is it okay to fire someone close to Christmas?

This was originally published on December 16, 2011. (I’m reprinting some posts this week while I’m busy eating cookies and looking at shiny ornaments.)

A reader writes:

I have an employee who has performance issues that are well documented. In fact, he has been slated for termination several times and, in each instance, managed to convince a former manager that he should be allowed to retain his position. However, after making a major mistake which could cost us a large client, the time has come to part ways.

Given that we are just two weeks short of Christmas, I am curious as to how other individuals and organizations have handled such a situation? Do you terminate immediately, wait until after the holidays, or wait until the new year? In addition to doing what is right by this individual, we obviously don’t want to have any adverse affect on morale by terminating someone on Christmas Eve. Real life experiences would be appreciated. Thanks.

Here’s my take on it:

If keeping him on a few more weeks would cause harm to your business (i.e., he’ll cause real damage in that amount of time), then you need to act now. (And be generous with the severance if you can.)

But otherwise, deal with it for a couple of weeks more and do it right after the holidays. Reasons for this:

* Compassion. You don’t want to be someone who fires people right before Christmas, as long as you can avoid it without real harm.

* Morale of others. You don’t want your other employees to conclude that you’re a jerk who fires people right before Christmas.

By the way, this is yet one more good reason not to put this stuff off (which it sounds like was allowed to happen here). If you put it off rather than acting when you know you should, then you sometimes run into a situation which ends up making it harder to terminate — and not just the holidays. Imagine if you’d put it off and then he happened to file a claim for FMLA or ADA accommodation (unrelated to the performance issues) just as you were about to act. You could still proceed, of course, but now you’d have a sticky legal landmine to navigate, and your risk factor would go way up. So when you know you need to terminate, don’t drag it out.

And yes, most managers, being human, like to give people additional chances and like to avoid telling people that they’re not meeting our needs. And as a result, many managers prolong these situations when they shouldn’t. But you’ve got to do it, so resolve to resolve this as soon as the holidays are over.

P.S. I do not advocate this approach for relationship break-ups! If you’re waiting to break up with someone until the new year, stop leading them on and deal with it now.

{ 152 comments… read them below }

  1. PEBCAK

    The morale question really depends on how obvious the mistake is. When someone messes up a lot and gets to stay, that hurts morale more than letting someone go before the holidays.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      But if someone is getting fired because of work quality, you’re usually going to go through a process of warnings (whether it’s a PIP or something less formal). It’s going to take a few weeks, minimum, often longer (although I’d argue no more than 4-6 weeks; dragging it out for months is common be rarely makes sense.) In any case, since you’re going to go through that process first, the firing itself still shouldn’t need to happen right at Christmas.

      1. Jessa

        My issue about this is that if you fire after the holidays you may have someone who just spent money on their family and expected to be able to pay those credit card bills with their salary and now won’t have one. If I knew my income would go down in January there are things I would not do in December that I could afford if I was working but not if I wasn’t. Even if you do PIP and stuff a lot of people are in denial about those things. Obviously things happen that cause people to lose jobs in an unexpected manner (bad bosses, layoffs, etc.) but I’d be worried about what someone was going to do for Christmas that a job loss might impact.

        1. Kara

          Sometimes that would be unavoidable, regardless of whether or not you fire the employee the few weeks before or the few weeks after. The employee may have already purchased plane tickets, expensive presents, etc., that would not make a difference whether you fired them now or after Christmas, because the money was already spent. As for the ‘putting things on credit cards that need to be paid off in January,’ honestly, I don’t see that as the employer’s problem. If the employee is living outside his or her means, even at Christmas-time, then it would never be a good time to fire him or her, and the employer can’t always be responsible for their employee’s finances.

          1. Jamie

            Plane tickets, yes, but expensive presents can returned and less pricy versions bought before they are given.

            Definitely not the employers problem, but with the exception of non-refundable tickets spending can still be reversed. I remember the year we got a big screen tv as a family present, if I’d have lost my job right after the new year it would have been a giant reminder of how I didn’t see it coming – and it’s a lot harder to return something once it’s been given.

