Wow ... They Fired My Friend
August 12, 2014
It can be stressful for a staff whenever someone is fired, even if it is justified. An OM or PD has to plan the event so the process goes as smooth as possible. There is no such thing as a perfect time to let someone go, but I had a conversation with a personality who was put in a difficult position.
Jock: One of my best friends helped me get a job and it turned out the PD was actually hiring her replacement. I mean she and I used to go on double dates as far back as college; we both were even Mass Communications majors. I was out of work and she reached out and let me know her station was looking. Then what went down was unreal.
Coach: Okay, you have my attention, what happened?
Jock: I came to town and she even showed me around and taught me the board and the automation system. She even got me an appointment with her hairdresser. One of the hardest things in the world for women is to find a new hairstylist. It was like we were back in college. I had been there for about month, when she got some terrible news concerning her mom. She was diagnosed with a medical problem and my friend took a leave of absence to go be with her.
When she returned to work weeks later, the PD fired her and I was given her midday shift. The timing was awful and the PD told me afterward to not feel bad because her firing had been in the works for some time. In fact, the plan all along was to find her replacement and it was not to fill the 10p slot. It was all a fake-out. So I got her spot and they moved up a part-timer to the slot I thought I was hired for.
Not only did I feel awful, a lot of the staff thought I plotted to get her job while she was away. Even my friend started believing some of the things the other jocks and staff were saying. The PD assured me it was unfortunate timing but was planned. And that was the entire purpose for looking for someone. I felt so guilty; her mom is sick, she is a single parent with a little girl, and now I had her job. I feel like finding somewhere else to work because if they would do that to her after working here for 15 years, how good is this company to be with? It is hard to talk to her and even harder to go to work every day and look into faces, many of whom treat me like I'm a low-down dog. On the request lines, many of the listeners call and are not nice. They loved her because she did a lot in the community and was a really good jock. I just hate this entire situation that I have been put into. I am not sure what to do ... any advice would be welcomed.
Coach: Although it is hard, it is a business. You could not have prevented what happen to her; it apparently had been planned for some time. Right now your priority should be doing the best job you can do. You can console your friend and I am sure she does not blame you. Whatever the reason for her untimely firing, it had nothing to do with you.
When it comes to the staff, just be you and eventually they will get over it. The number-one thing is to keep focus. I suspect 15 years in, it might have been a money thing.
Jock: She was at the end of her contract and thought everything was good to go for another two years. She told me what to ask for before I even interviewed, but we've never discussed how much she was being paid.
Coach: Like I said, it sounds like a money thing. These days many companies make these decisions based on how much they can save and not necessarily on the amount being billed during a particular time slot or the contribution being made towards the cluster or station's bottom line. I am just trying to make you understand the realities of today's radio. Of course, there could have been other factors at work, too, but you'll never know unless she shares inner office memos and her job reviews.
Jock: I understand what you're saying ... this is just a very uncomfortable situation on and off the air. Thanks and I will take your advice to try and do my job and more or less wait until the rest of the jocks come around to liking me.
No matter whether it's a co-worker or you, the atmosphere around any job when someone is fired is always very sobering. Second-guessing the reasons don't undo the realities of the situation. The best thing to do is keep focused on what you are doing and don't let anything happening around you affect your work.