1. Wednesday, May 4, 2005

    although my employer is an at-will employer 

    which means that they can fire people for any reason or no reason, according to a beverly hills lawyer who my hollywood lawyer referred me to, they cant lie to you about why you are being let go.

    i was told that i was being let go because i lacked the “skill set” that the other three members of my former department have, which is interesting because we all use exactly the same software and we all do exactly the same thing (hire freelance editors to work in production bays, and put staff editors in the right rooms).

    the skill set required for any of our jobs largely revolves around answering emails, talking on the phone, and using a crappy peice of software. at night one of us carries a cell phone and if there are any emergencies or people who call in sick we have to replace those people. only a few weeks ago i was carrying the phone and i had to replace someone who falls under the responsibilities of one of my coworkers.

    it didnt take any special skill set to do that, nor does it take any special skill set for my coworkers to do the same for me when they carry the phone.

    on top of that, in my previous place of employment, before i worked in tv, i was responsible for hiring over 400 people in a little over a year. if anyone has what it takes to hire people quickly, i have that skill set. plus i had done it at e! over the last three years during some of the most busy, hectic times that company had ever seen. over the last two years for example, i handled more emails than anyone in our department with better than 99% accuracy, which is saying something since things were likely to change several times before theyre “locked down”.

    did my boss even acknowledge my successes, or acknowledge the fact that all those emails and phone calls were causing me carpal tunnel, or mention the fact that i was supercool under pressure, or thank me for the fact that i never talked shit about him in my blog despite the fact that all he ever wanted to bring up were those less than 1% of errors (which was average in our kickass department)?

    what do you think.

    over the years that i worked in that department we had people who were willing to take demotions to run from the department, we had people who were willing to ditch their benefits that go along with being staff to go freelance to leave the department, and we had people who either melted down or blew a gasket because of the long droning pressure-filled frustrating daily grind that was never rewarded with promotion or praise or relief.

    somehow i was able to hang in there, which blew the minds of so many people around me who said things like, how can such a creative person survive, if not thrive, in a department devoid of creativity, doing a thankless job where attention to detail is everything, and you could be right on the money for ten emails about one booking but if you fuck up on one part or if you dont catch where the other person(s) fucked up it’s still on you?

    and i said to those people the same thing that i told my last employer: not everything is left-brain or right-brain. and just because you happen to be good at just one thing doesnt mean that everyone is like you. i know lots of creative people who are also very well-organized. i know lots of anal-retentive people who are also capable of being very creative in their own ways. and even though what i was paid to do over the last three years had a lot to do with being attentive to details, ALL of it revolved around clear communication, which i am the master of when i put my mind to it.

    my boss on the other hand had this to say when i asked him what skill set my cohorts have that i dont have


    and thats when i knew id be rich.

    before e, my last job, if you dont know, was at a dot com, and i was part of a tiny team that hired 400+ people. i was part of the HR department. and when you hire that many people in a short period of time you also have to fire some of them because not everyone is who they seem in interviews.

    our company was also an at-will company as are many in california, but just because you can fire people for any reason or no reason, you have to be careful what you say when you let them go because if you give a reason, it better be accurate because now you’ve sorta blown your at-will protection because now they can sue over the reason.
    therefore we thought it best never to give any reasons unless it was blatant (we caught you looking at porn, we saw you hit that person, we read the email that you sent to the entire company suggesting a mutiny).

    so the question this afternoon will revolve around how rich i will be. me, a black man, being forced out of a job, and lied to about it, from a department where i was by far the most senior member, and where i used the same skill set as everyone else.

    my dillema is, do i want to get rich this way? and do i want to be known as someone who is litigious when things dont go his way. and although i might get some cash out of this if i go down that path, and it could be big cash, how much will it hurt my chances with future employers who might already be skittish hiring a guy with a pretty decent-sized blog.

    i can tell them all that through thick and thin i never talked shit, but they will say, yes but at the end you talked shit and we dont want that cuz everything has an end. and i will say then either get rid of the right people at the end, or be totally truthful to people when you let them go and there will be no problems.

    i’ll let you know how it works out, and again, thanks for all the nice comments, emails, phone calls, and gifts. even in rough times, im still the luckiest man there is.

    no, i wasnt fired for blogging, and no, i never banged brooke burke.

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