How NOT to fire someone

The article

This article is representative of a genre. I will not call it fake news but rather “half news”. And I want to say why. And why it’s dangerous. But note that it’s under the “All the moms” section of USA Today, so every momma bear will have her hackles up to begin with.

The players:

Crystal Fisher – mother
Dawn – her boss
PS Food Mart (aka Folk Oil) – a company with 35 gas stations/convenience stores in the midwest USA.

In summary and at first blush this sounds like the actions of a rogue manager – Dawn – at one of the franchise “outposts” of the company. She didn’t know what she was doing, and it does sound like there was prior history with Crystal, the mother. So she may not even have believed Crystal?

So in part, fault likes with corporate PS Food Mart for not spelling out policy. This manager was clueless and was acting in a fear-driven way. An environment that discourages communication with headquarters only allows for good news (or at worst, business news, good or bad) to flow up. So Dawn may well have thought it was her job to just deal with this, cutting Crystal off to keep her franchise going. Texting is the worst way to communicate during times of crisis; Dawn should have known that her words would both hurt and stick. It is a leap to say that this was the first time the two communicated like this. But it became the final time.

At some places I’ve worked there are unwritten policies about this kind of thing. And at others, full-fledged long-term programs for life’s lingering emergencies. I can recount only a couple people EVER who took advantage and overstayed their leave.

Also, in my experience, despite official corporate communication, the firing of Dawn could be less about actual compassion or care for employees as a CYA move to eliminate lawsuits or simple PR to keep PS Food Mart/Folk Oil from looking bad. Individuals don’t matter in those cases; it’s all about the perspective of the public. Or PS Food Mart might indeed care and now establish policy. We won’t know because of the quick burn of the news.

Now, also, Dawn may indeed just been an uncaring despot, which the article would inspire. But that’s NOT a given. If true, a boss that pulls the plug on mourning, care for one’s loved ones or disability-driven absence does not deserve to lead people; that person simply has too much to learn. If that person’s manager allows that behavior, s/he will sacrifice a whole lot of good people who will either leave or just become less productive because who wants to work for someone who hasn’t got your back?

But USA Today/New York Post and any other media company reporting on this didn’t care about balancing things; they only wanted viral circulation, which makes them more money. At people’s expense. Dawn may well be a good manager who did her uninformed best, but good luck finding work now.


Online friends – a brief synopsis

It’s an interesting study in social media interaction that chronicles patterns in people’s interactions:

  • There are some “Friends” who want to hear nothing from you – literally. It’s like “Disgust” from Inside Out is in full force whenever you dare like or comment on anything they write.

Image result for disgust inside out gif

  • This is not to be confused with those who spew – who write only to perform one-way communication. They are shocked with ANY interaction; it’s not part of their expectations or established protocol.
  • There are those who have their suspicions up, knowing your demographics more than they know you. These are the tribalists, who ostensibly have no real friends, only fellow tribes-people and occasional coverts.
  • And this is not to forget those who seek validation by “Likes” (or Twitter Favorites) and replies. These folks live in manic/depressed emotional tumult governed by who is online and reading (and caring about) their stuff. Often, these people vent publicly about situations and people that no one else knows about and who will never read their rantings.

The phenomenon of people writing what they would never say is in full gear online and venting, trolling and ad hominem discourse is unfortunately commonplace.

But the feel-good story of social media is the way family get acquainted, old friends reconnect and new ones are made, legitimately, openly and honestly. That’s the way I try to play and why I like an online existence.