            1. Jessa

              Presents can be returned IF you know before they’re given, if you get told AFTER Christmas this does not work very well.

          2. Jessa

            It may not be living outside one’s means. If you’re able to pay the cards off reasonably on your salary. Not everyone always spends cash on everything.

            1. Yupindeed

              True not everyone pays cash for things, but they should otherwise it is actually living outside the means you have available to you when you make the purchase. That’s the whole point of living within one’s means – you have it available when you buy. Buying on credit to pay off even a month later is not living within your means because you’re using the credit lender’s means to pay for it.

              1. Ask a Manager Post author

                Yeah, I think I’m going to argue that if you don’t have the funds to pay it until a month later (or longer), you probably can’t afford it.

                There are advantages to putting things on credit cards anyway, but if you couldn’t actually pay cash for it in the moment if you had to, that would worry me. It means that you’re spending all your money paycheck to paycheck and don’t have a cushion of savings.

                (To be clear, I understand that not everyone is in a position to avoid this … but you can do a very nice Christmas for little money, so that would be the best solution there.)

                1. Yupindeed

                  There are definitely advantages to using credit cards (cash back, airline miles, other rewards, building credit). I see nothing wrong with using the credit card to gain those advantages IF you have the cash available right now to pay it off. That way, you’re using the card to help you in that you get rewards, but you also have the cash on hand to pay for it. Win-win there. It’s definitely not credit cards that are the problem, it’s the way they’re used.

                2. Gail L

                  I think the focus is too much on buying on credit. It’s still true that a person who saved $500 to spend on presents might wish to know about a layoff so she can spend $200 instead and save the rest.

              2. Bea W

                I pay for everything with my credit card just for the points and pay the full balance. Those charges are for everyday needs like groceries and they get paid in full every month. I know I’m not the only person who does this, and it’s not about needing to use credit. It’s convenience and rewards. I also think it is more secure than carrying around cash or checks or using my debit card. If someone steals your debit card and successfully uses it, you’ll find yourself in trouble pretty quickly when your bank account has no money in it. Once upon a time having a credit card was more about actually buying things on credit that you might not otherwise be able to pay for in cash all at once. That is no longer the case.

                When it comes to losing your job, it won’t matter if you paid for Christmas in cash or credit, that’s money you no longer have that you would have saved if you knew before hand. Budgets are made based on the income you expect to have. Someone makes $X per month and that’s what they budget for to stay within their means. Suddenly not having a job tosses any budget out the window. It’s not limited to people who are extravagant.

          3. Yupindeed

            Agreed. I live on a cash only system now since I had major credit trouble due to a layoff. I’m just now climbing out of the hole caused by not being able to pay credit cards. I’ve been doing cash-only for almost four years now and it’s actually very freeing. If I can’t afford it, I don’t pay it. We’re experiencing some super lean times this year so we didn’t get Christmas presents for anyone. Even if we had the money to buy, my MO now is to plan in advance to be able to pay for things at the point of purchase. If I can’t do that, it doesn’t get bought. Easy. I realize not everyone does this and I don’t judge because I didn’t do it for a long time. But I was forced to go cash only by circumstances and it ended up being one of the best things to ever happen to me. I’m a lot better with money now than I once was.

            1. Bea W

              I used to live cash only because I made so little, had no credit history, and could not get a credit card. That wasn’t a bad thing, because it taught me what you learned after finding yourself in a hole, and I kept those habits after getting and building up credit. When I did get a credit card it was basically used only in a pinch, if I had a car repair, also a life saver when my refrigerator bit the dust. Now I’m charging almost everything because I get rewards, but still have that now ingrained mindset asking “Do I have cash to pay for this now?” before buying anything.

        2. LondonI

          Not the employer’s problem. When I was a minimum-wage temp, I got into the habit of saving money for Christmas from the summer onwards. This was precisely so I would not have to deal with credit card bills in January. It was hard to find the money at first, but it was do-able.

