T T-S Fired.jpg

I wasn’t originally aware of this term’s origin, but for some reason “getting fired” from a job has always come with a stigma.  “Fired” sounds like a violent and abrupt action.

It suggests that someone was so bad that an immediate decision had to be made.

Toss the bum out.

It turns out “getting fired” originates from the idea of firing a bullet from a gun—the process of quickly expelling something (a bullet or, in this case, you).  I learned this on Yahoo.

Of course getting fired suggests that you are being blamed for poor performance.  As does getting canned or being sacked.  As if your continuing presence on the job would suck the life out of the company, or you’re “not a fit anymore” disease would spread.

Being “laid off” is a more passive way to say it, though isn’t it?  Even though they mean different things, these terms are used interchangeably.  With “laid off” getting the lion’s share of the use.  I’d much rather be laid off than have to explain the circumstances around my being fired.

This “how do I explain this to family, friends, and neighbors?” questioning happens in the head of any fired person as they drive home with their box of personal effects in the passenger seat of the car.

But why should the stigma be there?

After all, college and professional football coaches get fired all the time for poor performance.  And they usually get picked up for the same or more money a few months later by another team.

Now, I understand professional sports teams are a different ecosystem, but no one seems to look down on a fired coach.  In fact many fans blame the players, the GM, or the ownership group (not playing to their potential, not supporting game day decisions, or not properly funding a competitive team).

So if you got fired, maybe it wasn’t your fault—maybe the board, your boss, or your employees are better to blame than you.

Of course that’s not realistic.

Here’s my point:  whether someone is eventually determined to be a bad fit or not, why the need to fire (quickly expel) them? Can‘t we “work something out” over time?

And can’t we see a change in personnel as a regular and natural flow of people to better places for their talent and skill to blossom vs. firing them and damaging their confidence unnecessarily?

Can’t we do better?