the guy I really hate right now

I really hate this guy. I won’t say his name because my friend told me “Do not use names on your blog. You’re really angry right now.”

I hate him.

So I got this really cool writing gig a few weeks ago. It was going to be steady. It was going to be big. I had just started. I was working with an editor. This guy. A guy who only asked me three questions about myself when we started working together: “Are you married? How old are you? How else do you make money, aside from blogging?” A guy whose followup question to my answers was “What does your husband do for a living?”  A guy who, when I asked the questions back, told me that he worked mostly at a company that made medical instruments, but edited on the side because he just knew he was really good at it. A guy who chopped my pieces into little, awkward bits, made me sound like a robot, and then accused me of writing without passion. A guy who liked to tell me what writing was about. “To write well, you must first care. Care deeply,” he said, telling me I wasn’t doing that.

“There is nothing interesting about this piece,” he wrote, when I sent him a piece I thought would be pretty interesting.

And here is where I went wrong:

“Do you think you could express the same sentiment in a nicer way?” I wrote back. “It might be more productive for us.”

“I’m sorry that ‘not interesting’ seems like harsh language to you,” He said. He told me it was too bad I was so sensitive.

“It’s not that my feelings are hurt,” I said, “It’s that I think we should figure out an effective way to communicate, so that the editing process goes as smoothly as possible.”

And here is where I went even more wrong:

I added, “And just to clarify, that’s not an apology. As you are probably aware. But that’s OK. Let’s move on. Do you want me to send you a new piece?”

I sent him a new piece.

He didn’t like it. He didn’t explain why.

“Do you want me to try again?” I said. “Maybe you could give me an idea what you’re looking for?”

But he wasn’t interested. He told his boss he couldn’t work with me, that he didn’t like my writing, and his boss fired me. Just like that. One paycheck. Done.

When I saw her name pop up on my phone, I knew. The way you know when all of your tingly animal instincts suddenly kick in at once.

She was very sorry. Very, very sorry, she said. She thought I was great. Really great. But this would not work because the editor didn’t like me.

I think it was because I talked back. Because I told him that he hadn’t apologized and that I cared about how he talked to me. That I expected to be treated respectfully.

Mistake. Why did you think you could talk back? SUCK UP. SUCK UP. WHY DON’T YOU KNOW TO SUCK UP? WHY DON’T YOU KNOW HOW TO JUST TAKE IT. WHY DON’T YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT LIFE??

I have really, really hated a few people in my life. They have always been people who have power over me. Not friends who slight me or boyfriends who were mean. But people who make me feel helpless. People who I can’t hurt back.

When I was younger, every time someone hurt me like that, I wanted to become famous, just so that I could have some famous interview on TV and tell the world that they were terrible and stupid and make the world hate them with me. I wanted to have an undedication in the back of my New York Times bestselling novel. “This book is not thanks to the following people, who seriously screwed me over and who are some of the most pathetic, scummy people in the world.”

Two of them were college professors. The first one was the one I wrote about in my piece on Salon. I changed her name, of course. But not a huge amount.  She found out I’d been homeschooled, and then she made fun of me in class. And then there was the professor who gave me an F because I missed a test. I had to perform Yom Kippur services that day. I tried to make it up a day late. He told me, in front of the class, that I was irresponsible. That I had failed.

I am not sure that I was entirely successful at not crying at all in class.

But an interesting thing happened. I later asked the professor who had failed me to be my thesis adviser, because he was smart and important and because I wanted to face him. And we became close. And he came to my wedding and visits me in the city occasionally.

He wouldn’t make it into my undediction anymore.

Which is what I am telling myself about the editor I hate. The guy who got me fired without giving me a chance. The guy who wanted to be really clear about who had the power. Even though I am a 25 year old freelancer and he is a 45 year old guy with a steady paycheck (that mostly comes from something involving medical instruments). It is probably not as bad as it feels right now.

It is probably a hundred times better.

Even if it’s hard to see right now.

Right now I want to destroy him. And I can’t. There is nothing I can do.

But sometime later, I won’t even care. The way I don’t care about the teacher who made fun of me in front of the class freshman year. She was such a small person in my life, that I can’t imagine wasting time on her now.

Just like that.

*  * *

Does anyone have a story about being fired to share with me? I’m pretty sure reading some would make me feel a lot better.

Unroast: Today I am a little sick, so I love the way my stomach feels, because it isn’t sick, and I’m thankful.

 

70 Comments »

Kate on November 17th 2011 in life, writing

70 Responses to “the guy I really hate right now”

  1. Liz responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 3:29 pm #

    I was never fired, but I used to teach university classes. At the end of the semester, the students fill out evaluation forms and then give their opinion (if they want) about you. I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much from the pain. Yes, it was an almost physical PAIN of mortification.

    I hope you feel better.

    The world is full of douches. And sometimes it’s us. So I try hard to not let the others get to me so much.

  2. Michelle responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 3:30 pm #

    In 2000 (not the 1960′s), I was fired from my position as an public elementary school teacher because I was pregnant with my first child. I was one of three teachers let go from that school THAT YEAR for being pregnant. Little weasel of a principal didn’t even tell me face to face, and avoided all of my attempts for a private meeting. He had the nerve to send going away flowers to my classroom on the last day, which I left.

    Worse than losing my job was the fact that he didn’t even treat me like a human being. He didn’t even try to lie about his reasons; he ignored me and hired someone less qualified (and not of child-bearing age) to replace me.

    We banded together and reported him to the EEOC. They found that our civil rights had been violated. The district didn’t fire him, but they demoted him.

    The thing is, I had wanted to stop working and stay home with my baby. It was financial disaster and totally not that jerk’s call to make, but it forced us into living on one paycheck. Without that experience, we may never have found the courage.

    That happened eleven years ago. I have not been back to full time work since. We now have four kids (three biological and one adopted). None of the kids have ever set foot in a traditional school. Being fired was a terribley painful experience, but it put me on the path to the life I have now.

  3. grace responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 3:53 pm #

    Never fired, laid off by incompetents who were threatened. I am 41 and STILL have fantasies about giving unthank you speeches. It sucks to be rejected, to be told you are not good enough for fill-in-the-blank. It will always suck. It sucks more, I think, when you are the kind of person, like me, who felt as a kid and sometimes as an adult that you have to prove something so people don’t assume you aren’t any good at fill-in-the-blank, or you aren’t smart in enough, pretty enough fill-in-the-blank enough.

    That said, you did the right thing. We teach people how to treat us by what we do and don’t do in response to what they do/say/live. You basically said, “you can’t talk to me like that!” and he ironically couldn’t take being talked to like that.

    He sounds like an ass who’s gotten as far as he has because he’s an ass, and as such, he’ll die an ass. Good news is, you won’t.

