Looking Fired

Her boss was reading a report and peered over her cheaters at Lu with a look of surprise and apprehension. “What are you doing here!” her boss nearly shouted. Lu was confused. This wasn’t part of her script. Sputtering she replied, “I stopped in to let you know that I’ll be back to work on Monday.” Lu had begun to frown. In the past she would have started to apologize even if she didn’t know what she had done wrong but not today. The frown deepened as she noticed a box on the floor filled with familiar items including her photo of Mister and her cat pencil holder. She still had her hands in her coat pocket and there at her finger tips was her new phone. With a simple thumb print and a double tap her phone was now in recording mode. She removed her hand and the phone from her pocket. She shifted her attention to her boss. With a piercing look, Lu stared her down. Her boss was now at a loss. She had never dealt with this new angry Lu. She stood up and leaned forward bracing herself on the desk. Lu recognized the stance as the “power pose” from that online seminar on managing the manager. She consciously struck her own pose, open arms with relaxed shoulders and a slight sideways tilt of the head. She was signaling that she was not afraid, she would not be cowed. “Ms. Dupin, I regret to inform you that you have been terminated effective immediately.” Lu nodded to herself as she looked inward and considered her next move. With a steady voice she asked on what grounds she was being let go. Her boss paused. Lu thought that it was odd that she didn’t have a well-rehearsed reply. Her boss started and stopped in the way a child does when conjuring a lie. She was being let go for too many absences, for failing to call in, for missing the project due date on a critical contract. The boss’ voice trailed off. Lu stared hard at her boss before she spoke. “I called you Monday morning to call off. That was my first missed day of work since starting this job.” Lu paused but maintained eye contact. “I worked Tuesday and called you that night to explain my situation. I distinctly remember you telling me to take the rest of the week off. You assured me that others would handle my work load.” The boss was starting to look uncomfortable. Lu continued, “I have accrued over 5 weeks of vacation time. Counting today, I have taken 4 days in the last 6 years.” Lu paused again, just like the prosecutor on Law & Order, “How does one sick day and 3 vacation days translate to too many absences?” Without allowing a rely she continued, “How many other people in this company are required to call in everyday during a vacation to remind you that they are not coming in? And how is it that you are firing me over work you assured me would be handled by others in the office?” Lu waited for a response. There wasn’t one immediately.

She blinked the way Mister did when he was being patient and condescending at the same time. She continued to look at her boss in a way that demanded an answer. Her boss lost the staring contest, probably because she wasn’t a cat owner but remained mute. Lu was angry. That fire that had been burning in her stomach flared. She took a deep breath before asking, “Can you get someone to carry my things to my car? I’ve got a very sore back and my hands hurt.” The boss asked her to have a seat and she’d call security to have them escort her out and transport her stuff. The boss maintained an uneasy silence. While Lu waited she looked at the photo of Mister sitting atop her things. It was a picture she had taken last year on a sunny day. Mister had found a sunbeam and positioned himself sphinx-like, eyes half closed. She had taken the photo, in fact several of them while Mister had posed unflinching as she tried to get the best angle. Her reverie was interrupted with a knock on the glass door. It was Angelo who arrived to carry her things. When he realized what was happening the happy fled from his eyes. He simply took the box and headed down to the lobby. Lu stood and looked at her former boss. She was half expecting some words of luck or encouragement but none came. She headed to the door but was brought up short when the boss asked, “By the way, how’s your cat doing?” Lu spun like a tiger that had its tail yanked hard. “He’s dead! I can’t carry the box because I have blisters on my hands from digging a grave in the frozen ground,…” She spat the words. There was a pause at the end of her sentence. Calling people names was something she did in private, in her car or in her head. Today she reconsidered. “…bitch!” She stormed out. There was only silence as she swept past her former coworkers. As she reached the elevator she could hear the slowly rising hum of the comments. She was feeling powerful and now she had more work to do.

Lu is starting to get mad. Yes, she is probably going to exact some sort of revenge but as you well know, revenge is a dish best served cold…

20 thoughts on “Looking Fired

  1. I worked at Subway for a while (best fast food place to work), and I was fired by my manager. She had a hard time keeping up the books and was pregnant and cranky. She was fired, as firing me had a bad consequence because I did so much. Don’t think I’m a sweetheart. I am very hyper. I’ve learned in my past not to outdo my boss. I was rehired by the district manager a few days later. I met my fired manager a few months later, and we had a nice conversation. She had a beautiful baby and seemed happy.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Getting fired is hard in any situation. Sometimes you discover after the fact that you were not the only one let go after a restructuring or whatever. I would be able to read your writing more easily if there were shorter paragraphs. An observation.


    1. Cataclysmic events either move us forward or make us retreat. Lu has always retreated. She is realizing that her previous strategy is not working. And when smart people realize that something doesn’t work they make changes!


  3. great story

    very well written

    yup, you could write a book easily

    even just changing jobs is tough

    never got fired – yet



    1. Thanks for the vote of confidence! It was a dream a long time ago but I’m too much a realist with a touch of perfectionism to have followed that dream. Now that I’m retired (until October then I’ll be semi-retired) I’m dusting off some of those dreams!


    1. I’ve noticed that some women in positions of power are worse than most of the men – seems they have to “prove” they are tough and that comes across as plain mean. You catch more flies with honey than vinegar…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The very culture of “at-will employment” never goes the way the firing officer thinks it will. I was let go, for dubious cause, in 2009. Without any input from me, the State swooped in and shut the entire agency down, within three months of my dismissal.


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