How to Outflank a Firing: Tips for Preventing Your Impending Dismissal

Posted on April 18, 2011


Any minute now you’re going to be fired.

You always assumed you were invisible, but somehow your shoddy work, three hour lunches, and questionable Internet surfing have been noticed.

Or maybe the company has been laying people off, and you’ll have a hard time defending the necessity of your job because you yourself are unsure what you’re supposed to be doing.  You sit at a desk, drink coffee, turn your computer on and off once each day, and twice an hour force a chuckle when the boss passes and asks, “Working hard or hardly working?” and that’s about it.

Nobody has said anything directly, but your boss is avoiding eye contact, you’ve been moved off long-term projects, and a secretary escorted a new guy through the office and when she paused at your desk you heard her whisper to him, “This is where you’ll be sitting.  It won’t always smell like this.”  Your HR director asks if you’ll be in the office on Friday, although he knows you’re always in the office on Friday.  Except of course during your three hour lunch.  Also on Fridays you get in an hour late because Thursday is trivia night at the pub.  Also on Fridays you leave early for Tequila Fridays at Malone’s.

The clock is ticking until Friday when the HR director will call you into his office at the end of the day.  Do you sit and wait for others to decide your fate, or do you take action and strategize a way to save your job?

Don’t beg.  Don’t show weakness.  The best thing you can do is march into your boss’ office, leave the door open so his secretary can hear you, and announce:

1. I’m a gay, pregnant, Scientologist!

Check mate, HR!  You can’t fire someone the day after he reveals he’s a gay, pregnant, Scientologist unless HR feels like losing an open-and-shut discrimination case and writing a big fat check.

You’ve bought yourself two to three months, and during this time you can either try doing your job better, or if hard work isn’t your style, you can try one of these techniques for lingering as long as possible.

2. Show your boss a picture of your hot sister-in-law who would be perfect for him because she’s attracted to Steve Buscemi lookalikes who wear hiking boots with dress pants and interrupt all the time.  She’s coming to town next week, and you suggest setting them up.  But next week she has a change of plans when she has to fly to Europe for a modeling job, maybe something to do with hiking boots and dress pants for women.  She keeps getting delayed, and you may be able to keep him interested for another two to three months.

3. Borrow something valuable, and he won’t fire you until he gets it back, like his car or his dog or his wife.  How are you going to get his keys?  Offer to wash his car.  How are you going to get Fido?  Offer to wash his dog.  How are you going to get his wife?

4. Wait for your boss at the water cooler and open up to him about how your marriage is on the rocks, and the only strong relationships you have are at work, and you just don’t know what you’d do without your work family.  You just don’t know what you’d do…

5. When all else fails, accuse yourself of sexually harassing yourself.  I admit it’s a Hail Mary, but the he said/she said or in this case I said/I said might take some time to straighten out.

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Posted in: Advice