John Andrist: Another “F Word” We Probably Shouldn’t Use


“You’re fired!!”

Boy, talk about action verbs. No wonder it is becoming more and more difficult to terminate an employment relationship.

In the years when I was running my own small business not once did I use that F (“fire”) word. Mind you, I made a few hiring mistakes in my day that had to be rectified.

But my, how I agonized when I felt it was necessary. It was the hardest thing I ever had to do. I couldn’t do it without agonizing for days on end, and never could I have uttered the words, “you’re fired.”

I have this theory that the word fire, and its connotations, keeps a lot of under achieving people on the payroll.

News people love to use the term. I don’t think news writers know how to spell terminate, nor do broadcast journalists know how to pronounce it.

Only a Donald Trump can like to say, “You’re fired”.

Truthfully, terminating an employee is not only disagreeable, but is often fraught with legal peril.

I’m at a loss why life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for some judges also means the right to keep a job.

Replacing an employee is also expensive. Think training and orientation. No employee performs at a high capacity when they aren’t sure where the bathrooms are located.

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]I’m at a loss why life, liberty and pursuit of happiness for some judges also means the right to keep a job.[/mks_pullquote]

Most of the time a terminated employment relationship is for the good of both parties.

Can anyone feel good when they are locked into a sub-par performance position, which sometimes is beyond their control?

Fargo has had a devil of a time cutting loose an under performing policeman. There is no evidence of any kind of discriminatory pattern.

Hearings and appeals are challenging and costly. And the learning curve for a new cop is extraordinarily high.

The vice-chancellor of our university system has gone to court to keep her job, claiming her boss created a hostile work environment.

If it is really so hostile, why does she want to stay? Because she loves being miserable? Our rules and mores only make this difficult task more difficult.

When and why does an employee have a “right” to a job where he/she is not wanted? Methinks if we could get rid of that hostile sounding “fired” term, life would be better for both the hired and fired folks.

Culture change

The last couple of weeks we’ve learned a few nasty things about our culture.

One of them is our propensity to be accessories to evil by trying to protect friends who have strayed.

Remember how the whole state of Massachusetts succumbed to that terrible drunken/drowning incident involving the late Ted Kennedy. The consequences of driving through a stop sign were bigger than those he faced.

A generation later when President Clinton entertained Monica Lewinsky in a White House chamber, it was she who was primarily villified.

Alabama is doing its best to protect Ray Moore from consequences. And how many high ranking Catholic priests were involved in trying to protect fellow priests from criminal charges involving sexual exploitation of boys?

NBC said it acted quickly to fire Matt Lauer. But later leaks indicate they first put some effort into the protection business.

If Al Franken, John Conyers, and Garrison Keilor survive they will owe a whole lot more to friendly protectors than the lame apologies they fashioned.

Yes, we have learned a lot about how far we have come up short of genuine decency in our male culture in this country.

But we need also to come to grips with our “sweep it under the rug” culture. Too often we tend to be willing accessories.

Protecting rights?

There was a large protest that blocked I-94 for a several hours a few months ago.

One man who was charged went on trial this week, claiming he had a right and a duty to participate in behalf of a black man shot by a police officer.

I guess the guy in a stopped ambulance and the woman in labor who had to wait don’t have any rights?