I have this job where sometimes I have to fire people, and it’s not cool or funny or fabulous to take away someone’s paycheck, it’s just real low-down-ugly kind of shit. Even if the person getting the axe is a pain in the ass, or shouldn’t have a job anywhere in civilized society, there is still no joy in cutting them off.
Maybe that’s because I have been on the other side of the firing equation more than once, so I know what it feels like. But now by some weird twist of celestial irony, I have become “the man.” An evil tool of corporate oppression and cruelty!
If you’ve ever been fired you’ll never forget the feeling you get in your gut when you walk into the bosses office and see that final paycheck face down on the desk. Hearing the obligatory, “I’m sorry,” or “I hate to do this,” is no different than hearing “fuck you,” or “go off and die now, we don’t care about you anymore.”
I never heard much of anything in those situations, aside from the blood rushing through my ears and the “…now what…now what…now what…” wheels turning.
I try to keep all that in mind when I’m on the “I hate to do this” end of the stick, but there’s nothing you can do to make it any less unpleasant. The best you can do is make it as quick and unembarrassing as possible the person you’re bestowing involuntary freedom upon. Hopefully I accomplish that most of the time. But I still don’t blame them if they hate my guts afterwards. I would too.
I sat in on a conversation between Carol, Leigh Salgado and Coagula mag’s Mat Gleason last night about whether an art critic being paid to write a piece for an artist is selling out. Gleason maintained that for the most part it’s pointless to be the only principled fool standing in a forest of unprincipled people.
I don’t necessarily agree with that, but it’s interesting to experience the reality of it by gradually morphing from being the dope standing in front of the tank flipping the bird, to the dope driving the tank that’s about to crush the dope flipping the bird. It happens without you being consciously aware of it, and by the time you realize that you really kinda suck now, it’s too late to do anything about it.