From Hired to Fired

Bob Goldman on

Unfortunately, for a keyless employee like you, the most common prescription for a humane firing is worse than an email -- "a meeting with a Human Resources representative."

Most people would rather jump off a bridge than jump into a meeting with HR. Yet, there you are, going "over benefits and any other conditions for your separation," while sitting across the desk from your executioner.

Heck, even Henry VIII provided a blindfold.

Your role in this discussion is to make sure "your employer provides all the benefits that are outlined in your employee manual."

You remember your employee manual, of course. It was given to you on the first day of work and has always stayed close at hand, shoved under the annoyingly short leg of your desk to keep it from rocking. (As they say in HR, "Don't come a knocking if this desk is rocking.")

Frankly, it is very unlikely that you will have any benefits. In fact, the company may actually expect you to provide benefits to them. For example, they could force you to return all the staplers, sticky notes and mouse pads you have pilfered over the years. Or they may let you keep your booty, but only in exchange for signing a nondisclosure agreement.

This is a legal document contractually obligating you to never bad-mouth the company. In your case, they may demand an additional promise -- you never admit to working for the company.


You can understand why this would be so important to management. Acknowledging they actually hired you could be devastating to their reputation.

If the experience of being fired leaves you seeking retaliation, Alison Doyle recommends that you stifle.

I disagree.

If you are fired by email, feel free to write a blistering email right back. Copy your co-workers and the entire management team. People will be so surprised at this burst of productivity that the termination will be rescinded. Make the email nasty enough and you may even get transferred to HR.


Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at To find out more about Bob Goldman, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate webpage at



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