If you have watched WWE RAW or Smackdown over the last decade, you probably know what this blog is about. For those who don’t know, Vincent McMahon has been working in the world of professional wrestling a majority of his life. He took over the WWE company from his father in the 1980s and have held various roles such as a commentator, professional wrestler, filmmaker, the majority owner, chairman and CEO of WWE. One thing he is known for is firing wrestlers on the spot during live wrestling events. Some fans in the wrestling world saw his snap judgments as ridiculous and outrageous. I agreed with most of his firing except the time he fired Jim Ross. Jim Ross was the backbone of the commentary with his country adlibs. They brought Jim Ross back along with other wrestlers over the years.
I wanted to touch on the subject because I too have been fired. I took the job back in order to advance my career and I quickly realized after starting I may have made the wrong mistake. I remember sitting in my office one day realizing that the position was more than what was advertised but being true to who I am I was able to stick it out. As the months had passed I start to realize I was in a position to help others but to also find myself being drained both mentally and physically. When working with people you often get drained from hearing people’s problems, dealing with staff issues and also dealing with client issues. The roll called me to make hard decisions on approving and not approve of someone for rental assistance or utility assistance. The many stories of single parents struggling to catch up, stories of abuse, homelessness and even tragedies of death started to become personal. The system is definitely not made for the middle class because a person could be working making three figures and the next minute you’re making list less than $28,000 a year.
I couldn’t count the many days how very hard it was because people did not meet the qualifications of getting assistance.
My daily routine consisted of getting to the office early and leaving late into the evening well after eight p.m. I started realizing that my personal life was suffering and was stressed beyond belief. I worked on my stress levels by going to the gym consistently but the fact of the matter is that my stress level was at an all-time high. I realize that I started becoming angry I started bringing more work home than normal. One day I was having a meeting with the client and the mother of two struggled to pay her rent due to taking off for her child’s health issues. I tried everything but in the end, I couldn’t help the family because her salary did not meet the qualifications of the program. I knew deep down inside I could feel what the mother was experiencing and knowing how far she had come for help.
This year has been a year of changes and reflections. I haven’t been myself for about two years now and it’s an evolving path of getting back to the person who I was. In the end, I will never be the person who I was. I’ve never publicly addressed it but those close to me witnessed the shift that happened. On August 15, 2017, for the second time in my life, I heard these words “I’m sorry we are going to have to let you go.” When you hear those words the whole world slows down and everything becomes a blur. I remember vividly before a staff meeting that the President and Vice President of the Board were in the office as they normally would talk to the staff. Everyone on staff was getting ready for the 3:30 pm staff meeting which normally lasted an hour or so. I grabbed my normal bottle of water and walked into the boardroom. Before I entered the room the director asked if she could chat with me in my office for a few minutes. As I entered my office I saw down in my chair and as I looked up I saw the director, the President and Vice President of the Board coming into my office. I didn’t think anything of it because we have met in my office numerous times before. The director sat in the chair in front of my desk and everyone else stood. The conversation started positively about the work I had done and the improvements that have happened in my time there. Then came the dreaded Bad News Sandwich. Some of you may or may not know what the bad news sandwich or it could have been used on you before. I have been in the field of human services for some years and have given a few of these sandwiches out.
The bad news sandwich used to break bad news gently in the professional environment. I have used it in personal relationships but necessarily in my professional career. I was given this technique from one of my managers who helped me have a hard conversation with an employee who I had to let go. The bad news sandwich is exactly like a regular sandwich that you eat every day. It includes empathy (top bun), the bad news (the meat) and more empathy or a solution (bottom bun).
The part of the sandwich is the top bun or layer; in most situations, you are using empathy or positive speaking. This expresses that you feel and understand what the person has done and how the person may be feeling. This helps to show the person that you care about what they are going through. In my experience, this is a couple of words to get the person to get into a positive mindset.
Next comes the meat part which is the middle of your bad news sandwich. This is the toughest part to deliver but must be done for the person to understand that other options have been explored. The room becomes tense for a couple of seconds because the receiver is processing what was just told to them. This comes with facial expressions and feelings of disbelief. The most common are shock, denial, anger, and grief. Listening to what the employee says will tell you which of the reactions he/she are experiencing. Your response will be more effective if you know how he/she is taking the news.
The bottom bun is usually a solution to the bad news followed by more empathy. Most people will say a statement like “ I know this is hard to hear right now but I will give you some time” In most cases, this is the time topics of will happen like what is next: pay, benefits, unused vacation time, references, etc. In most cases, there is some sort of solution, even if it might cost the client more money at the time.
The most grueling thing to do is pack all your things in the office into a little white file box collecting all of your items. Having someone watch over you while you gather your things was one of the most humiliating things that I have experienced. Walking out the door with all your things don’t hit you immediately. All my emotions hit me when I started the car to head home. Experiencing anger, frustration, doubts, bitterness, and sadness came rushing like a freight train. I took me about a year and a half to come to the terms to forgive the director and company for what happened. This experience changes you for the good or the bad.
Here are a couple of things I took away from my experience.
Ten Lessons I’ve Learned From Getting Fired
- Never compare your abilities to someone else, in the end, God will always work things out.
- A job is not worth your sanity.
- Sometimes God will intervene and make you sit down.
- Your character will speak volumes even after you are gone.
- Being alone can lead to depression which can be devastating.
- Get up every morning even if you don’t feel like it; even put on the outfit that you would wear to work and leave the house.
- The best positions are not always at the top.
- A job is something that you do and not who you are. Don’t attach your worth to your work.
- Keep your head up; Keep glass-half-full mindset.
- Channel Your Energy by picking yourself up, dust yourself off, and move to decide to rise above the current circumstances.
Bonus *Lean on God and your friends to talk through the tough times *