You’re Fired!

A friend related this story about one of his first jobs as a radio disc jockey: “The program director caught up with me after my show and said, ‘Boy, your last show was really good.’”

It took a moment for meaning to emerge from message and to sink in. Last show. Uh-huh.

Ever been, how shall we say this, “Let go”? “Released”? Fired, that is.

In nearly half a century of work, I have. Twice, to be exact. Fired as a custodian at a private school for boys. And fired as a roofer.

The dismissal reasons are unimportant for present purposes. Though no less disappointing, not to mention demoralizing. Scarred for life!

And now it’s happened again! Shocking, but true.

A highly placed individual whose title extends to two lines on a CinemaScope-sized business card wrote to say he was dissolving an advisory board of which I am a member.

It took a little more than one and a half single-spaced pages to accomplish this. And nowhere in the text was the message spelled out as plainly as was done in the present Blog’s headline.

In fact, the letter begins: “The purpose of this letter is to provide you with an update regarding the status of our Advisory Board and our future directions.”

Instead of a direct approach – which would have been to say the advisory board no longer exists – there was considerable dancing around the subject, using the delicate language we’ve all come to expect, if not use, and plenty of flattery.

Membership on the advisory board was voluntary and board members are recruited. It was they who wanted us and we consented to grant them the favor. Not the other way around. They weren’t doing the advisors any favors by, for instance, filling otherwise empty, idle, meaningless hours with their spiritually uplifting assignments.

But this is not a woe-is-me essay. The entire board was dismissed, not just one guy.

Instead, today it takes three paragraphs to get to the point. And then, to do so indirectly. The letter reads: “Though the Advisory Board will cease to exist . . . “

At the school and the roofing firm, many, many years ago, it was considerably cleaner. And briefer.

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