  4. grace responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    @Liz – I feel the pain for you :-(
    @Michelle – I feel the joy for you :-)

  5. Jess responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 4:07 pm #

    I worked, for a brief stint, at a clothing dyer in the fashion district. They were hiring an apprentice for the guy who had been doing it all by himself for eons. He plunged his hands directly into vats of dye because he said gloves took too long to put on and off. Frequently, I spent time watching him because the facility wasn’t big enough for us to both be doing work, he was a little bit controlling from years of working alone, and once or twice, I screwed things up, but never irreparably. He, and the boss, kept saying that I would learn the chemicals soon enough, and that they had all these plans to expand.

    About a month of part time work in (so, around 100 hours they had said were meant to be spent learning how things work) and the morning after being told I was doing great and would keep learning, I got in to have the boss call me to his desk and say it just wasn’t working out. He deftly avoided elaborating when asked how I could have improved, what I did wrong. He would only say that I wasn’t helping to make them money, I was not turning a profit. The dyer I was apprenticed to wouldn’t say more than 3 words as I gathered my things I had traveled an hour and a half on the subway to get to, and turned around to go home. I’m still very self conscious when applying for and getting jobs, because this was so unexpected, seemingly unmotivated, and therefore pretty scarring.

  6. Hope responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    I had an evil drama teacher in highschool. She got off on being in a position of power, and in this way she was probably similar to your evil ex-editor (my theory). Anyway, she was always putting me down for “trying to get good marks”, and then dared give me a B+ on an essay. When I asked her (nicely) to explain the mark to me, she started crying for seemingly no reason! I’ve since decided she was crazy, and as my Grandma says, “Insane people are very cunning.” I think your ex-editor must have been a nutbar too. Their loss for sure!

  7. Melinda in Toronto responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 4:17 pm #

    I don’t have a being fired story to tell. I am a reader, not a writer. I just want to tell you, Kate, that I love your writing. I’ve been reading your blog for about a year. I think your writing is warm and lovely as, I imagine, are you. Far, far from robotic.

    I don’t think that you made a mistake. Please don’t give that guy the power to hurt you again – by beating yourself up about what you *should have* done. Should haves do nobody any good, ever. It’s done. He sounds bitter. You are better. Paycheques will come along. Meanwhile, write, write, write.

    Thank you for making me laugh, and think, and nod in agreement, and wonder how I really feel about the things you write. You rock.

  8. Dawn responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 4:22 pm #

    This guy is an asshole, and you can rest assured that the manager who didn’t have the balls to fire *his* sorry self is having to live with it. As for him, I’m sure he enjoys being a dick, and while I like to think that these people get their comeuppance, many times they don’t. But maybe one day he’ll wake up and realize he has no one but his harangued wife, and he’ll wonder where his life went.

    I like to think these sorts of things are un-dedications enough for me, although I too like the idea of going up on national TV and being all, “And by the way, these few people, you should never speak to them in your life, ever, because they are just plain dicks.”

    Thankfully, I haven’t been fired, but I did have a professor who told me that I wasn’t doing a good enough job and that I had to work ridiculous days, and I would go to every meeting with him and stare at the floor and try not to exist. I sucked up the energy to leave repeatedly, except I wouldn’t quite do it, because he would sweet-talk me into staying by using his Charisma Powers even though I was clearly psychologically broken from being burned out on top of his freaking scary senior grad student yelling at me about how I didn’t work hard enough.

    I left his lab. He still thinks I’m coming back in a year or two. Good for him. I have a paycheck and a life now, and maybe his comeuppance will be him thinking about how hard he drove me into the ground, and why I haven’t returned yet.

    Did you at least tell the manager that her editor was an asshole to you, and that this really wasn’t a good reason to fire someone she thought was great? Given that you didn’t get the job, may as well, right?

  9. dustwindbun responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    I’m sorry he was an asshat. I promise you, not all editors are terrible people! Even when I had to edit horrible college sports writers, I never did anything worse than threaten behind their backs to hit them with the Editing Stick (a ruler marked “editing stick” that I ended up stealing from my college newspaper office, and I still have it 8 years later).
    My story is about working for a crazy person! I was working at a small publishing company (as an editor, naturally). I’m sure they were unhappy with me because I didn’t get that unwritten rule of offices that you should be coming in early every day just to be seen to be there (and I have time issues anyway); plus, we were in a slump 5 months into my contract, so there was no work for me to do.
    One day, the president of the company asked me to prep a letter he was sending, and print it on our letterhead. The letterhead was in the first-floor printer, by the receptionist, and I worked upstairs, so I called down and asked her to make sure it went through. Then, like a normal person, I walked downstairs to get the printout, passing by his office, where he proceeded to yell at me for coming to get the paper myself – apparently I should have called for one of the secretaries to bring it up to me, since it was part of their job.
    Shaken, I went back upstairs, passing by my boss, who was both the VP of the company/my department head and the president’s wife. She asked me what was going on, why I looked so upset and bewildered. I told her that he had just thrown a fit over my not calling a secretary to bring me things, and she called me insubordinate and unprofessional to question his judgement, let alone to say “threw a fit” and fired me on the spot.
    The rumor around town and the company, as they were recognizable, was that he was untreated bipolar, and she was a bit enable-ey so that he didn’t have to get treatment. I’ve known other people who encountered them since, and they’re still plugging along, him acting crazy, and her protecting him.

  10. dustwindbun responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 4:35 pm #

    omg and professors! I had the professor who advised my undergrad honors thesis, on reading my first draft, email me to tell me that it was terrible and I should drop out of school because I clearly didn’t belong there.

    (My dean laid into her when I came crying into his office trying to decide what to do – like, he had me step outside, and I heard him through the door on the phone tearing her a new one for her behavior. Turns out she was in the middle of a nervous breakdown, plus she’d never advised a thesis before, so had no idea what to do. We worked it out, and we’re not friends, but my thesis turned out pretty well, if I do say myself, and she did help a lot. And my first draft did suck, but I had no idea what to do either!)

  11. dustwindbun responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    i am overly hyper today and you’re getting the brunt of it, but I just don’t want you to feel alone or unvalued! It would be a pleasure to be your editor any day!

  12. Becca responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    I have never once felt that your writing was robotic or that your heart wasn’t in it. He was very much in the wrong, both in the form of his “constructive” criticism and in his asshat behavior. However, there may be some cold comfort in knowing that he can’t possibly succeed as an editor in today’s world. He may scrape by, via focusing on medical devices and whatnot, but great editors need to know how to communicate with their writers. They need to see the gems and polish them and not dismiss what’s outside their experience. How is it remotely helpful to say “it’s not interesting”?! It’s not. He was dismissive and rude and he made his decision about you upfront. I have to feel as if it’s related to both age and gender. He felt his (undeserved) power threatened by a reasonable request.

    Although it’s a loss and must feel awful, this would have been a miserable experience to keep working with him. There are certainly things to learn (like how to kiss bum while holding your nose… just until you get in the door and can leave them in your wake) but I know you’ll take this and get stronger from it.