          It’s a habit I still stick to and I find it much more fun to start saving up for Christmas in August than to be paying off bills until April.

          Really, the employer cannot be held responsible for the employee’s personal budgeting system. (And also, the prudent employee should be putting money aside separately in case s/he is faced with redundancy. Anything can happen to an employee at any time. It doesn’t have to involve a firing.)

          1. Bea W

            But that bud geting system us based on having a steady paycheck. That money you saved specifically for the holidays will be needed for living expenses instead.

            1. LondonI

              I do see what you’re saying. I guess one factor would be how long before Christmas the news came. By 23rd or 24th December, most stuff would have been bought already.

              1. Jamie

                Bought, but if you haven’t given it yet it can still go back.

                Jewelry, high end electronics…all that stuff can go back and less expensive items bought before they’re given.

                1. Bea W

                  Exactly. If you haven’t already given it to someone, it can go right back. It may be inconvenient, but not near as inconvenient as not having extra cash to save or having a larger credit card bill to pay in January.

        3. Jamie

          Maybe it’s because I am the President of the Last Minute Shoppers Club and right before Christmas I have no immunity to impulse buys this time of year (in sharp contrast to how frugal I am the rest of the year), but I’d rather be told before than after.

          Of course an employees budget isn’t an employers problem ever, and I see the logic in waiting, but I just know for me my holiday spending would be very different if I were unemployed – so I’d want to know.

          1. Ruffingit

            I would want to know as well. It would make me do things differently outside of just the money management situation. I would immediately begin job hunting and getting my resume in order and it would be nice to be able to begin that search immediately when everyone else is not bothering because they think no one is hiring during the holiday season.

        4. Bea W

          This is one reason I would not recommend waiting. Of soneone knows they won’t have a job, they can adjust their plans and budget. What is also awful is allowing someone to believe they’ll have a paycheck after the holidays to pay the bills. Ouch. That’s really less fair than anything else I can think of as reasons to wait.

          1. pgh_adventurer

            But this person has been warned multiple times that they were at risk of being fired, and just made a major mistake. Surely they know their situation is unstable–this isn’t a firing coming out of left field.

            1. Jessa

              This is a presumption. There are a lot of bad bosses out there. Obviously one who is asking here, has probably done this, but still.

              Also as Bea said, I know for instance that in the past we’ve spent a pot before Christmas because working Christmas, New Years and Martin Luther King in January meant holiday pay (double time and a half) that meant it would all be paid off by end of January. Two cheque household in industries that are open 365. Working holidays was HUGE money for us and my company had an annual bonus in January too.

            2. Jessa

              Surely this firing could be. People are blind sometimes to their own behaviour. They think they’re DOING the PIP. Also some companies even half decent ones, are not intending for someone on a PIP to actually make it back from one.

              1. Kimberlee, Esq.

                Yeah, I’d bet that in the majority of cases, the company is NOT expecting the employee to recover from their PIP, while the employee expects that they will, regardless of what they’re being told. It’s an odd bit of information asymmetry that might be unavoidable, but is the cause for oh so many problems.

                1. Saturn9

                  Fwiw, the company I’m with currently will give an employee every indication that they’ll be able to salvage their job if they just follow the PIP (call center, so coachings are deskside and nothing is secret).

                  Supervisor says “Meet expectations X, Y and Z. We’ll see how you’re doing in a week.” … “Doing great. Just keep improving X, Y and Z.” … “Still good. You’re within the metrics for X and Y, try to really hit Z.” … “Excellent. You’re within all the metrics.” … [two weeks pass with no coaching, you’ve survived the PIP!] … “Metric Z is slipping. You’re fired.”

                  (The company I’m currently with blows. Obviously.)

                2. Bea W

                  Totally this. The employee may be fully expecting to salvage their job and even think they are improving and meeting the PIP, while the employer is pretty much done and just biding their time before letting the person go.

