How I Did Not Get Fired

D Day

"Can I talk to you for a minute?", he asked. "Sure", I answered. We went to the conference room. He shut the door before he sat down. I didn't have any idea what he was going to say until he said it. Then I felt as if I had known for a long time.

"The Board has made a decision and would like you to step down from your position", he said. Relief washed through me like an electrical shock. My face broke out into a smile. "Oh good!", I answered. "I was wondering how to tell you that I didn't want it anymore". "What do they want me to do now? Work in the OR?" He laughed.

Looking back, I think that I was fired. However, due to my unstoppable cluelessness, I never realised this. It never crossed my mind that they would not like to continue my employment. It never entered my consciousness that I may get fired.

"Well", he said, "We need someone in the OR, we need someone for Pre-op and we need someone for Pre-Op calls, you can do all of these. What would you like?"

David, the Executive Director, walked in at that point with trepidition on his face. He took one look at our faces, and puzzlement replaced it. "I started without you", Mark, the Medical Director, said. "She wanted to step down".

Mark's and David's relief was obvious. I could tell they thought they were going to have an angry fight on their hands. Yelling, accusations and threats followed by crying and slammed doors. They forgot that I am not like them.

Instead they were faced by a happy acceptance. Yes, this will mean that I take a pay cut. I will either be able to live with that or not. I could no longer live with being Director of Nursing (DON). I could no longer live with half truths and lies, deceit and cheat. No amount of money is worth the loss of your soul.

I Love Lucy-Lucy and Ethel lose their job

How I Got Here

I came to the DC area as a traveling OR nurse to work for my present company. Ambulatory surgery was very different than being in a hospital. For one thing, you saw the "suits" every day. You can work in a hospital OR and never see a "suit" for years. The Medical Director was the anesthesiologist whom I worked with every day.

I was there 2 months when they first offered me a permanent job. "No", I told them. They wanted to know why not. "I have problems with commitment", I said. And thus, the wooing began.

This is a small surgery center owned by the 10-15 physicians who work there. They all liked me...what was not to like, I'm a great employee. I come in early, stay late when needed, take short breaks and work my tail off. I am very experienced, very smart and highly motivated. (Did I mention, I have a very healthy ego?)

This was the first OR I had ever been in where all of the clinical staff worked this way. I spent years working in OR, always wondering why I was so inefficient. I could not figure out how certain people always had time to talk at the front desk, while I was running around like a madwoman. (I am so clueless at times!)

I finally figured out that my running around like a madwoman, was why they could stand around. I realized that not everyone had my work ethic. Some people worked, some people stood around. This realization has not changed my work ethic it just made me appreciate my working co-workers more.

I don't know about any of you, but I am still occasionally caught unaware of the fact that not everyone thinks the same as I do. People do lie and cheat on purpose. People do hurt others on purpose. Go figure!

After much wooing and finally agreeing on salary, I decided to stay on as OR Manager. We were going through accreditation and I would help with that. Helping turned into leading the way...and pushing the stragglers. OR Manager was upgraded to DON, and the end began.

We received our accreditation from AAAHC with flying colors. We received a three year accreditation on our first try. I was a shining star!

Is There Such a Thing as the Middle of the End?

Done with the accreditation process, I started slacking off of my 60-80 hour week.  I dropped down to about 50-60 hours a week.  I guess my slacking was noticed and commented on.  I started hearing comments from the Executive Director.  Just little things like, "Oh, going home already?"  (I would hear this at 4pm after coming in at 6am.)  He continued to work his 7 1/2 hour day. 

I have to wonder how I find these abusive relationships...I seem to be a magnet.  There were other things, other comments and a rising discontent.  He would decide he didn't like someone on the clinical side and want me to fire them.  He didn't understand how hard it is to find the excellent clinical staff we employed.  He is someone who believes in disposable staffing.

I went to a leadership conference in October of 2008.  It was an intensive, painful soul searching conference.  Three 12 hour days later I knew more about myself and had learned a great lesson.

When someone who pays your salary asks you to do something, you have three options.  Option one is to agree, this is great, a win-win for everyone.  Option two is to accept...not so good, but acceptable.  This one always involves a compromise on your part.  Option three is leave.  When you can not agree, and can no longer accept, it is time to leave.

This is Getting Too Serious...Here is a Funny Little Video

The End

"I don't care how you do it, I just want her out of here."  The Medical Director had developed a dislike for one of the OR nurses.  He rode her day in and day out.  I don't really know why he disliked her.  He is not very skilled at discussion.  I knew him well enough by now to know one day soon he would explode and fire her on the spot for something silly.

I spoke to the nurse.  I told her the truth, she needed to find a new place to work.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.  It was truthful, but unfair, and I no longer was able to accept. 

