What It Feels Like To Be Fired

If the meeting you normally have with your boss suddenly has an extra person sitting off to the side, you know what’s about to happen.

This never happens alone. HR won’t let it happen alone and last night, on Grey’s Anatomy, when Izzie Stevens walked into the Chief’s office and saw someone from HR sitting in a chair at the desk, she knew exactly what was going down.

That’s how it happened for me. I walked in to an office and a meeting that normally had one person, had two waiting for me.

Now my reaction wasn’t as vivid and emotional as Izzie’s was on Grey’s Anatomy this week, but then again I wasn’t trying to get an Emmy. I just wanted the hell out of that office.

The Chief’s tone was calm. Selective. Brief.

The writer who penned last night’s Grey’s Anatomy, Mark Wilding, has felt the brunt of a “change in direction” himself and told of the story yesterday on the website Grey Matter, a brilliant blog where the Grey’s Anatomy writers do a morning after breakdown after each show.

I’ve been fired over the phone, in person, just before major holidays, a few months after I bought my first house – I’ve been fired a bunch. The people who fired me all had the usual litany of predictable reasons for letting me go. Budget considerations, you don’t write the voice of the show, we’re going a different direction. Every tortured explanation designed to make you feel better about yourself. And every one pretty much a lie. Because when they fire you the truth is they just don’t want you.
[Grey Matter]

Even if you haven’t been fired, you still know the feeling. It’s that same “it’s not you, it’s me” line you get when the love of your life leaves you. Getting fired is getting dumped. Losing your job is like losing your love.

It’s a feeling you never want to have, and they nailed it. I turned to Jen when the show was on and said “that’s exactly what it’s like.” It was chilling to relive it.

Now it’s about time to remember what it’s like to be hired.

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