    I don’t have any layoff stories. But I did find out that my evil ex-boss had been lying to HR about me for months, blaming me for her mistakes. If I hadn’t quit, I would have been fired. I was so shaking mad when I found out from former colleagues. I still wish I could confront her.

  13. Kate responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 5:04 pm #

    @Jess
    Yes, that’s how I felt. It was so sudden!

  14. Kate responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 5:06 pm #

    @dustwindbun
    Yes, again. Wow. What a story. I get the sense with this guy that maybe he’s got some untreated stuff going on, too. But who knows? It’s hard not to feel like things are really unfair, sometimes. And I like your comments, you can be hyper on here any day!

  15. Kate responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    @Becca
    That’s part of why this felt so awful– I have NEVER been accused of writing without passion! So weird! Actually, his problem with me was that I was too personal, too emotional, and so he kept editing those bits out. And then turned it around on me! It was like, “Wait, what is happening right now? Is it opposites day again?”

    I guess he is sort of succeeding as an editor, though, working for this big site…which is unfortunate. There’s more too it, but I can’t use names and too many details!

  16. Kate responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    @Becca
    Also, I’m really sorry about your ex-boss. It just seems like so often we’re at the whim of other people’s personalities.

  17. bethany actually responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 6:16 pm #

    It wasn’t getting fired exactly, but there was one time I just KNEW I’d aced a job interview and was going to get this job I really wanted, as an RA in a specific residence hall in college. I totally clicked with the woman who would be my boss, and the two RAs who were sitting in on the interview seemed to really like me and approve of my answers. She all but told me I had the job when I was leaving. Two days later, she called me and apologetically told me they were going with someone else. I was crushed. I have no idea what happened, why I didn’t get that job, but I do know that because she didn’t hire me I was free to take the job when another RA from a different hall needed to hire someone at the last minute. When I was working in that job, I found the courage to end a toxic relationship and I met the man who is now my husband. We’ve been happily married for 16 years and have two daughters whom I’m homeschooling. Now I look back at not getting that job as one of the best things that could’ve happened to me.

  18. Kate responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    @bethany actually
    Nice.
    This reminds me of when I didn’t get into the grad school program I really wanted to go to, and I was crushed. But if I had gotten in there, I wouldn’t have come here to the city and met Bear. Dear god, it’s a terrifying thought.

  19. ong responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 7:24 pm #

    Kate, I came so close. I had a very similar situation to yours. I “went wrong” just like you did, and but in the end I decided not to keep going wrong…and I kept my job by sucking up and letting her have power over me until the project was done, one year later.
    I think I should have quit. The whole thing did a number on my self-esteem. But I needed the money.
    Even though my outcome was different from yours, it made me feel so, so good to read your post. Oh my god. It hit my heart. I absolutely f’ing hate it when people have that kind of power over me. It kills my soul. And other people in my life gave me bad advice, like “you have to learn how to communicate better,” and “you’ll run into a lot of people like this in your life. You’re being arrogant if you think you’re too good to suck up to her.”
    Oh, my heart is beating fast right now, just thinking about it.
    You’re right, it won’t matter soon. Until it stops mattering, just remember you did the right thing standing up for yourself.

  20. craftosaurus responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 8:01 pm #

    I’ve had workplace situations where I felt powerless, but probably the most visceral (and cliched?) pain I’ve felt was when men I dated would go from interested to rejecting me suddenly and without warning. At least it felt that way. And you’re right, not being able to hurt someone who has hurt you can be a very challenging experience.

  21. Cara responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 8:46 pm #

    Here’s my story… Back in 2007/2008, I volunteered as a Patient Advocate at a well known clinic. After 8 months or so, a position at the clinic opened up and I was encouraged to apply. My title of Patient Services Staff included everything from patient check-in/out, billing/insurance guru, office monkey, and practitioner triage. I was given a 90 day probationary period, a check-in at 30 days (“You’re doing well! Keep asking questions!”), another check-in at 60 days (“Keep asking questions, we’re here to help!”), and the heave-ho at 90 days. During this time I never had a specific trainer/preceptor, so most of the training was trial-by-fire.

    I was pulled into my boss’ office and was informed that I was being let go. Of course, I was completely shocked and asked if I’d done anything wrong. Basically, my boss told me that I did not have the “rock star potential to continue in the clinic” and other Patient Service Staff did not have the ability to approach me with constructive criticism. I asked again if I did anything wrong; there was nothing specific. I was also asking too many questions and should have “picked up on the minutiae of the clinic” more quickly.

    IMHO, I was the new fish in the all-female pond and I never did feel a decent balance on a day-to-day basis; somebody was always on guard or hormonal or stressed, etc. The last 30 days of the position did seem strained. As for the parting words from my then boss: She appreciated my enthusiasm for the affiliate and professional bedside manner, but I would be better suited for a position in volunteer outreach or agency/political outreach/tabling. Biggest slap in the face. Ever.

    Anyway, I’ve gone on to better positions where I’ve felt (and do feel) appreciated, respected and heard. Here’s to better positions for you! :)

  22. Kristi responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 10:05 pm #

    So. Ohhh, do I know how you feel.

    Once, I worked at a daycare. For a very sweet boss who barely had a backbone…like seriously it would take an x-ray to detect that one was there because she surely never stood up to any one at work, not even the employees under her. And then there was her completely unqualified, unprofessional, power-hungry assistant director. Ok, so that’s the backstory….well the back, backstory.

    I was in college at the time but only online, having to travel to university only a few times in the 5 month long semester, and this particular week I unexpectedly had to take a day off of work to travel per the professors requirement. In this same week, was the Friday I had asked to have the afternoon off. Well, I was told by my boss, the spineless director, that I DID in fact have that afternoon off, about 3-4 times, as I continually bugged her to be sure considering she had not posted it on the schedule even up to Thursday when she left for vacation. *Cue dramatic horror story music* …this left the unprofessional, power-hungry, down-right-rude (I can’t believe I forgot that in the first description of her) assistant director “in charge” and to my dismay one more thing was “left,” left OFF that is…of the schedule.

    SOOO, after a heated discussion with her and being denied the time off that I had requested over a month prior and had been granted by the woman who was the superior of BOTH of us, I took it upon myself to call the director and interrupt her vacation although I really didn’t want to have to do that. So after that call, the director then calls that ass’t director and she is so angry that I dare go above her head. She calls me into a room where we can talk “privately” and in the most professional way that she can muster (which is actually quite amusing when I look back on it, it was a sad attempt) through her grinding teeth, she tells me that I simply cannot have the day off. That she has tried (lie.) and that after the day I had off earlier in the week (not my fault, they knew I was in school when I accepted the job and that this would happen on a rare occasion, and the director had approved BOTH that Tuesday and the Friday afternoon) she just couldn’t see giving me more time and (here comes the biggest lie) honestly, she just couldn’t make it work on the schedule.