        5. Gail L

          +1 I had a manager who laid people off prior to a major holiday for this reason. They had plenty of notice and severance. It may have depressed their holiday, but it gave them more room to plan and save, if that’s what they wanted to do.

          I had been confused by the policy initially as well, but after he explained I thought it made sense. Better to give people a choice about changing holiday behavior.

  2. Justmary

    I was let go from a job three days before Christmas and my boss was upset because now she didn’t have anyone who could work New Years.

    1. Kara

      That’s insensitive. Hmm, they should have thought about that before they let you go. I had an employer do that to me after the 4th of July once. They needed me to open and close for them because they were taking a week-long vacation, and when they got back on Monday they let me go.

      1. Ruffingit

        That is super shitty. For real. They knew they were going to fire you, but they made sure to use you one last time so they could go on vacation. I don’t know, something about that just stinks to me. It’s like saying “You suck enough for us to dump you, but not enough for us to inconvenience our own plans…” UGH.

        1. Kara

          Lol, you’d think even worse if you knew the reason they were laying me off. They claimed it was because I wasn’t punctual enough. The real reason is that I was working there as a paid internship at a lower rate until I got my license (this was a chiropractic office, and I was in between massage school and taking my state boards). I had just passed my written exam the week before, and was scheduled to take my practical, which is impossible to fail, so they knew I’d be licensed within a month and they’d have to pay me more, according to our original agreement when they hired me. They chose to pick that time to ‘let me go’. Hmm…

          1. Ruffingit

            Oh nice. What jerks, but it doesn’t surprise me. I’ve seen that before myself. Employers who fire people before they have to pay them more or because they can hire someone else at a lesser rate. It’s just messed up. And then they do always claim some ridiculous reason. Sorry that happened to you, but you are clearly better off not having continued to work for them.

          2. Sugar

            If they didn’t want to pay you more and made up some lame excuse to let you go then they’re not somebody you want to work for anyway.

  3. Blue Dog

    This was a question I wrote two years ago when I had just been promoted to oversee a team of 15 of my former coworkers. I ended up waiting until the first week of January before letting him go.

    It actually was a good thing. It had needed to happen for a long time, and he wasn’t the last one to go. I ended up having to let 4 people go all together.

    Productivity went through the roof. The funny thing is that a couple poorly performing employees will bring down both the morale of a whole team AND the performance, as people will only work as hard as “John”. But once “John” is no longer around, everyone will step up their game. And, believe it or not, the rest of the team was glad to see him leave because they didn’t feel it was fair that someone was not holding up their end.

    Bottom line: letting go of non-performing employees is NOT easy. But it is necessary and healthy.

    1. Jen in RO

      I love hearing from the OPs on reposts! And it’s nice to hear that everything was OK (for the company) in the end. One low performer can really ruin a team..

    2. Rebecca

      You have a great point. The problem employee in our office is the boss’s friend, so she is in no danger of going anywhere. Sadly, the boss looks out for her and makes sure her work is done, and shifts work away from her that she’s not completing to keep her off upper management’s radar.

      The rest of us just don’t care anymore. It’s a real drag on all of us.

    3. Anonymous66

      Yes, yes, yes. Low performers that are not addressed bring down all the other employees. I just left a job because the high performers were killing themselves and the low performers were tolerated.

      Would we treat the situation differently if the employee did not celebrate Christmas?

      1. Chinook

        I think that would be discrimination based on religion and/or culture if you decided on when to fire them based on whether or not they celebrated Christmas.

    4. Ann Furthermore

      It’s great to hear that it all worked out. Having to let people go is absolutely the worst part of being a manager, even if the person has brought it on themselves.

      A poorly performing person will drag down the whole team, like you said. Equally poisonous is a person with a bad attitude. It just permeates everything and affects everyone. I’m not talking about people having bad days where they’re grumpy, I’m talking about people who, day in and day out, gripe about their jobs, the company, their salary, and so on. That kind of negativity is exhausting.

