Tag Archives: professional

I’m sorry but, you’re fired

I just don’t think we have any room for you here, not enough room, not with these numbers. What are we supposed to tell the shareholders? Nobody wants to see you go, well, nobody except for Maggie, but her objections … well, I probably shouldn’t have said that. Let’s just say that … I can assure you that Maggie had nothing to do with … with this. And between you and me, Maggie’s not going to make the next round of cuts. So don’t think of this as Maggie over you, I mean, nobody’s winning here. Sure, it might be hard to walk out of this office and not notice Maggie sitting there pretending not to smirk, but just think …


You know what? Forget I said anything about Maggie. And please don’t tell her what I just told you. Because if she confronts me … look, I’m going to be real with you here. I’m thinking that we’re going to fire Maggie. But I shouldn’t have told you that. I see now how that was a mistake. But I can’t take it back, and I’m realizing now how you don’t have anything to lose, because we’re already letting you go, and so I’m sure getting in Maggie’s face and telling her what I just accidentally told you, I’d bet that would bring some measure of satisfaction. I can see her just sitting there, not looking up at you, but smirking, smiling as you pack up everything from your desk into those boxes.

I don’t know why they make us give you these boxes. I mean, do you really have many personal belongings here? At work? Sure, I guess I’ve got these photos, although, I’m not really attached to any of them. If I were in your position, I’d gladly leave everything here, “You get rid of them,” I’d tell whoever shoved a box in my face, telling me, I have to be out of here by the end of the day. Of course, if I were in your position, I wouldn’t be in my position right now, and so I guess they wouldn’t be my picture frames. Would they be yours? No, that doesn’t make any sense.

What I’m trying to say is, jeez, I really shouldn’t have brought up Maggie. Look, I’ll be straight with you here, OK, if you tell Maggie what I just told you, I’m going to have to deny it. All right, Maggie’s going to come storming in here, talk about lack of professionalism, because again, I really shouldn’t have said anything. Do you know that you’re one of my first firings? Not the first. But definitely the second. The first one was Charles a while back, but he probably knew it was coming. And in his case, I think I said too little. I’m not sure I got across the whole let go aspect of the termination. Is he still coming in? Regardless, that definitely went a lot smoother than this is going right now.

Basically, if you tell Maggie, I’ll deny it. And it won’t end there, OK, because I can’t deny it and then fire her next week. She’ll be like, “I knew it!” And I can’t take that, not from Maggie, jeez. And so I’ll have to keep her on, indefinitely, probably. And so do you want that? You want her to keep her job? Or do you want her to get fired?

Obviously we haven’t made any final decisions regarding Maggie, or any of the cuts really, I’m just thinking that, there’s no way she makes it past next week. Which, yeah, it’s just unfortunate, you know, the whole company is just resizing or rescaling, or restructuring, what do you call it? There’s a lot of rebranding. Like this is new for me, letting people go, that’s like a rebranding. Man, I hope this gets easier. For me, I mean, you seem to be taking it all in stride.

And who knows? I mean, it was a bad quarter, yeah, and it sucks that we kind of have to go quarter to quarter here, but what if the next quarter is good? What if it’s really good? We’re probably going to be looking at some un-restructuring, which, I think you’d have to talk to HR again, I don’t know if they’d make you go through the whole interview process. Did you interview with me? When you first started? I mean, so yeah, you probably wouldn’t get me again, not unless they re-rebrand me back to hiring. Right now it’s strictly firing.

Not firing, you know, let go. Man, thanks for being so cool about this. Like especially in regards to Maggie. I seriously can’t stress enough how much I shouldn’t have brought her into this, OK. And like I said, even though I’m pretty sure we’re going to let her go, she’s definitely staying if she confronts me with any of this. Hell, I’ll suggest she gets promoted. So yeah, just keep your chin up, all right. Do you need a box? Because I have all of these boxes if you need to … like if you want to carry anything out. Yeah, I don’t really get the boxes.

But just, you see her smiling, just don’t even smile back OK. Just have like an inside smile, the smile of satisfaction that you get from me telling you … I mean, I’m not telling you … but I’m telling you telling you, Maggie’s out. But only if you don’t even look her way. Because any sort of nonverbal communication, like even a knowing smirk, OK, and she stays. Cool? All right. Sorry to see you go. Best of luck out there. You’ll be fine.

