One of my planned future bestsellers is a management survival guide (something in the vein of Michael Scott’s Somehow I Manage). I’ve been managing people for about a decade now, and it’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done, personally and professionally. It’s also one of the things that drives me batshit crazy. I take it home with me; it keeps me up at night; it has sometimes made me cry. One of the worst things decisions you have to make as a bau5 is to let someone go, which is a euphemism for FIRE THEIR ASS.
Much like a breakup, it can be emotionally difficult to terminate someone when there’s no clear-cut reason as to why it’s not working out (such as peeing in their company-provided chair, getting caught having sex in the office, and fistfights in the call center – all things I have encountered). However, when you reach the point when you know a person is not a good fit for the team, or is a detriment to your department, the decision is a little easier.
I recently decided to cut ties with someone I knew was not going to work out in my group. I had the luxury in this instance to make a clean break (i.e., no performance improvement plans, multiple verbal/written warnings, documented instances of an issue, etc.) because they were temp to start. It was relatively fuss-free and I had a clear mind and heart when I went home that evening… until the hate mail hit my inbox.
I’ve been on the receiving end of many hate-filled, spittle-flecked diatribes in my career, but this one was definitely in the Top 3. It was a multi-paragraph manifesto ranting about how much both I and my (ahem Fortune 500) company sucked, how we apparently lock people in poorly-ventilated conference rooms for hours at a time and don’t allow them to use the bathroom, blah blah etc. etc. This person also managed to throw in a fascinating simile involving my management style and how foie gras is made. (They lost a few points when they spelled “fowl” incorrectly. #doublefoul)
However, my very favorite part was when they called me…
A RELENTLESS MONOLOGUER.
That is, without a doubt, the coolest thing I’ve ever been called by someone who has been escorted off the premises. (It certainly contains the fewest amount of expletives.) A few of my fellow managers, after having heard this tale, have started to refer to me as “The Relentless Monologuer”, and I’ve heard the word “relentless” more times in the past month than in the past decade (like, relentlessly). I kind of love it! I’m owning it. It’s vaguely superhero-esque.
I’m not taking this personally. I know I am not a perfect manager – far from it. I also know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea – again, far from it. Every day, I continue to learn and grow from my experiences. But, all joking aside, this person DID teach me something (Note: I already knew how foie gras is made): I need to apparently involve a battery of psychological tests in my interviewing process.
This blog is my relentless monologue. And you know what? I’m okay with that.