The Bad Guy...
It was a bad weekend. I was forced to do something that has never felt comfortable to me-- I had to play the Bad Guy. I had to fire my assistant. I really should have done it a year ago, but I kept hoping that he would shape up. It became blatantly obvious last week that his heart wasn't in the job, and after a couple of major SNAFU's, it was time to bite the bullet and do what I had to do.
The night before the termination, I reflected back on all of my years of management. I tried to remember any time that I had to fire someone. My mind was a blank. I remembered all of the times that I sat in on a termination meeting, serving as the official witness; but never did I have to say the words "You're fired"~ translation: I am taking away your income and you will have to start over again. I have never been fired myself (knock on wood), but I can imagine being in that position and hearing those words. I would crumble.
It's funny that I've been in a management position for so long, and up until recently I never had anyone that directly reported to me. At CWT and ESC, I was an Operations Manager. I oversaw operations-- I didn't have the power to hire or fire. If I thought someone was doing a bad job, I could tell another Manager and they would handle it. My first couple of years at the Biscuit were the same. I didn't report to anyone and no one reported to me. I kind of liked that scenario. After catering sales took off, I needed an assistant and that's when the whole game changed. I hired a 20 year old-- I saw a bright future for him and took him under my wing. I hoped that he would flourish and I would be a great example to him. I wanted to be someone that he looked up to~~ a role model~~ someone that he would aspire to be someday. Instead, I ended up carrying him. He did help me, he did make it possible for me to take some time off here and there. But he never fully bit into the idea of being the caterer. He was less of an assistant, and more of a delivery person. But he was a friend.
So, I beat myself up and agonized over saying the two words that I dreaded. It happened Saturday morning at 5am. He came into work, I took him into the office. I told him that I had to let him go and needed him to sign off on the write-ups/ termination papers that I had drawn up. It couldn't have gone better in my wildest dreams. He signed the papers, hugged me and thanked me for the past year. He said that he was mad at himself for the stupidity that he had shown recently. And then he drove off on his scooter, wiping a tear from his eye. I went back to my desk and cried a little too.