    So, I take matters into my own hands and start going to all of my co-workers asking that one of them close for me that day (because get this, not only did she not give me the afternoon off…that ______ (refrained from using words I do not use) scheduled me to CLOSE!!!). Well, in my quest to find someone to work for me, I learn from one of my kind-hearted co-workers who is willing to talk despite the dictator currently sitting in the boss’ desk, that the dictator herself had gone around to all of my co-workers and told them…”If Kristi asks you to work for her on Friday, tell her no.” *If your blood is not boiling now, you are not reading*

    So, I went to the Chairman of the Board of Directors myself. He was a waste of a few minutes of my life; but, he did allow me to cry out of pure frustration and helplessness in his office–how kind of him (lie, he later lied about what I said to him in his office).

    Then that night (it is Thursday, btw) I went to another member of the board of directors who happened to live right down the road from me (and GET THIS–was the dictator’s aunt!) and she was SO kind and supportive. She apologized for her niece’s actions, and listened to the call as I left a voicemail for the dictator telling her I would not be coming in Friday. The member of the board of directors was also there when her niece, the dictator, called me back and she told me “do not answer that phone. you have made up your mind and I don’t blame you and you can talk to her at work on Monday.”

    Well work on Monday never came. That next day, Friday, the dictator called and left me a voicemail…saying “come to work or we will take that as your resignation.” (Pretty sure that’s not legal, ethical, or anything else-ical.) And after a called “emergency” meeting of the Board of Directors, along with the Director and the dictator-I mean-assistant Director (that I was not invited to), they decided that I quit my job. Because I called in and said I needed a mental health day, and trust me I did….I didn’t need to work with kids as angry as that woman had made me…I had suddenly quit. And the Chairman of the board said that in his office I said, “If they don’t give me this time off, I am going to quit.”

    Yeah, I know how you feel. I know about the anger. This happened in April of 2010…I’m still not 100% over it. But I am working on it. I am trying to be the bigger person (even though I am the youngest of all those who were involved in this) and trying to let bygones be bygones…but as we all know, that’s easier said, then done.

    Good luck. ;)

    (P.S. I am not proofreading this, forgive me if it doesn’t make sense…I feel like that was a therapy session. Thanks for listening!)

  23. Lynn responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 10:06 pm #

    Never fired, but had an equally infuriating experience in undergrad. When I was a sophomore, one of my professors LOST my Final Paper and blamed it on me, claiming I had never turned it in. I spoke with the Dean of the English Department, telling him that not only had I turned it in on time, I had put the paper IN THE PROFESSOR’S HAND THE DAY IT WAS DUE. My professor lied right to the Dean’s face, claiming that I never turned the paper in, and that I had made up the whole story!!! At the time I did not own my own computer, so I had typed the paper at the school’s computer lab, and, like an idiot,I hadn’t bothered to save it, so it was my word against his. Since neither of us had any proof, there wasn’t much the Dean could do. Though he didn’t end up failing me,the Professor did get in one more dig. He gave me a *D* in the class, (even though I had all A’s and B’s up to that point) the lowest possible grade he could give me without actually failing me. However, a *D* is considered failing if the class is in your major, which put me a credit behind and I had to retake the class and take a summer course to graduate on time. I went on to graduate with Honors and he retired a year or two later. He made me out to be a slacker and a liar, I was absolutely furious for months and I still occasionally fantasize about punching his lights out. A huge part of me wishes he could see me now, and see what I’ve become and what I’ve accomplished :)

  24. Lynn responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 10:07 pm #

    Oh, and my biggest lesson from that? ALWAYS SAVE YOUR WORK AND MAKE COPIES!!!

  25. Yara responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 10:08 pm #

    I was fired once!
    I had a job working with another lady in the pattern department, helping her; but no one ever said she was my ‘supervisor’. She was ‘training’ me since I was new at the company.
    After a couple of weeks, she realized I actually knew what I was doing. There were times the pattern makers were trying to figure something out, and once or twice I was able to help them. I was also occasionally pulled to other departments to help out with things like cost sheets. (That degree in fashion design was coming in quite handy)
    She was paid more than I was, didn’t work all the hours she was supposed to (came in minutes before the supervisor, took 2 hour lunches, left early, took personal calls all day long) and she decided to go tell our supervisor I was not doing my job.
    I was called into the HR office & was fired. It was… strange. She told me everything the other lady had said, and I was like… what?
    I laughed, gathered my things from my desk, and left. It was a lame little company anyway.
    I the other lady once at the mall, and she saw me. She quickly turned around and walked away from me.
    I’ve been happily staying at home taking care of my family ever since (this was in 2002)

  26. Claire Allison responded on 17 Nov 2011 at 10:21 pm #

    Oh man, bad work stories. I was never fired, but I would have been if I hadn’t quit. Two years ago I was working for a theatre company as a carpenter and working under a man who most people believed was bipolar. I think he just had issues. I was new to the industry and this was my first real job, so I believed everything he told me. I started in August and by November he had me convinced I was a terrible worker, carpenter and person. I became a danger to myself and other people. Worse, I had a male coworker the same age as me who was not as good a carpenter as me, that our Head thought was the bees knees. The two of them used to bully me all day and harass the ever living shit out of me and the Head painter. When casual crew came in to help they told me they’d never seen anyone act as horribly as he was.

    So anyways, I’d been documenting it with our manager, and she’d been telling the boss about the situation, but he’d been puttin off acting on it because he wanted to see the set built before he potentially screwed things up by confronting the Head. It came to a point where I literally marched into his office and refused to work because I was a danger to myself and those around me. I ended up needing therapy to cope with the issues and insecurities this man gave me- and because it was in a province with really poor labour laws I had to pay for it out of pocket. Our local union didn’t pay for it and didn’t defend me. I basically had to try and defend myself against this person when I was at the lowest point in my life. I quit as soon as my contract was up, but the offered him a contract for the following season which he would have taken if some of his own life obligations hadn’t got in the way. I got bullied and he had no real reprecussions. To top it off I got a reputation around town as a “complainer” and certain members of the male sex liked to say I was making it up for the attention.

    But, there was some good out of it. I realized I didn’t want to be a carpenter. I went to grad school. I moved out West. I made new and better friends. I got therapy and it ended up helping me realize other truths about myself. I guess my point is, you’re lucky you didn’t keep working with this guy. People like that have a way of getting to you and staying under your skin- and it can be truly damaging to be subjected to it all the time. If this is how much he frustrated you after only three weeks imagine how much more frustrating it would have been to keep up with the bugger.

