flash across a screen behind him while he was speaking, and he thought it was a prank? Ouch. Why wasn't he fired in person? Why does it suddenly feel like a flashback to June 1994 again?**

In all seriousness, the manner in which FBI Director James Comey was fired yesterday could be sending U.S. employees into flashback mode, remembering the time they were fired by management in the most impersonal way possible. Maybe they were fired by voice mail. Maybe they were fired by email, a social media post, or text. Maybe they came to work one morning to find the door locked and their badge no longer worked. Maybe their box of personal belongings was sitting on the front desk.

I'm leaving politics out of this post (PS: resist) to focus solely on the way Comey's dismal dismissal was managed. How he was let go from his job represents the very worst of modern-day, MBA management. No warning. No privacy (Comey was fired in front of colleagues). No personal touch. No respect for the employee's years of service, or level of experience. Don't let the door hit you on the way out, buddy. Buh-bye.

Status: You're Fired
I don't want to sound like I'm dissing everyone in the MBA management class; there are many great CEOs and managers out there who will still dismiss employees personally, face to face, when this dreaded step must happen. They dig deep to find the courage necessary to face one of the hardest parts of their job instead of hiding behind hedges, email, phone calls, voice mail messages, social media posts, or third-party consultants who don't look anything like George Clooney.

Simply know that you are not alone if reading about Comey's firing takes you right back to that moment in your career when you listened to that voice mail, received that email, read that text, glanced at that social media feed, discovered that your ID badge was no longer working, found your box of personal belongings sitting in the reception area, or felt the cautious gaze of a security guard before being escorted out of the building like some sort of criminal.

We're watching highly-impersonal, MBA-style business management tactics applied to top government positions, and it isn't pretty. Maybe this story will re-open a much-needed discussion regarding the impersonal nature of employee firings in the 21st Century, or maybe not. All I know is that I'm having some flashbacks to the job losses of 2009 this morning.

** The day of the OJ freeway chase was my first day of an internship at a Seattle TV station, where I answered the newsroom phone. It was ringing off the hook. Every caller was upset...about how this live car chase was interrupting "Wheel of Fortune." They demanded -- demanded! -- to know when tonight's episode of "Wheel of Fortune" would be re-aired. That was the moment I decided a career in TV news wasn't for me. Internships can be very useful in also determining what we don't want to do for a living!


Popular posts from this blog

Seven tips for dealing with a jealous coworker

Look at you, doing so well at work! We're so happy for you. Well, most of us are happy for you and refuse to spend the entire work day talking behind your back. Let's talk about how to handle our jealous co-workers!Like every other professional, you've no doubt experienced your share of failures and successes. Lately, however, things seem to be going your way at work. And how! Perhaps you've managed to ace an important project this quarter, been instrumental in landing a huge client, earned some well-deserved rewards for this and that, or -- egads! -- been given a slight promotion or additional work responsibilities (e.g., the work responsibilities you actually want).You're quietly chuffed, but somehow your co-workers seem none too pleased with this rapid turn of events. Oh no, what should you do now?It's a workplace tale older than the disjointed last season of Mad Men. The playing field in the department was even, cozy and overall very friendly -- until so-an…

Employees Blame Technology For Slowing Them Down At Work

Do you feel like you're always working, but never getting very much done? If so, you're not alone. Too much technology, and too much red tape, keep slowing us down at work. But technology, and more of it, is supposed to make our lives easier! Too much technology, however, does not compute for employees. A new SAP/Knowledge@Wharton survey of almost 700 corporate employees finds a full 60% of respondents blame technology "for inhibiting their ability to meet strategic goals." Gee, anyone who has ever used the self-checkout line at the grocery store can tell you that. However, 40% surveyed said that looking for ways to simplify the technology has been "a low priority" for their company. Too much paperwork is an on-going problem for the workplace, too. A new ServiceNow survey of nearly 1,000 managers finds that 90% are doing too much administrative work, no matter the size of the company. This paperwork includes filling out forms, writing status updates, …

Is Your Co-worker Always Late For Work?

You've started the workday, but where is your co-worker? Oh, she's running late again, just like yesterday. And the day before. And the day before that. Let's get an early start on solving her tardiness problem, shall we? Working with someone who is consistently late is one of the most annoying aspects of office life, and also one of the most common, unfortunately. It's a universal theme of the workplace that everyone will get to work on time (give or take a few minutes...) except for the employee who is egregiously late nearly every day. And the excuses can get pretty amazing. Employees became more punctual as the Great Recession lingered, at least according to surveys. Everyone, that is, except for your able-bodied but habitually-tardy co-worker. It's bad enough dealing with tardiness when you're a manager, but it can be even more frustrating when you're a rank-and-file peer without any magical "shape up or ship out" managerial powers. So you…