After AOL chief executive officer Tim Armstrong unceremoniously fired the creative director of its Patch local news site during a conference call late last month, we asked Globe readers to share their personal experiences of being fired.
Whether they were fired years ago or yesterday, respondents expressed feelings of hurt and betrayal.
Here’s a sampling:
Rose Simpson, Ottawa
Dismissed from a magazine when it folded and an online job from the same company.
“It never gets old. I’ve been fired, and I’ve been left by a husband. I had the same feelings of loss. My identity was tied up in my work and I felt humiliated. Ditto after the divorce.”
Chris LeGeyt, Calgary
Dismissed as a partner in a chartered accounting firm.
“I was called in at 11:30 a.m. and told I no longer had the skills to be partner, notwithstanding I had been one of the top billing partners for 20 years. I left for lunch with a client at noon, came back and cleaned out my office, said a few goodbyes and left. I hated it then and still hate it today – 19 years later.”
Linda Cruz, Ottawa
Let go as a senior marketing manager.
“I received an e-mail the night before that [my boss would be] in town for a ‘national project’ and we could meet to continue my performance review. I knew I was going to be fired. I went to the boardroom to join her and an HR rep. She read me a four-sentence script and then left. I was devastated that after 18 years with the company, no one had stepped up to have my back. I was overwhelmed with gratitude at the outpouring of support from colleagues and friends. Eight months later, I’m still looking for work, so I am anxious, but still relieved.”
Christian St-Onge, Val-d’Or, Que.
Fired from a broadcasting job four years ago.
“Two weeks before Christmas (after more than 20 years with the company), the manager gave me a letter. My post was abolished. I had one hour to pack my things and leave. It’s like [being] hit by a train. I never saw it coming. Today, I cannot say that it was the best thing that ever happened to me, but it allowed me to do other things, like starting my own business as a part-time job.”
Thomas Adams, Mahone Bay, N.S.
Fired from a caretaking job.
“My inquiries about my overtime owed were being avoided. I called my friend who knew my boss to tell her what I thought was happening, that I was going to be fired. She didn’t believe it. [At the end of the work day] I was called in and given the news. I felt betrayed. I felt like garbage tossed aside.”
Fired as a director of marketing.
“A ‘mystery’ meeting was scheduled for 10 a.m. in my office. A peer, who had specific knowledge of my dismissal and was taking over my responsibilities, came in to my office 30 or so minutes prior to the scheduled meeting with my boss and attempted to get a full briefing of major projects I was working on. Then the peer looked at the TV, which was showing a coroner taking bodies away on a local newscast and said to me directly ‘No matter how bad your day is, it can always be worse.’ Who says that to someone they know is about to lose their job?
“There were warning signs, so I had a pretty good idea when the mystery meeting was scheduled what was going to happen that morning. My boss (who was relatively new and came from a different company and discipline only about six months earlier) who let me go never really understood the responsibilities of my position despite several attempts to clarify.
“Even though I was part of a multiperson purge, I still felt lousy, upset and questioned my worth.
“I am very happy running my own business now. The experience also taught me to never think that just because you’re employed with a company that you have security.”
Anthony Gurr, Vancouver
Fired from a copywriting job without warning, despite being praised for his work.
“To say I’m unhappy about how I was suddenly hit with this firing would be an understatement. I felt numb. I’ve been laid off five times in my life. It was like I’d been hit between the eyes with a sledgehammer – again.
As an older worker, being fired is a huge financial and personal trauma. I don’t have a lot of working years left to try and put some money aside for when I’ll need it in my later years. As it is, now I’m trying to figure out how to find money to live on while desperately trying to find another position.”
Comments have been edited and condensed.