  27. Margot responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 12:17 am #

    I was fired from my first design job, after only a week, because my boss found out that I was still friends w/ the boss from my internship. He said I wasn’t talented enough to land an internship at such a place on my own, and if I was friends with this guy, then CLEARLY I must’ve done something else (ie- him) to get the gig. I don’t think I need to tell you nothing untoward happen AT ALL, but I was 22 and in shock. I didn’t even realize I could have sued the pants off this fucker.

    Ahhhh. Comments box catharsis is so nice. Now, I’m off to eat not some cake, but some ice cream. Close enough :-)

  28. Kate responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 1:25 am #

    @Kristi
    Oh, my blood is definitely boiling! So obnoxious! And at a daycare center, where people are supposed to be, well, caring? Maybe?

  29. Kate responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 1:29 am #

    @Claire Allison
    Arrrghhhh….This guy sounds like a nightmare. I am so sorry. I hate it when there’s that additional level of an older man derisively telling a young woman what to do. It just feels like a lot of centuries of baggage is involved, in addition to whatever bad stuff is happening in the present. And it sounds like this guy had a real problem with you being a woman.

  30. Claire Allison responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 2:02 am #

    It was frustrating- and I suspect he found me emasculating. I’m 5’2 and not the most built person… some people can’t stand to see a girl like me put a 4×8 sheet of plywood through a tablesaw. And what’s worse, they can’t stand it even more when I can’t do something and need help. It was a total catch 22 and I could never really win at it. But hey, now I’m in grad school and don’t have to come home with sawdust up my nose, and I know how to call people on their shit.

  31. Sooz responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 7:53 am #

    you shouldn’t have to suck up to keep a job. You wouldn’t be you if you did. and i just LOVE you….b/c your you. does that make sense? i bet something even better is right around the corner. keep your head up and thank you for another awesome and passionate post.
    :)

  32. Jiminy responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 8:10 am #

    I’m not going to come up with a personal story about rejection, although there are plenty to tell. And yes, I did hate the people involved. And yes, they left traumatic spots of lack of confidence in who I am.
    But I’m only filling a comment box to this post to say that this nastiness that happened to you is, in its way, a good thing. And I don’t mean it in the `fate` way of `if you had gotten this job then there was another opportunity that you are now not aware of that you would have missed`. That too. But mostly, in my language, we say `a kick in your ass is a step forward`. You learn – not to suck up next time, hopefully. Not to keep your mouth shut in front of abusers (although at some point there is a line to be drawn between what you wish to accomplish and what the social price is that you are willing to pay for it). But you learn that there are people who are not naturally charmed by who you are and how you write, that the world is not composed exclusively of members of a community that forms on the basis of common interests, as it happens on your blog, that shit happens AND THAT IT’S ALL RIGHT. You are not a lesser person or writer because one guy in a position of power feels that way. You get motivated to prove that (in order to get your unthank speech some day :>) ). You get this itsie-bitsie bit tougher skin – which is terribly underrated nowadays, when we shield our children from everything violent and incorrect and unfair, forgetting that at some point the world will present them with all of that anyway and that they will be poorly prepared.
    And not only you get better at being yourself when you’re being rejected (if it’s not too often) – (can you already tell that I’m reading this blog faithfully :) ))?), but also you get the space you need in order to experience highs as well. Remember how you said you were afraid you sucked at being happy, that you were afraid good things were never going to be appreciated enough? Well, the thing is, the emotional range is like a yo-yo, to my mind. If everything is comfortable, the amplitude is very small. The lower your lows get, the more room there is for the highs – because then you will recognize them a lot better, they will stick out – does that make any sense? (BTW, sorry for the non ETDC half-quotation, the `emotional range` is one of my favourite remarks of Hermione Granger `Just because you have the emotional range of a teaspoon!` – not you, obviously :P ).
    Virtual hugs and sorry for my napkin corner wisdoms, right now you have all the right to simply be angry.

  33. howie responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 9:32 am #

    i don’t have any stories of being fired that i want to share, but i will say after reading your blog over these past few weeks, passion is the first word i think of when i read your posts. sounds like to me that mr. editor was jealous of your well developed talent for writing a- talent he has yet to develop to the extent you have.

  34. Camilla Peffer @ Girls Are Made From Pepsi responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 9:49 am #

    The woes of being a square peg trying to fit in a round hole.
    You sound much more like a person destined to lead than to follow.
    And I thought I was the only one who wishes they could get up on stage and wave a billion oscars/emmies/grammies/noble peace prizes in the faces of my foes and blow raspberries and remind them of what Camilla Peffer can do now!

  35. Bethany responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 10:59 am #

    In college, I was fired from my library job because I wasn’t friendly enough… so I got a job as a tour guide for the admissions office. *They* loved me so much that they let me forgo the regular reapplication procedures the following year.

    You are a great writer, and even though it hurts right now, you’ll bounce back. :)

  36. Reckless Housewife responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 11:26 am #

    Ah, Kate. I’m so sorry. I can totally relate to your fantasy of wanting to be rich and famous… Alas, I’m a stay at home blogging mom with a small, but loyal following. I consider myself successful though because I know my family and friends love me, and I know God loves me.

    Just wanted to say that this man, whoever he is, doesn’t have any idea what good writing looks like. The next thing that comes your way is going to be a better offer.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you! Count the blessing that you won’t have to spend years of frustration trying to please someone who can’t be pleased.

  37. Melanie responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 12:56 pm #

    It wasn’t The Hairpin, was it?

  38. d-day responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    well, I’ve been fired, but it was my fault. I was 16, working for a retired couple who sold antiques on ebay out of their home. for some idiotic reason I decided to use their AOL account to email my friend, when I was working one evening while they were out of town. I said some totally stupid “I hate this dumb job” kind of 16-year-old stuff, didn’t really mean any of it, I was just trying to sound cool.. The old dude found it in his sent mail when he got home, and fired me over the phone. I was heartbroken because I had hurt the old guy’s feelings more than I really cared about losing the job.

    I had another job where I felt like my bosses hated me for no reason, though they never fired me. Both my sisters worked for them at one of their beachfront motels, they loved my sisters, so I decided to work there too. After a couple of miscommunications, they were convinced I was a moron, or maybe even that I was a miscreant. They were so mean to me!! My last shift working there that summer, my friend came to get me, drunk, and she puked all over their parking lot. So, that ended well for me at least.

    I’m sorry you got fired. I hate that guy too.

  39. Diana responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 1:36 pm #

    I was fired from a big financial company. I had a bright future with them until my boss decided to have babies, and her replacement was evil, cunning and wicked. She saw me as a threat because I was quiet and did my job effortlessly and perfectly. She called me into her office and out of the clear blue said, “I don’t like you. I don’t know how I’m going to get rid of you, but I will. Now get back to work.” My life changed overnight; she hounded me to do more work and my coworkers watched in horror as she piled more work on my desk. If they tried to help me, she fired them. If they were kind to me, she separated us. If they sat with me during lunch break, she ridiculed them. She was able to isolate me, break me down, and then fire me all within two months. I can look back on this now and say I probably reminded her of someone she didn’t like and to not take it personally, but truly, when you look in the eye of evil, it’s best to just turn and walk away. Just as my new boss had issues that had nothing to do with me, your male editor probably had issues that ran deep, too. Keep your chin up. I admire your spunk and courage to stand up to yourself. Something better will come along and you’ll look back someday and laugh. But probably not today.

