Top five things *not* to do when fired

I’ve quit several jobs in my life, I’ve been re-orged into stupid positions I didn’t like, but I’ve never been outright fired. On the other hand, my friend C. had 25 jobs in less than ten years and was fired from many of them. He wouldn’t answer his phone, so I imagined a conversation with him on bad advice to give the newly fired and here’s what we came up with. The funny ones are mine. The unfunny ones are his.

5.On your last day, send the following hiaku out to every large email list inside your company : “worker bees can leave even drones can fly away, the queen is their slave”. You will get many references for future jobs this way. (If you like this, see Fight Club). Other quotes from Fight club people will like to hear you say for no reason include “These are not my khakis” and “”Do you want me to deprioritize my current reports until you advise me of a status upgrade?” Inject them randomly into conversations, repeating them until you get a response, especially if talking to HR.

4. Paste your resume on your former bosses forehead. Walk right in, even if he is in a meeting, with a brush and a bucket of glue. Get a big stroke of glue across his forehead (or on the back of his head if he starts to run away) and then slap the resume on. You should be able to get one on there before s/he realizes what’s going on. If he resists, tell him “but you said you’d help me find a new job”. If he escapes, paste resumes to all of his items you can find. His briefcase, desk, chair, computer monitor, or his boat, spouse, dog, cat, or offspring. This is an excellent way to demonstrate both your initiative and your out of the box thinking.

3. Fire your manager. Nothing says you can’t fire your manager right back. When he says “You’re fired.” “You say No, you’re fired.” “No look we’re letting you go.” You say “No look here bossman, I’m letting you go”. Automatically negating what people say is not only entirely therapeutic, it’s a marketable skill used by many managers, some of whom you may have worked for.

2. Make a top 20 list of people at work you know are stupider than you and send it to them, including co-workers, superiors, executives. Make sure it’s in stack ranked order, with the review scores you think they deserve next to their names. And give each a nickname like “Stinky”, “Schmucko”, “Brickface” or “Smellster”. Print out 100 copies and post them on the walls in the hallway, bathroom stalls, and print another 100 for putting on the windshield’s of all the cars in the parking lot.

1. Start a mortgage bank. I’ve heard mortgage banking is the way of the future, especially this new thing called CDOs. Now that you are unemployed you are free to take all of your saving and start dishing out loans to people who have no savings of their own. It will work. I promise. A good friend of mine named Mr. Ponzi says so.

Bonus: Make sure to send out a final status report. The shortest one you will ever write in your life. One short sentence: I have no status!


Ok. If you’re here and haven’t smiled yet, that means you think this list sucks, I’m an asshole, and not funny. All might be true.

If so, I I invite you to fire me from making top 5 lists. It’s the least I can do for you. Go ahead, give me your worst in the comments. But be warned, I may fire you from leaving comments. Then you can fire me from commenting on your comments. And the fun will continue! (Seriously, I hope you’re doing ok).

8 Responses to “Top five things *not* to do when fired”

  1. Jimbo

    You’re fired!

    Not really – I laughed :)

  2. Mike

    Nice top 5 – sounds like you’re having too much fun and needed a brain break from the writing. ;-)

    How about a list of the top 5 things *not* to do when laying off employees? Some managers here in Calgary obviously need some refresher these days. Like, the principal at a small start-up development shop who last week laid some people off, then had the town hall meeting at which the names of the laid off were not mentioned, but he announced that “you’ll see some new faces soon” because “we’re heading in a new direction”. Gak.

  3. Scott

    Mike: The Microsoft layoff is a decent example of how not to do it. If i were to make a list about how to make a 1500 person layoff do as much damage as possible, they’d have hit many of them.

  4. Kav

    A few more gems for your list Scott:

    6. Dig through your mail archives and forward any mail that might amuse people.
    This includes any comments coworkers have written about each other. Mail containing gossip, particularly about interoffice romance is always a crowd pleaser. Mail suggesting subverting management, greenshifting, and other day to day horrors might help clear out a few more offices. You can tell everyone these people left in protest over your being let go.

    7. Remove your legacy.
    Remember those notes you put on the wiki? Those articles you published to the document management system? Wipe them out. In the modern world of licensed content and rights management eternal access to your previous thoughts should by no means be assumed by your former employer. Remember to notify any content management systems and backup systems to wipe all copies. WOrking as a highly paid consultant for your former employer can be quite lucrative.

    8. Fumble the hand off.
    Before you were let go you were responsible for any number of things. Make sure no one really knows the state of them. Don’t hesitate to use misinformation. If a form is due in two weeks be sure everyone knows that it doesn’t need to be filed for three months. Tell everyone the wrong contacts for your former projects and be sure to forget a few. This really helps when applying for new jobs as you can easily show that everything fell apart after you left.


  5. Ryan Fox

    My favourite thing to do (that I’ve never done, but I heard about it from a comedian) is to bring a pocket full of glitter to work when you think you’re going to be fired. Then, when your manager tells you you’re fired, you throw the glitter in his face. As we all know, glitter is next to impossible to get off, and the manager has to walk around for the rest of the day covered in glitter.

  6. Sarah B. Nelson

    I am giggling. I particularly like the stack ranked list of people stupider then you complete with nicknames. Awesome.

    Also, 1 good way to fire people. “Those of you that still have a job, please step forward. Not so fast, Snodgrass.”

    Seconded on the Onion article!

  7. A

    Scott, could you expand on what you think Microsoft did wrong with respect to the layoffs?


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