Monday, June 13, 2011

Firing and quitting: Are they similar?

What do you think or feel about the words "You're being let go"  or "Your position is being terminated" or "You're fired"?  For most people I think it brings panic, upset, turmoil, and rejection.  Thoughts wander inside your mind thinking that you're not good enough.  You didn't measure up.  You could have done better.  What did I do wrong?  What am I going to do now?
 Then those same thoughts can turn angry.  "What's his/her problem?" or " They didn't know what they had".  It's all part of the grieving process and somehow I think the "firee" feels better to blame the "firer".
I've had to do my share of hiring and firing over the years.  It's never easy.  And as I think back, the way I go about it has changed drastically.  When I was young I would fly off the handle.  Now I'm more mellow, and it's so much better for everybody.
The parting of ways, whether by firing or quitting, is just that.  Parting ways.  When my bass player of 15 years told me he was quitting, I was shocked, panicked, upset, and most of all sad.  He and I had spent more time together than we spent with our own families.  We were like brothers, joked like brothers, fought like brothers, knew each other as well as we knew ourselves. We both shed a lot of tears when he told me and especially on his last day.  I still miss him terribly but we have a great friendship.  One that will never cease.  Nonetheless, I had thoughts going through my  head too, "What am I going to do now?" "Will my fans stick with me?"  "Will promoters hire me?"  "Who will I get to fill his place?"  "I sure hope I treated him well." And yes eventually, my thoughts turned angry, not toward him, but toward the music business itself.  I blamed the music industry for being too difficult.  I thought "Do I really want to continue?"  "This is too hard, too much"  "I don't think I can keep doing this".
And if it weren't for my faith in God, I wouldn't have improved and changed.  I would have thrown in the towel.  That was one of the lowest points in my musical career.  But eventually things started to look up.  It wasn't easy and it took a lot of work.  But I did find another bass player.
Like anyone who has heard those words "You're fired" things will eventually look up.  Just like when I heard the words, "I'm quitting".  I went through the same grieving process as someone who was fired.  So please be mindful that it's a two- way street and parting ways is never easy no matter which side of the street you may be on.

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