  40. Cathy responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    I’ve never been fired from a job, which I know I would find horrible and possibly devastating depending on the circumstances. I have however been fired by medical professionals (I use the term “professionals” loosely!) I have some health problems that are not easily fixed or solved and could be considered mysterious which is never a good thing when dealing with Doctors or anyone who needs the glory of being the one with all the answers and “fixing” you. They were similar to your editor in that they need to exert their power over me, dazzle me with their knowledge and amazingness. After some embarrassing, demeaning and sometimes emotionally and physically devastating appointments in my late teens and early twenties I realized that they had god complexes but weren’t actually god. I decided that I wouldn’t let a so called professional treat me with such disrespect without somehow defending myself, even if my defence was completely lost on them. As long as I knew I had stood up for myself in some way then I could move on, after some serious b*tiching about it, fuming and some sort of anger release of course! At times I stood up for myself to the point that I was told the appointment was over. I was never rude, but I wasn’t a push over either. It felt good. It felt like I was protecting a confused kid from the school bully, and the confused kid was me. I was my own protector.
    I applaud you for standing up for yourself the way you did. This guy seems to have that type of misguided, power hungry god complex. Maybe he is a good editor but he sucks as a people person. Maybe he also sucks at writing and is jealous of anyone who can write and uses that jealousy to cut people down because he can’t cope with the fact that he can’t write. You have a gift.
    Keep doing what you do… please :)

  41. Rebecca responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    i was fired once for not doing a job i wasn’t hired for in the first place! what? yep, i said that correctly! i was hired to be the office admin at a chiropractor’s office – told him at the interview that i wasn’t a sales person and could not do anything of that nature and asked if the job included any sales. answer? not at all!

    ten ugly months later… fired!!! i went back to the office three days later to pick up my office chair – i’m short and needed one that fit me and he wouldn’t buy one. i walked in to find his niece sitting in my chair. she told me she needed a job, and her aunt told the doctor to hire her. mystery solved! i say i was fired once, but i don’t really count it.

    you write with a great deal of passion, concern, and vigor. i can feel your excitement, your energy and your anger (whichever is appropriate) in your writing. this guy was obviously not a loving or kind person. he may have been jealous that he wasn’t a writer. i’ve worked under editors that couldn’t write! they are not all that way, but some are mean-spirited. count your blessings… see the potential for growth… dust your feet off… and surely “unthank” him in your bestseller!!! you rock, kate… don’t ever doubt it!!!!

  42. Kimmy Sue Ruby Lou responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    i was fired once and replaced by my superior’s best friend, who had recently lost her job…the two of them ended up hating each other after working together so closely…so, karma is a really fun bitch sometimes…as for the editor, i think all he really meant was that it wasn’t interesting, although he could have elaborated on what he meant and what he was looking for…the best experience in my life, as a write, was being edited for an online site i was writing for…i learned more in those few months and my writing improved as a result…so, another learning experience…HOWEVER…I have never felt like you didn’t care about what you were writing about, i hear the “care” from NY to GA…and you rock!

  43. Emmi responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 3:39 pm #

    I am sad to hear of the loss of income and regular gig, but I think you’re quite likely better off.

    I got fired once. I was working the summer between my senior year of high school and first year of college at a large local hospital’s administrative center for hospice care. Lots of addressing envelopes and alphabetizing, nothing vitally important. It was pretty mind-numbingly boring, but it was fine. I knew it was only a temp gig, and I needed the money.

    My grandmother, the woman who raised me during childhood, died suddenly and unexpectedly on August 4th. It was a Saturday. Her wake and funeral were Monday and Tuesday – days I had to take off from work. After the funeral Tuesday, I was a wreck. A blithering wreck that I had never been before, or have been since. I called my supervisor to see if I could take Wednesday off – not to say I wouldn’t be in, but to find out if I could. The awful woman said, “Actually, you’ve already missed too much work, so you’re terminated.” I managed to stammer, “You’re firing me on the day that I bury my grandmother?” She said, “Yes.” And hung up.

    I never found another job the rest of that summer. But probably the only pure, blinding hatred I have ever felt was at that awful woman.

  44. Rachel responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Why is it disrespectful for the editor to express his opinion, that he didn’t find your writing interesting? Maybe think about his criticism and think how you can bring your writing to an even higher level. You may find yourself becoming even better than you already are, and it seems that be just about the best thing for you.

    Good luck. I like your writing and I find it interesting.

  45. Deb responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 4:27 pm #

    Girl, I’ve been fired so many times, I can’t even keep track. The first time, I was waiting tables to put myself through college. The owner of the restaurant didn’t like me for some reason, and at the employee Christmas party she gave me a piece of pink card stock in an envelope while everyone else got leather gloves. Pink slip – Get it? I didn’t get it, and was humiliated in front of EVERYONE when it was explained to me. I was 19 years old and it was horrible.

    Another time, I was hired by a great woman who seemed really thrilled with me. Between my hiring and starting, she was promoted and her assistant took her place. He clearly had someone else in mind for the position, and stuck me in a back room with no training doing horrid and tedious data entry. After 2 days, he fired me, saying I had “no fire in my belly.” Whatever. I was hired to be an engineer, not a data entry person. I’m still annoyed and it’s been 18 years.

    The last time, I was working for a city engineering department and it was my first time as a public employee. The guy whose place I took had a 2 hour lunch, leave an hour early, work half-assed attitude. When I took over his job, I made some spreadsheets to keep track of the projects I was in charge of. The City Engineer found out about it, and asked for copies. Some of the projects had benn languishing for YEARS without making any progress. I guess he wasn’t thrilled about it, and the Golden Boy I had made look bad canned me the day before my probationary period was up. It was SO UNFAIR and SO UNJUST and I STILL have fantasies about how I could get even with him.

    But 6 months later, I got the Best Job Ever and was super happy there.

    Things work out in the end.

  46. Kate responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    @Deb
    I’m cracking up a little that someone thought you had “no fire in your belly” for data entry. Well, yeah! Could that really ever be expected??

  47. Kate responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 4:32 pm #

    @Melanie
    Nope! Wasn’t the Hairpin. Edith is really nice.