Hey, we should grab drinks sometime, now that I’m not your boss anymore. Ha. All right. Can you send in Rich on your way back to the desk? You know what? I should probably get him myself. Don’t worry about Rich. All right. Great. Thanks.

How do I know that I know what I’m doing?

I always think about people with really obscure talents, like in the Olympics, all of these sports that I’ve never heard of. How do you get to be so good at something that most of the world doesn’t even know exists? Take curling for example, right, it’s really popular in Canada, and so they’ve got really good curlers. The US has a team, but are American curlers really any good?


What I mean is, we’ve got a huge country, much bigger than Canada. Shouldn’t we have a bigger talent pool to draw from? Statistically, yeah, but curling isn’t super popular here, and so we’re kind of stuck with the people that happen to be involved in the top level of American curling.

I’m a big believer in practice, that if you keep at something, over and over again, eventually you’ll get better, and then finally you’ll be able to master whatever it is you’ve spent so much time practicing. At least, I hope I’m a big believer, because I keep telling that to myself as I sit here at my computer every day and write out blog posts and short stories. Don’t worry, I think in my head, so what if everything you’re writing out is garbage? You’ll get better eventually. And yeah, it keeps me going for a while, the idea that someday I’ll look back at everything I’m doing today, I’ll barely recognize my work in these crude, early stages of my writing career.

But whereas I don’t think that anything can happen without practice, I also kind of believe that there’s got to be something else, a natural talent within. You look at certain sports or professions, even at the professional level, there are always a few examples of an even higher level of ability. I’m talking about LeBron James and Wayne Gretzky, William Shakespeare and Mozart, whoever is truly great at curling and whoever else is similarly amazing at luge or skeleton.

You look at examples of a prodigy, someone who, at their peak, is just in total command of their chosen activity. Surely they wouldn’t have gotten to where they were without a lifetime of practice and dedication. But there’s something else, a natural predisposition to excel. And you think about it, it’s total luck.

Think about Wayne Gretzky, look at hockey. How crazy is it that somewhere along humanity’s history, a bunch of people started strapping metal blades to their feet in order to push a hard rubber disk on ice with long sticks? OK, that blows my mind that hockey, or golf, or any of these complex sports developed the way they did into international pastimes.

Right, and then you have Wayne Gretzky, he’s arguably the best player in the history of the sport, he happens not only to have this natural ability to thrive when given the opportunity to practice and play, but he’s also bestowed the good fortune of growing up around hockey, having parents that were able to make sure he had hockey equipment, access to coaching and ice facilities.

Wayne Gretzky could have been born in Africa or somewhere else where hockey isn’t played and he would never been exposed to the one thing that has made his life so remarkable. What if everybody has a similar natural talent? It’s not inconceivable. In some alternate timeline, there might be a sport where humans attach wheels to their heads and roll around upside down while trying to slide giant cubes into various holes in the ground using only their elbows.

That’s obviously a crazy scenario, but in the unlikely event that such a sport were to ever take off, how would I know that that wouldn’t be my unique talent? And that’s just too bad, I’m born in this society where headslide, or whatever you want to call it doesn’t exist, and so unable to find an outlet to use my insane headsliding talents, I kind of drift aimlessly through life, waiting tables at night, hoping that if I sit here every day and type words out on my computer, I might someday have a career as a professional writer.

I’m kind of thinking myself in circles here, the ideas that I’m trying to express are getting tangled up into fantasies of being a professional athlete, of being a professional anything, really. It’s important to stay grounded in the present. I’ve already spent a pretty good chunk of time committed to writing every day, really hoping that I’ll get good at what I’m doing, that my skills might lead me somewhere where this will have all been worth it. But it’s hard not to put aside those lingering questions. Is this really what I should be doing? Is there some other path or activity that, if I set myself out to master, might I not have a better shot at being the best?

Maybe bowling. I’ve never really given myself a fair shot at becoming a professional bowler. Or hang-gliding. I could be the best potential hang-glider in all of history. Or bull-running. Or mountain climbing. There’s no way I’ll ever figure it all out.