      1. Ruffingit

        UGH yes, that is the truth!! Negativity is so hard to deal with on a daily basis and it literally is exhausting. After dealing with someone negative, either listening to them on the phone or being around them in person, I often have to just go lay down on my bed or sit quietly in the car or whatever. The energy is so bad, it’s like you have to let it dissipate before you can move on to doing something else in your day. Working with people like that is horrid. Been there.

      2. VintageLydia

        +1

        Speaking from experience, it isn’t any less exhausting BEING that person! Why I wasted so much energy on largely inconsequential gripes, I’ve no idea. Word to the wise for fellow complainers: if it’s that bad, find another job. Even if everything suddenly becomes perfect, you’ve poisoned the well already. You’ll ALWAYS find something else to bitch about! No job is perfect, and even most really terrible jobs have an upside (even if that upside is only a paycheck.) Deal with the problems you can deal with and try to be a positive force for change, but simple griping gets you no where.

    5. Ed

      Agreed. Doing extra work because a slacker was let go doesn’t bother me at all. Doing extra work because of an incompetent co-worker drives me crazy, especially when I know they make about the same salary as me.

  4. Kerry

    I’ve often thought it would be easier – not necessarily better, but easier – if we treated personal relationships like job issues.

    “I appreciate your work in the movie-choosing area, but I’m afraid I’m going to need to see some serious improvement in kissing if this relationship is to continue. I’ve assigned you a mentor, my ex-boyfriend Ben, who has some demonstrated skills in this field.”

    1. Steve

      Risky mentoring plan. If he rejects Ben’s help, he’s bound to fail. If he accepts, and Ben REALLY is that good … well, you may have a whole new set of relationship issues.
      “You still don’t kiss as well as Ben!”
      “Oh yeah? Well YOU DON’T EITHER!”

    2. Anon

      Depends on what you’re talking about. One of my exs treated a 2 year best friend relationship like a business relationship when he suddenly decided it was no longer worth his time rather than investing in a PIP. Personal relationships are far messier than business ones and while you can transfer some general principles to how you operate in a personal relationship, you should generally treat them separately. Particularly given one is all about leaving the drama at home and the other one is involved in the personal drama to create a relationship, including all the dirty and nasty bits.

  5. Kate

    I let someone go a few days before Christmas last year. In the week previous she had come in to work 2 hours late and so hungover (and admitted it) she fell asleep at her desk twice, got sick and couldn’t do any work and was sent home. Then 2 days later she was 4 hours late (both times she didn’t call) and then the next day 1 hour. She was hired specifically to help with the Christmas rush. I didn’t give it a second thought and have no regrets.

    1. fposte

      I think that’s perfectly reasonable–you’re talking a short-term employee and behaviors that you could have fired her on the spot for. It’s the longer-term employee who’s not a massive screwup but who isn’t cutting the mustard where timing becomes more elective.

      1. Kate

        True. We usually kept Christmas hires through Valentine’s Day and some permanently if they were great though so it was about 6 weeks earlier than expected.

    2. Ann Furthermore

      Nor should you have given it a second thought. This person sounds like she did not even have enough sense to come in out of the rain.

  6. Brandy

    I have to comment from the side of employees currently working with someone who only has a job because it’s Christmas. My coworker has a TERRIBLE work ethic, is burned out, has had MAJOR personal issues in the last few months and has all but given up. Having to work with that every day is terrible for the morale of those around this person. It absolutely makes me dread going in on the days I have to work with them (today!) and everybody that has to work around them asks how they’re allowed to have their job while we all work out butts off. Knowing that person was gone because they no longer desered their position would offer a HUGE boost of morale, even if it were on Christmas Day itself.

  7. Cat

    The thing that would worry me is that – if you haven’t put the person on a PIP – the longer they’re just kind of left there after their mistake, the more they’re going to assume that nothing is going to happen. Then when they are fired for it, it’s going to be more of a shock.

    If they are on a PIP, that’s fair warning and also should be fair warning to cut their spending before the holidays. On the other hand, if you’ve already made the determination that they’re getting fired, does it make sense to take them through the PIP process when nothing can result?