  48. Kate responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 4:36 pm #

    @Rachel
    I’ve worked with a lot of editors, and all of them don’t like things about my writing. So we fix them together. This guy just seemed like he didn’t know how to express himself– so he would just say “I don’t like it. Write something else.” It’s really, really unusual to ASK for a piece and then, after it’s written, without specifying why, throw it out and make the writer start from scratch. A good editor works with writers with all different writing styles, and helps them improve. This guy is not a good editor. He didn’t give me ANY pointers. So, unfortunately, he wasn’t helpful to me! I wish I could say it had somehow been helpful.
    (And also, he got me fired because he didn’t like me.)

  49. Kate responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 4:40 pm #

    @Jiminy
    You’re sweet. I also like to think that the lowest lows help clarify the highest highs. And even though I’m angry, I think in some ways losing stuff reminds me to appreciate what I have. I hope that doesn’t sound too corny. And that’s a pretty great Hermione quote :-)
    Thank you!

  50. Kate responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 4:45 pm #

    @Everyone
    I can’t respond to all of them, but I love reading every one of these comments and stories. It’s just cool to hear from people who went through similar situations (except for d-day with the AOL story, which is about making a rookie mistake as a kid– oh my god, this really reminds me of when I was taking care of my vacationing neighbor’s dog when I was 13, and I kept stealing their American cheese from the fridge…) and went on to be OK anyway, often better. I know that’s how life works, but sometimes it’s nice to be reminded. Thank you for sharing, guys!! And feel free to send more!

  51. Deanna responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 6:09 pm #

    I’ve been fired…Twice from waitress jobs and one was unjustified. It’s a long story which I wont go into but basically involved discrimination,

    Now for Mister Hoity Toity, if he’s such a great writer..why can’t he make it his living? He must not be that good. Also…I never really understood why some people (editors) feel the need to tear apart good writing. Your writing is very much from the heart. Indont get it

  52. Deanna responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 7:12 pm #

    I once was deprived of a well earned bonus. I had to leave the company as we were moving and I thought I had left on good terms. I would not let it go so I contacted my former clients and had them all write a letter of recommendation for me. I also contacted the CEO and the head of HR (It was a very large company) letting them know I had been treated unfairly. I not only got my bonus a week later, the woman who was my boss and had orchestrated this whole thing in order to pay one of her Ass Kissers more money was ultimately fired. Sometimes it pays to speak up.

  53. Cate responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 7:25 pm #

    I was fired for being “too nice”!!

    I worked as a reporter for a little hometown paper and the assistant publisher fancied himself brilliant. I caught a story of a woman who was beaten and repeatedly raped by someone who broke into her home in the middle of the night (remember – this was in a tiny, tiny town).

    I had the victim’s name from the police report but we’d never put a rape victim’s name in a story – he told me to. I said no and kept it out. When we went to press I saw he’d edited my story to put her name in it … I took it back out and the paper was printed without the name. The next morning – fired for being too nice. He told me a “real” reporter had to have a stone heart and that the lady’s name was “news”. To this day (10 years later) whenever I see him I want to punch him in the throat… but the woman’s name was never published and that was worth it.

    Plus, my next writing job (technical writing) was wonderful – cool traveling and a TON of money!!

  54. melissa responded on 18 Nov 2011 at 9:21 pm #

    Taking crit is tough. Your writing is like a piece of you, especially if it’s something you really care about, and when someone doesn’t love it the way you do, it’s like they are talking to you personally.

    All constructive crit is going to hurt the ego. There really isn’t any way that someone can say they aren’t interested in your writing and make you feel good about it. He thinks your writing lacks a voice?

    I don’t know what exactly he criticized, but I agree with you that saying “it’s not interesting” is too vague to actually work with. What are you supposed to do with that?

    I suspect that this guy deals with writers all of the time, and probably isn’t used to working with someone who takes critique so personally. People who tell you their honest opinion are the most important people you will work with. There will be readers like us who tell you everything is awesome and you can’t get better, but that isn’t helpful either.

    He can’t help you while there is an emotional wall there, blocking all of the communication. But it was kind of dickish to just drop you like that. And I have to wonder from his questions if there was a little sexism at play here, too.

  55. Erica responded on 19 Nov 2011 at 10:17 pm #

    This guy sounds like a loser. I feel like most good editors should also be good writers, or have a good grasp of language, and he couldn’t express himself properly.

    I got fired from the first job I ever had. After 3 weeks. I was thirteen, making like $65 a week as a CIT at a day camp. I didn’t 100% get along with the counselor, who just happened to be our boss’ nephew. And I just happened to get replaced by HIS boss’ cousin or something.
    I learned about nepotism the hard way! yay.

  56. Mallory responded on 20 Nov 2011 at 2:54 pm #

    Just remember, you weren’t fired for a lack of skills or because you did something wrong. You were fired for doing something RIGHT. Your ability to speak up when you feel something is wrong, is what makes you such an interesting, honest and passionate writer. You write about feelings all the time, specifically feelings most people don’t want to acknowledge and certainly not talk about in a public blog. You are most likely not the first person that editor has not been able to work with and you probably will not be the last he has fired.

  57. Deanna responded on 20 Nov 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    Hey everyone. Kate gave me an idea about writing a piece on losing your job either fairly or unfairly. I had thought about it once before a long time ago, but this particular blog reminded me.

    If you have a story and if you don’t mind me using it, please send it to me via email with the Subject Title: My Job Story. I will NOT use your name and I may make a few minor changes (artistic license) but I will keep the story pretty much as is.

    My email is: DJpilates@aol.com.

    I really look forward to hearing from some of you. This will be fun.

  58. Val responded on 22 Nov 2011 at 1:30 pm #

    I hate him too.

    It sounds like he has one of those unfortunate personalities that we can all be grateful we don’t have.

    Can you imagine trying to go through life as an ass? It can’t be easy.

    I hope you never have to ever deal with him again. Ugh. I hate asinine people. love, Val

  59. Adrienne responded on 22 Nov 2011 at 1:57 pm #

    I got fired from a part-time retail job because they thought I was stealing money, which I’ve never done and certainly hadn’t done then. They took me up to the office and dictated this long apology letter to me that I was meant to write down word for word. And I did. Even though I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong.

    I was so afraid that if I didn’t do it they would call the police and a whole thing would start that I didn’t fight. Not for my job, mind you. I was actually about a week away from quitting when this happened. But, for my innocence.

    When I think about it, I still shudder at the fact that I didn’t stand up for myself more in that office. I still really wish that while they were telling me what to write I’d written down the truth and not apologized for something I didn’t do. I wish I’d told them to call the cops because I hadn’t stolen anything and I knew they couldn’t possibly have evidence to the contrary.

    But I didn’t. And I hate that little bit of suckage from my working past.

  60. Kate responded on 22 Nov 2011 at 1:58 pm #

    @Adrienne
    Oh my god. This story makes me angry for you.