Workout pro

When I started working out last month, I expected to get some results, eventually. I mean, this is all so new to me. Just basic techniques like stretching, how to correctly handle a small dumbbell, these were all foreign concepts to me. Push-ups. I started doing push-ups and I could barely get to ten. And I’m sure my form was way off, my back arched, by the sixth or seventh, I couldn’t really tell if I was going all the way down and up.


But that was just a month ago, and it’s like now I’m already a completely different person. I can’t even begin to think of to what I can attribute my rapid success. It’s like, week one, I was terrible, I was sore, I couldn’t do anything. And then immediately into week two, I somehow transformed into this workout pro. I don’t know how to explain it.

Like the push-ups. Remember how I said I could barely do ten? Now I have yet to find my upward limit. The other day at the gym, I was almost getting frustrated. What turned into a pre-workout warm-up wound up consuming the entirety my afternoon. I said to myself, you know what? I’m just going to do as many push-ups as I can.

I lost count. It was somewhere around four hundred when my mind couldn’t keep up with the monotony anymore. And by the time I looked up at the clock, not only had I gotten lost in my physical routine, but I’d completely lost track of time. I was only supposed to be there for an hour, but the gym guy had to tap me on my back, he was like, “Hey bro, we’re closing.”

“Closing?” I couldn’t believe it, “You mean I’ve been doing push-ups here for six hours straight?” Shit, I thought, that means I definitely must have missed work. What was I going to tell my boss, that after only six days of starting a New Years workout resolution, I’ve somehow made enough progress to where I’m able to continuously do push-ups, one after the other, with no sign of ever needing to stop, even for a small break?

“And the craziest thing is, I never even felt tired!” I tried telling my boss, who, it’s not just that he was skeptical, it’s that he wasn’t interested in even entertaining my story. “It’s true,” I tried to catch his attention again as he turned away, “I’m telling you, watch, look, I’ll get down right now. One. Two. Three. Four.”

But he was just like, “Get off the floor Rob, you look like an idiot. I have a restaurant to run, I’m not going to sit here and watch you do push-ups. Just … if you miss one more shift, that’s it, we’re going to have to let you go.”

And right as he was saying that, I got this idea, like fine, I don’t need this stupid job anymore. I could work for the gym. I could be like a personal trainer. So I said, “How about I let myself go,” and I threw down my apron and stormed out. And I went straight to the gym.

“Hire me,” I told the guy at the front desk, “I want to work here at the gym.” And the guy said, “Well, I guess we could use someone to make sure all the weights go back on the racks after people are done using them.”

I said, “No, I don’t think you get it. I want to be a trainer. I can do like an unlimited amount of push-ups.”

And he said, “Well, that’s great, but you know, you have to get certified to be a trainer, and even then, you’ve got to build up a clientele, so if you bring say, ten or eleven people here, get them a gym membership, I mean, we could give them a preferential rate, then maybe we could talk about giving you a cut.”

“Wait a second,” I told him, “Client base? Do you want to see me do push-ups? Seriously, ask the guy who closed the other night. He had to kick me out. I was doing push-ups for like six hours straight.”

“Look, that’s terrific, really, but this is a business, so unless you can somehow make a successful business model out of those push-ups … well, like I said, you’re more than welcome to start part-time racking weights.”

And that sucked, because it was only like seven an hour, and I had a lot of bills to pay. My old boss wasn’t that forgiving either, he let me back, but I had to start over as busboy, which meant a lot of hours for a lot less pay. In fact I was spending so much time at the restaurant that I didn’t have any time to work out, I barely had any money to pay for my gym membership.

By the time I found an hour to sneak away, it was like months later, all of that muscle I’d built up, well, if you don’t use it, you lose it, right? And so I was back to square one, I couldn’t even finish ten push-ups. And of course, guess who walked by right as I was struggling around number seven. It was the gym owner.

“Keep pushing there buddy, you’re doing great.” Why couldn’t he have walked by when I was at the top of my game, huh? Because I don’t think he believed me, if only he could have seen, I was just cranking out push-ups, I could have powered a small city just on upper body strength.

“Keep pushing!” he wasn’t even talking to me anymore, he was just walking around the gym, doling out generic motivation to everyone in the room, “You’re doing a great job!”