    If they had been on a PIP before the big mistake, that does seem like a different scenario – they were on notice and they know it’s going to be reviewed at some point that might not be immediately obvious. But otherwise, I think maybe I tend to think it makes sense to notify before the holidays. Assuming it’s, like, December 17th or earlier, to pull a random date out of a hat; after that, you’re probably stuck.

  8. Wakeen's Teapots Ltd.

    I make hard decisions and do tough things all year long. I’m not firing somebody two weeks pre Christmas unless they bring a machete to work.

    Anything that isn’t harmful can wait, Merry Christmas to me. :)

    1. Chinook

      I would hope that bringing a machete to work would be grounds to let someone go the moment they put the machete down.

  9. Anonymous

    I used to work for a company that did not allow terminations after early November unless the person was dangerous or some other extenuating circumstance. If you had someone on a PIP, you had to wind it up by then or you were stuck until after New Year’s.

  10. a.c

    What about letting the person go now, with a severance that lasts until after New Years? If you’re going to let him work until after New Year’s anyway, then you probably have the money to pay him until then. And if his work quality is poor, then I don’t see much reason to keep him there dong low quality work. But I guess I’m pretty much always in favor of severance if it can be done. (Of course, not in egregious cases, like theft, etc.)

    1. BCW

      I think thats a pretty good suggestion, although its not JUST the money that factors into not wanting to fire someone around Christmas.

      I’d go with this, or just tell them now that their last day will be January 15. You give them some time to get their things in order, make any big changes needed, but they don’t have to go home and tell their family they got fired the day before Christmas.

      1. Ex-Mrs Addams

        This would be exactly my advice, with the proviso that the employee already understands that they may be fired and they have shown no warning signs that they might flip out at the news. The last thing you want is someone coming into work for a month, knowing they’ve lost their job and potentially sabotaging company projects/property etc.

        There’s also a media/PR angle here – if the press hear that your company (especially if it’s a large company) fired/let go of employees right before Christmas, the company won’t come out of it well, regardless if the firing was justified or not.

  11. Lora

    There’s a lot of timing things, not just Christmas, that are horrible to get fired though. I’ve worked for places that fired people within weeks of their purchasing a large home, going on pricey vacations, etc.

    I did have to fire someone at the beginning of December, but we gave him a reasonable severance package to get him through January. He was costing us $13k/month. It sucked, but it was a question of postponing important business purchases and having to turn down projects from clients who wouldn’t have him on their site, or keeping him on, when we could have room in our 2014 budget to hire someone who could bring in some billable hours. Since client proposals are generally in terms of 30 days to accept/negotiate an offer, we just could not wait to know whether we had staff to support a proposal or not.

    1. AnonK

      I once had to let someone go who was in the middle of a very messy divorce. It was hard to keep that from interfering with the facts – he was a terrible employee who was dragging the entire department down. In fact, if I combined the awfulness of every other problem employee I ever had, it still didn’t come close to this guy. But that doesn’t mean you lose basic human compassion. I remember being worried if he was going to make it through the night after we had to have him physically removed (he went from apologetic to begging to tears to lunging across the table at me). I hope he found peace wherever he wound up.

      These are the fun things that no amount of coursework in your MBA prepares you for.

      1. Not So NewReader

        I tried explaining this type of situation to an undergrad prof once. She said “oh that never happens.”

        hmmm.

  12. Anon

    We chose to let someone go this morning, but we paid his salary and his COBRA costs thru the end of January. He had had 3 performance plans (I know, I know), he was working in a small office and basically sucking the morale out of the air. He knew it was coming, and we decided it would be best for everyone to get it over with. In general, I don’t approve of the timing, and I did question as to whether or not we could wait, but after I heard what was going on in that office, I agreed that we should go ahead. Not the best start to the morning….

    1. BCW

      I’m curioius, did he do something super awful Friday? It just seems that if he had 3 improvement plans, you knew it was a problem months ago, and I don’t see how another week or 2 (when at least 2 days are holidays) would have really made that uch of a difference.