  61. Anna responded on 23 Nov 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    As I was reading the last paragraphs about the unbearable fury of being helpless, I was agreeing with you sentence for sentence. I don’t have a firing story, but I have almost identical professor ones, and one that I am currently dealing with. “She was such a small person in my life, that I can’t imagine wasting time on her now.” is exactly what I needed to hear right now. Thank you for this post.

  62. Em responded on 23 Nov 2011 at 3:28 pm #

    I’ve been fired twice, two jobs in a row! In undergrad I worked in a restaurant run by misogynistic, sexual harassment superfans. It was kind of a fancy restaurant and they wanted the waitresses to wear heavy makeup, do our hair, press our uniforms, etc. and never took it seriously when I complained about harassment from customers, like one guy who literally grabbed my ass three or four times in one visit to the place. A customer ordered salmon, and when I brought it to her she asked for tartar sauce. I explained that we didn’t have it, and apologized. She asked if I could ask in the kitchen if they could make her some. I did– the chef became irate. He screamed at me, “You think we make tartar sauce?! This is fine dining, not fast food!! You don’t know what you’re doing!” Later that night, the same chef fired me loudly in front of the whole staff for “pissing [him] off”. The diners had been so happy with how I handled the situation that they had tipped me $200.

    The next job I had was working for a cray-cray professor at my school, in the internship office of the college I was in. A student had a document due for his internship and didn’t turn it in. When the prof asked him why, he said he tried to but no one was in the office– a lie to cover his ass. She believed him, and fired me on the assumption that I hadn’t shown up that day. The very next day, I got a job paying double what the internship office did, in another office on campus working for great people. I kept that job for 2.5 years and still use a reference from them.

    So I agree with Deb: stuff works out, and you realize in hindsight that people will do crazy stuff when they dislike you for no reason at all. And that there’s really nothing you can do except try to laugh about it, chalk it up to a good story, and move on.

  63. Beth responded on 23 Nov 2011 at 9:50 pm #

    Fired and told not to list on references (for fear of “repercussions”.) V. supportive family-style law-firm. I’m senior paralegal, but very open about the fact that I’m trying to finish my bachelor’s as English literature is my first love. When schedule got complex, I presented the situation, boss asked me to stay, switched my work schedule around to work with my school schedule–and everything was great–for eight some-odd months, until his niece needed a job, I was told (screamed at, alone in the office) that I was doing a horrible job (first complaint, ever), accused of stealing office supplies, and told to leave. When I tried to file for unemployment, I found he’d created a file of documents about alleged write-ups and conferences (none of which had occurred) which precluded me from getting unemployment. Lesson learned: never work for a family company–no personnel department.

  64. JessB responded on 24 Nov 2011 at 9:10 am #

    Wow Kate, that is super harsh. I’m so sorry that happened to you.

    I was fired from a job when I complained about being bullied, but first I was put through a performance management project, which consisted of impossible to meet targets to give them reasons to fire me.

    It was totally awful, and at it’s worst, I actually considered getting hit by a car on the way to work so I didn’t have to go to work. It was that bad.

    About a week after I was fired, I realised it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I have become a stronger person, more willing to say something about problems I have in the workplace (I didn’t say anything about the bullying till too late) and am about to finish studying to become a librarian (my life-long dream).

    Hopefully, you will have a fascinating time reading all of our stories, and know that something awesome is right around the corner. Sending you love.

  65. Leslie responded on 24 Nov 2011 at 11:12 am #

    I think it’s wonderful you stood up for yourself, for your writing, Kate. I think it says a lot about your values which is about being true to yourself. I think it’s pretty terrible when people actually reprimand you for standing up for your values.
    I was fired from my first job for being too quiet. Too quiet!! It doesn’t hurt anymore, but it sure did at the time. And it’s something I’ll never forget; I was fired for being myself.

  66. Kate responded on 26 Nov 2011 at 12:29 pm #

    @JessB
    These really are fascinating stories for me to read.
    Congratulations on your upcoming milestone! Librarians rock.

    My father-in-law, one of my favorite people ever, is a law librarian.

  67. Joy Daniels (@AuthorJDaniels) responded on 28 Nov 2011 at 4:30 pm #

    I was fired a month after coming back from maternity leave. Oh and they totally changed my job description while I was out. And I was a contractor for the Fed govt so they REALLY should have known better. so much for the FMLA.

    I worked with an older woman who was the biggest sourpuss and a man who could not stand conflict in any form. The two of them did not get along and I had to work with both. So who better to take out the tension on than me? It didn’t help that I go all “Emperor’s New Clothes” when it comes to conflict – like hey did anyone notice that you two are giving me contradictory instructions and refusing to talk to one another about them?

    I was fired over an email too. When I got another list of totally contradictory info I sent a very polite and professional email asking for clarification and saying that if X and Y were being added to the list then I wouldn’t be able to meet the deadline we all agreed upon earlier. The reply was that I would have to learn how to work under pressure. The following week I was told that the boss had decided not to renew my contract.

    The contract manager apologized and said that he had never seen such poor management skills in a supervisor. Small comfort. The good news is that less than a month later I found consulting work with a non-profit were I am appreciated – and no one blinks when I say I can’t work because it’s a chag :-) I’ve been working there for three years now and I love it.

    Good for you for speaking up for yourself – I am sorry you lost that gig but you deserve to work somewhere where your talent is appreciated and you are respected as a person. Don’t settle for anything less.

  68. Eat the Damn Cake » women asking for money responded on 05 Dec 2011 at 1:00 pm #

    [...] But also, I just got fired from my last gig for talking back to a man. [...]

  69. Paysh responded on 05 Dec 2011 at 1:35 pm #

    I think the inability to suck up is a rare and wonderful quality.

    “A guy who liked to tell me what writing was about. ‘To write well, you must first care. Care deeply,’ he said, telling me I wasn’t doing that.” <– It is so wrong on like 80 different levels that this guy said this to you.

    That took it to such a flashback-to-school place for me where it was like: AND WHO TOLD YOU I GAVE A DAMN WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT IT? Could you, like, explain to me what makes you qualified to give me this advice, without my asking for it? Except don't. Because there is no possible good answer you could give me because I decide whose advice is worthwhile to me, based on knowing them, or their writing or whatever the thing is, and admiring and/or respecting them (I mean, obviously, respecting them in a way that's beyond or different from the respect everyone deserves on account of existing).

    I really don't like it when people presume to be in some kind of position where it's OK or they have some kind of right to say things like this to you. I get antsy just thinking about it. It's not the same as giving someone technical advice or giving them your (possibly critical) opinion about something at all, which I feel differently about and think is totally OK and often worth considering, and reasonable, as long as I'm free to disregard that advice if I don't agree with it.

    Hmph. Yeah.

  70. Eat the Damn Cake » a funny thing happened at yoga responded on 26 Jan 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    [...] I can’t remember what I’ve ever worried about. I try. It’s weird. Why can’t I? I try to think of someone I really hate. Is there anyone? Maybe not. No one comes to mind (not even this guy). [...]