I had enough of the mood swings dictating people's lives.  I had enough of the whining about everyone being lazy.  I had enough being in the same category as these liars and cheats.  These people who maliciously yanked the rug from under others.

We had gone through some bad times last year.  At one point I begged the staff to stay.  I told them that if I left then they would know that I did not feel as if anything would change.  I'm not going to bring out all the dirty laundry, suffice it to say people didn't feel appreciated.

When I announced that I was going to step down from my position, three people told me they were going to update their resumes. 

New Beginnings

I am not sure where I go from here. I'm lucky that I still have a job. I guess being clueless can be helpful. I will probably stay until I find someplace else. Good thing I am an OR nurse. I'll never lack for work.

I meant for this hub to be more amusing, but I guess there is too much disillusion left. I am very disappointed in the physicians who own this center. I know too many secrets. I have learned how differently people think. (Did I mention this catches me unaware at times? Clueless!)

The good part is I can start over. I do not ever believe that it won't get better. There is something wrong with me in that I cannot lose hope. I will find something better, I can feel it in my heart! I know that God won't let me fail, and that knowledge allows me to proceed.

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Comments 34 comments

goldentoad profile image

goldentoad 8 years ago from Free and running....

Really good hub, I liked the video too. I like the message all the way through.

k@ri profile image

k@ri 8 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Thanks goldentoad. It means alot coming from you! I love your hubs.

Cris A profile image

Cris A 8 years ago from Manila, Philippines

I love this hub k@ri, all the right elements for a good read. Bittersweet, honest and yes, amusing! I so totally relate to being the harbinger of bad news, ie terminating people. Though I have never been fired, in retrospect i think i share your talent in predetermining fate - i always beat them to it, i resign! LOL Thanks for sharing :D

k@ri profile image

k@ri 8 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Thanks Cris! As you may be able to tell from my comments, I love your hubs! I really appreciate the feedback. This was difficult for me to write about, but maybe I got it right. I am glad you found it amusing...I felt it was becoming too serious.

mamakaren 8 years ago

You're right, K@ri---GOD will never fail you--or leave you or forsake you! Thanks for your transparency.

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 8 years ago from Houston, Texas

Kari, This really gives me a sense of the person that you are. With your intelligence, talent and fortitude, you will never lack for employment. And it is obvious that you inspire people. The people updating their resumes are probably looking to you to lead them to the next best place. Yes, people can be disappointing at times. If one lives long enough, we all run into those kind of people. Now I am REALLY eager to get to know you better and start working together!!!

k@ri profile image

k@ri 8 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

mamakaren, Thanks, I know he would never fail me or anyone else! Am I really transparent :) Guess so, oh well...better than deceitful!

Peggy, Thanks so much for the nice words! I WILL call! I'll go check my e-mail now.

That is one of the great things about nursing...people always need them!

Gail S profile image

Gail S 8 years ago

K@ri - I LOVE this hub! I really like the way you structured it and the idea of the "Middle of the End". Somehow it seems uplifting even while discussing the realities of having to tell someone to look for another job. The lesson about the three options one has as an employee is so powerful! That is something I've learned in practicality this last year but have never heard it stated as such. Thanks!

k@ri profile image

k@ri 8 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Gail, Thanks! It does help to keep a good outlook on life.

Yea. three grueling days, but at least I got that piece of wisdom. I've told it to the people under me when they were unhappy. Made sense to them also!

ajcor profile image

ajcor 8 years ago from NSW. Australia

Thanks for sharing k@ri - this is my first read of your hubs and now I am going to read your others....thumbs up for your great attitude...cheers

k@ri profile image

k@ri 8 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Thanks ajcor! I feel attitude is one of the things we have absolute control over, so I try to keep a good one.

Silver Rose profile image

Silver Rose 7 years ago from UK

You've dug into what is wrong in many places of employment - namely that some people get fired or given a bad time simply because someone senior doesn't like them. Personal likes and dislikes shouldn't come into it - it should be about whether they do a good job or not. Yet these emotions intefere and end up making places inefficient not to mention unhappy.

I think you are quite right to think about what makes you happy and focus on that - life is short, and you could waste the whole of it trying to please people who won't be pleased because of their attitudes.

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Silver Rose, Thank you, you are exactly right. Personal likes and dislikes should not come into play. I was ousted because I would stick up for the employees...I was happy about it because I could no longer live with what they wanted me to do. Thank you for understanding.

Silver Freak profile image

Silver Freak 7 years ago from The state of confusion

such a great attitude and a really great message. This was what I needed to hear today. Thanks!

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Silver Freak, I'm glad it clueless attitude has gotten me through many sticky situations.

Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

I like your integrity and honesty. I've been in the same situation, and luckily resigned about a nano-second before I was fired. But I shouldn't have been in the position in the first place, as it was bean-counting busy work and I can't stand meaningless bureaucracy. Oh well. Sometimes pay cuts are worth it!

