No doubt, you, dear reader, have experienced the unpleasant situation of terminating an employee for one reason or another (poor performance, financial exigencies, etc.). But I would hope that we ophthalmologists perform this task in a more professional manner than that exemplified by The Captain of Industry.
He strode toward me, his eyes directed at my own.
“I’m sorry to tell you that I have to let you go,” he said. “Things just aren’t working out. Your performance is simply unsatisfactory.”
My reaction was immediate and it was negative. Myriad questions popped into my head in milliseconds:
“I have never been fired from any job in my life. What justifies this decision?”
“How is it appropriate to fire me when I have never received a heads-up that I wasn’t doing everything expected of me?”
“Why would I be fired in the airport?”
“Who the heck is this guy who’s firing me, anyway?”
Then the rational part of my brain took over. As I was seated in the airport, waiting to board a flight, I noticed that this man who was walking toward me-while he was speaking these upsetting words-wore an expensive fitted suit, sported an expensive haircut, and had one of those Bluetooth ear plugs on his ear and a smartphone in his hand.
This chap, who I quickly came to name “The Captain of Industry,” was not firing yours truly. What a relief!
What The Captain was doing was terminating one of his employees over the phone, as he paced back and forth at the gate while awaiting the same flight I would soon be boarding.
Caught in the line of sight
It had appeared he was making eye contact with me, but he was simply staring straight ahead. I just happened to be in his line of sight while he strode toward me and delivered the bad news to his employee.
Around the time this all became apparent, The Captain turned and strode away from me, continuing to let his terminated employee (whom I immediately came to think of as “The Minion”) know that he was no longer needed or wanted. No longer was The Captain looking at me while he continued delivering the bad news.
I’ve traveled a fair amount, and on this particular day I was waiting to board a United Airlines flight. So I was expecting the usual aggravations associated with travel: delays, flight cancellations, so-so snacks, being dragged off the plane and bloodied by police.
But I hadn’t anticipated that I might have someone looking me in the eye and pronouncing me fired.
Strangers witness to firing
I realize that Captains of Industry are busy people who have to jet around the country conducting business.
But my thought is that an employee being terminated deserves some level of respect. Without knowing whether this particular employee (“The Minion”) was a good employee or a total disappointment, I thought he or she deserved a face-to-face meeting and not a phone call from a boss in a far-away airport.
Certainly, total strangers shouldn’t be witnesses to their firing.
And what is with people wearing these stupid Bluetooth ear things and looking at you while walking around speaking loudly as they fire their employees?
No doubt, you, dear reader, have experienced the unpleasant situation of terminating an employee for one reason or another (poor performance, financial exigencies, etc.).
But I would hope that we ophthalmologists perform this task in a more professional manner than that exemplified by The Captain of Industry.