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He Really Let Himself Go

| Working | December 23, 2016

(I have just walked into the office on a Monday morning, and my manager calls me into his office.)

Manager: “I need you to do something for me.”

Me: “What do you need?”

Manager: “I’m going to give you a temporary promotion to office manager while I am gone for a few days. While I am gone, I need you to fire three staff. I expect them to be gone when I get back as I don’t want to have to speak to them.”

(I look at him, thinking this must be a joke. No punchline is forthcoming.)

Me: “You want me to fire three staff? So you don’t have to?”

Manager: “I have to go on a business trip! And corporate have told us to make cost reductions. This is the only way.”

Me: “No.”

Manager: “I beg your pardon?!”

Me: “I won’t do it. I’m not the manager. It’s not my responsibility. As far as I can see it, this is why you’re paid the big bucks: to complete these difficult, and managerial tasks.”

Manager: “I am your manager and this is your assignment. This discussion is over. I am leaving now and I will be back by Thursday.”

(He reveals an already packed travel-case, and he quickly scurries out of the office. Dumbfounded, I gather my thoughts for a moment, and then decide to call someone I know in Corporate. I explain what just happened.)

Corporate: “What the h***?! He should not have done that. Plus, he doesn’t even have a business trip on the books.”

Me: “You’re kidding. So what should I do?”

Corporate: “Sadly, he wasn’t lying about the need to make cost reductions. Your department needs to save [amount] by the end of the year. Hmm.”

(There is a pause.)

Me: “What.”

Corporate: “While we specified he needed to save [amount], we didn’t say how to go about doing it. Letting go three staff of [lower grade] would do that, but I can also see here that letting go just one incompetent manager would achieve the same amount.”

Me: “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

Corporate: “How would you like to make your temporary promotion permanent?”

(You should have seen the look on my manager’s face when he got back from his “business trip” to discover that only one exit interview was required – his own!)

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