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Thanks Teresa! The pay cut is well worth it. I now feel that I work part-time, not being allowed any overtime! I am much happier. :D

marcofratelli profile image

marcofratelli 7 years ago from Australia

Hey K@ri, this is great. People normally feel offended when they lose their job, but I think the approach you took was great, even though it was bred out of cluelessness! :) If you make it easier for the messenger delivering the bad news, perhaps it will be easier if you did want to return to the same place, maybe in a different capacity, later on. I think in these times, your attitude can create or wipe out other options!

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

marco, Yes, it's important not to burn bridges. I find it funny now that I really did not know I was being fired at the time! I'm still there by the way. I took a pay cut and am very happy being an indian instead of the chief. I didn't agree with them management, but I love the staff. :D

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TheSandman 7 years ago

Excellent! you have a great quality and it is "Hope that Springs Eternal... and a positive attitude, it will take you a long way , but probably not in the world of suits, because you also have a conscience.

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Sandman, I'm glad you liked it! It's either "Hope Springs Eternal" or cluelessness, LOL! And no, I am done with the world of suits. I hate the liars, the cheaters and the users! I hate the world where greed rules at all costs. There are some things we should never sell out on.

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TheSandman 7 years ago

Kari..... You go Woman, that's the attitude ! But by the way forget buying the Ed McMann Mansion :-)

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Sandman, LOL, does that also mean the Brooklyn Bridge? Damn, I thought maybe I can make some money charging a toll! :D

You always crack me up Sandman...Be Well!

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TheSandman 7 years ago

You can forget the Brooklyn Bridge, but I do have some Ocean Front Property in Arizona I can let you have at a good price. :-)

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Really Sandman??? I always wanted some waterfront property! Is it affordable??? LOL! Does that mean you sold the Brooklyn Bridge already? That is how I miss out by not taking advantage right away! Love ya!

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TheSandman 7 years ago

Got to grab those deals while they are hot, If I could bottle sunshine I could make a fortune in N.E. this summer. Maybe I could just use your bright smile. Love Ya too

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Sandman, You are so silly! Now I am blushing! Thanks for that. :D

Mighty Mom profile image

Mighty Mom 7 years ago from Where Left is Right, CA

Hi K@ri, Don't know how I missed this the first time through. Wondering how you're doing in your old/new position. If being back in the trenches is better for you.

Your story is very familiar to me. My sister had the same situation. She was elevated to DON and found the headaches of personnel management and politics beyond tolerable. So she's happy being back as a practicing nurse again.

I have to say I love your hope springs eternal attitude. With that optimism you'll never go wrong in life! MM

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pgrundy 7 years ago

I really enjoyed this. Though I have never been a nurse, I've certainly been in a position that was making me ill and that I knew I did not 'fit' at all, and when change finally comes it really is a huge relief. It's too bad though that so many workplaces are structured in ways that make it tough to find where you really do fit. It seems like a waste. But I'm glad you have kept your positive attitude. Good luck to you! It seems so many people have these kinds of stories to tell these days--demoted, downsized, reduced pay--and everyone who is still working seems to be working all the time. Great hub. :)

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

Mighty Mom, I am doing very well in my new position! No more talking to the whiny butt management team! :D :D :D I am much happier, laugh more and have time to enjoy life! It was the best move I could have made.

LOL, with my optimism I may never know if I go wrong! :D

pgrundy, I'm very glad you enjoyed it! I'll always (hopefully) keep my positive attitude. I guess if I didn't have it, I would have been looking for a new job. LOL, I am just so clueless, I knew I didn't fit, but it never crossed my mind they may not want me. From the looks of relief I got I know they expected hysterics. LOL!

sheila b. profile image

sheila b. 7 years ago

Hi! Really enjoyed your story. And you're not really clueless - after all, you're good at reading body language!

k@ri profile image

k@ri 7 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

sheila, Thanks! LOL, I may not be totally clueless, but I'm usually about 75% there.

Alexander Mark profile image

Alexander Mark 5 years ago from beautiful, rainy, green Portland, Oregon

I stumbled on this hub and I'm glad I did. You told your story well, I feel we got to experience all the important parts and these are things we can all identify with. I know I can!

You paint yourself as somewhat clueless but in the end, you figured it out so don't feel bad.

At my current job, it took me 2 years to figure out the system and because I did not feel I could do anything else, I learned to work the system. My philosophy today is that I do what I need to do to complete my tasks and not a lick more because hard work is punished (I came in with a full head of steam and eager to please but that was repeatedly smothered by my petty boss), take care of the customers and don't screw over my coworkers. It's a really sad situation, but I'm working my way out. Your story is encouraging.

k@ri profile image

k@ri 2 years ago from Sunny Southern California Author

We should not have to compromise ourselves for work. Sadly I know the truth...

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