I was listening to the latest In The Trenches earlier today, and found myself nodding my head in agreement when Kevin was talking about knowing someone’s being let go and having to disable accounts as it’s happening. It is easily one of the worst parts of the job. It’s a sickening feeling knowing someone’s going to be fired before they do, and having to continue to go about your day as if nothing’s happening. As a professional you do what needs to be done, as a human it makes for an uncomfortable situation, and can turn into something that comes between you and your users if not handled well.

On the other hand, after I left my last job, and was still doing consulting work for them, I witnessed the absolute worst way to handle a firing that I could have possibly imagined. They had no IT person, so the whole “disable accounts before they come out of the meeting” concept was out of the question anyway. Not that it mattered. First off, they posted an on-line ad for his job on an industry-specific job board before they had told him he was being fired. Someone I know who works in that industry saw the ad, and called me, knowing that I was still doing work for them, to get the scoop. I didn’t really have any. In turn, I called my former boss when I saw the ad, to see if I needed to come by that evening and disable accounts. I didn’t, because the person in question hadn’t actually been fired yet. Oops!

To make matters worse, when they finally did get around to telling this person they were being fired, rather than offer them a 30 day severance package, (It was an executive-level position)they simply let him continue working for 30 days. That’s right, they created a situation where the rest of the staff, including people who reported directly to him, knew he’d been fired, but still had to work with him. He had access to all the data and technical resources of the organization, he was still allowed to communicate and negotiate with vendors, among other things, for 30 days after he’d been fired.

All of this when they had no IT person on staff to even consider putting in some security precautions.

The sad thing is, I don’t think overlooking the dangers to network security like this is all that uncommon in the small business world. I’m willing to bet it happens every day.

Tags: Termination, InTheTrenches, Security

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  1. OMG… I can’t believe I just read what I read. I too wonder, how many others out there have witnessed such incidents.


  2. Unbelievable. What possible reason could a company have for keeping someone on instead of paying out the 30 days? I can think of NONE.

  3. Phil, I believe the stated reason was to “lessen the blow” for someone who was considered a friend of the CEO, but I can’t, for the life of me, see how it was preferably to just giving him a severence check!

  4. My favorite part was that your former supervisor asked you to keep the firing quiet. Um, maybe you should have thought about that before PLACING AN AD!

    Of course this place did the same thing with a classfied ad in the Sunday paper and by just hiring someone who basically had to go in and fire the person he/she was replacing. Episodes of the office should be written about this place.

  5. The stories I could tell …

    Well, maybe one. I worked in a small manufacturing plant with a handful of PC’s about 8 years ago. At that time I was a process engineer, and I also dabbled in IT “maintenance”.

    The company brought in someone from a computer consulting firm a few weeks prior to my termination meeting. They needed him to cut me off from what little network that was there. After the meeting I went to my desk to clean my things out, and when I tried to logon I got a countdown screen warning that my account would be de-activated (could not circumvent it). Talk about trust!?

    As an administrator now, I’ve thought about setting up some secret admin accounts and putting in some “code” if somebody tried to pull this kind of crap on me again, but I’m just not that vindictive. If you don’t want me to work here, tell me and I’ll go. This is not my life, and there’s other jobs.

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