About 10 years ago, I was out for sushi with some friends when I noticed a young guy standing at the edge of the table, wobbling and appearing a little off. I looked back down at my plate and then BAM! The next thing I saw was blood on the table - he had swung and punched me square in the face. He took another swing at my buddy sitting next to me and then ran out of the place.
He was gone.
My reaction was a bit of a surprise. "That didn't hurt as much as I thought it would.” I never would have thought that years later I would have become a Golden Glove boxer. Now I spend most of my mornings trying not to get hit in the face. To be honest, I probably owe my whole amateur boxing career to that drunken kid in the sushi restaurant
So what does this have to do with losing my job? Well, let's just say it was a similar situation. I was sitting at my desk on a regular old Tuesday, and my VP sent a calendar invite for a meeting with him at 4pm. I was leaving for a wedding on Thursday (which is when I usually had my one-on-ones with him), so I figured he was being proactive and moved the meeting up.
When 4pm rolled around, our internal counsel came by and gave my VP a kind of head nod. My VP looked at me and said, "You ready?"
"I guess so?" At this point, I felt like something was going on.
We walked into the conference room. The first words out of my VP’s mouth are "Jon, today is going to be your last day with the company."
Whoa... Wow.... Okay.
I hadn’t been there long, and I’d just closed my first deal. I was totally shocked.
The internal counsel chimed in, "We are going to need your computer and key card now. If you have any personal belongings at your desk, you can grab them, and I will meet you at the elevator."
I wanted to shout, “Wait, what?!” But instead I said, "Okay, I understand what is going on. Let's pull back and slow down for a second."
"I am happy to make this easy: here is my computer and key card. I don't need anything from my desk, and I can be discreet going to the elevator. I don't know if you can answer this, but is there anything I need to do in this moment to protect myself legally?"
They responded, "Here is a folder of everything you need to know. This includes a three-week severance. Feel free to consult a lawyer before signing this and get back to us when you are ready."
"Okay,” I said. “It truly was a pleasure working with you both. Wish you all the best."
When I got to the elevator with the internal counsel, I pressed the button and said, "Hey man, it truly was a pleasure working with you."
He looked at me for the first time in the eyes and said, "Thank you, I really appreciate that."
I walked into the elevator and left.
When I walked out of the building that day I didn't really know where I was headed.
When I met with the CEO a week later to follow up, I asked him why their process of letting people go was so awful when everything else about the company treated people so well. He didn't have an answer.
I guess you could say that is how we got started.
Hi, my name is Jon.
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