Friday, April 11, 2014


Have you ever been fired?

I'm generally a fairly quiet person who obeys rules and works hard so it might surprise people to hear that I've been fired not once, but twice. This is the story of one of those times.

I got a summer job after my first year of college. It was at a movie theatre and I quickly found myself promoted from "Box office girl" to "Head box office girl" in a matter of a few months.  I worked really hard and I'd have to say I loved my job. 

Unfortunately it paid minimum wage and when I decided to take a year off school to work and find myself, I decided that I needed more money to survive so I asked for a raise. My boss said "no" so I started looking elsewhere.

After three interviews with Future Shop I was hired on as a customer service representative. To begin with it wasn't a great job but it wasn't awful either. I was a great cashier - fast and efficient and in general I do love helping people so customer service itself comes fairly easily most of the time. Unfortunately, in my opinion, management wasn't very good.  I had great attendance, and I never called in sick. 

On that fateful week everyone in the store had been sick with something. It was less than a week before Christmas and I had been working 50 hour weeks to cover other people because I was apparently too nice. I called in sick hours before my shift because, after a trip to the doctor, I found out I had strep throat. I could barely talk and was somewhat hallucinating with my 104F temperature when I told my boss, on the other end of the phone, that I wouldn't be making it in and exactly why. Imagine my surprise when she answered "Get in here for your shift or you're fired."

I should have said fine, fire me. Had I known what would happen hours later I would have, instead I answered in a meek, defeated voice "okay." 

Hours past and I was in the store starting my shift. My boss assigned me to work security which means to stand beside the exit doors and check bags if the alarm goes off. I begged her to reconsider. I told her I was too fevered and wouldn't be able to concentrate. I told her I needed to work cash because I knew cash like the back of my hand and it was steadily busy. She told me if I was too sick to work why did I come in. Funny.

About an hour into standing beside the door, the alarm sounded. I didn't hear it. Apparently it rang for some time before someone came over and released me from my dream state. Immediately my heart sank and I felt a lump rising in my throat. Everyone was staring at me. My manager walked over, fire in her eyes, "Didn't you hear that?! What were you doing just standing there?! The store manager wants to see you. Now!" 

Her and I walked to the back of the store, to the managers office. He sat there with a stern look on his face. "I want to show you something" he said. They made me watch a tape of the whole thing. I sat there with tears running down my cheeks. "Explain that to me?!" He said, angrily. He went on, not giving me time to answer. "What were you doing?! What were you thinking?! That person could have walked out of the store with expensive merchandise if your co-workers hadn't noticed and stepped in. We can't have this sort of thing happening. I'm afraid I'm going to have to let you go. I'm sorry it has to be this way. Do you understand?" I didn't really but I remember nodding. "Your manager will escort you to the staff room so you can pick up your things before you leave. You will be paid for the remainder of your shift."

And that was it. Being incredibly ill I felt somewhat relieved that I could go home and go to bed. However, I was also feeling pretty low being fired four days before Christmas. Suffice to say I couldn't bear to walk into the store for a long time afterwards and I still prefer to buy electronics somewhere else.  

Inspired by prompt #2 - "Have you ever been fired?"


  1. Employers are so crazy sometimes! Some of the things I hear that they do just make me mad. Never should a role come before someones health like that. You were better off with out them!

  2. Oh my gosh I'm furious FOR you! I know what it's like to not be able to speak up for yourself especially when you're put on the spot like that! GAH, makes me so mad that they would put you in that position in the first place!

  3. I still prefer to buy my electronics some place else! Wow! You are far too generous. I would have had plenty of less polite things to say about that place! Not having you working for them any longer was their loss!