      1. Anon

        One thing is that he is leaving town to see family tonight, and his manager thinks that the chance to potentially stay with them for longer would be something he will appreciate. But another thing is that the PIP expires today, and he hasn’t done a single thing in regards to the information he was supposed to put into in it. Our company has a history (clearly) of not following up properly, and we are trying to get our managers to follow thru and do what they are meant to.

        1. BCW

          I’m not trying to come down on you here, so please don’t take it that way. However the first point is a big leap, to assume that he’d get fired and want to stay with his family. I know that would be the LAST thing I’d want to do. Its bad enough having it yourself, but being with your mom who would look at you like you need taking care of would be worse.

          Aside from that. If the PIP expired today, well I do get it. But you guys really put yourself in the position to have to fire someone 2 days before Christmas by doing that. Why not have it expire Dec 31? While I get holding management accountable, to me there is also a bit of compassion. Not saying to keep him on indefinitely, but 2 days before Christmas is a bit cold.

          1. some1

            I have to agree with BCW here. People react to job losses very differently. Some people feel a lot of shame and don’t want to tell loved ones until they absolutely must.

            1. Anon

              It wasn’t really my decision, so I’m absolutely not taking it personally, don’t worry.

              In this case, the employee was going to be traveling a great distance to see family for a short time. His manager was pretty clear on the situation, and actually offered (which we had pre-approved) to pay the difference for his plane ticket so that he could stay for longer.

              Agreed on choosing the end date, but that’s what they did, and there isn’t any fixing it now. Really, I do think the serverance was reasonable under the circumstances and it was the best thing for everyone.

      1. Ruffingit

        Me too, that is extreme. But, it’s probably something like the OP wrote where there was just very poor management that allowed this.

      2. Jessa

        This too. I would think that a first PIP would say something like “having to go to a second PIP is grounds for firing.” Unless they were for WILDLY different things (one for attendance which was totally fixed, and one for some kind of performance thing, for instance.)

        1. Anon

          Yes, well. These sorts of practices are a problem, and we’re working on eliminating them. Historically, my company hasn’t had a lot of “backoffice” roles (finance, legal, HR, risk/compliance), but now we do have more support, and growing.

          I wasn’t here when the first two plans were in place, but my understanding is that he met the requirements of the second PIP, but barely. He really wanted to stay, and he has friends who work here (I KNOW), so after the second PIP, they changed his job in hopes that it would be a better fit. A year-ish and another 60 day PIP later, here we are. I don’t know the deal with the first PIP.

  13. Chinook

    There is also the optics of whether or not you took the employee’s mistake seriously. In the eyes of both the customer and coworkers, letting the employee stick around for a few weeks may look like you didn’t take the mistake seriously. If you feel bad about letting them go, there is nothing stopping you from paying out the two weeks notice.

  14. The Other Me

    In 2008 I was let go from my job on Christmas Eve. I don’t celebrate Christmas so it wasn’t a big deal that way – but it was a tough time because there was nothing really for me to do job seeking wise until after New Years.

    I was not let go for performance issues though, it was a reduction in staff.

    1. Chris80

      This is far worse to me than if someone is being fired for performance issues. Laying people off the day before Christmas – people that were presumably all decent employees – well, that’s just cold. Sorry that happened to you.

  15. AnonK

    Not a lawyer, but my personal experience.

    Had a guy who was off and on PIPs for a couple of years. He was passed around departments like a hot potato, but always seemed to show just enough improvement to save his job. He was also a protected class, and played the race card a few times when being disciplined. It was a very sensitive issue.
    One year before Christmas, he made a procedural mistake that cost several thousands of dollars to correct. In the grand scheme of things, it was far from his biggest screwup and something that I thought was correctable. But the mistake was extremely visible and was noticed at the C level of the company. The order came in – get rid of him.
    I spent several hours on the phone with HR and legal, seeing what we could do to put off the firing until the new year. What legal told me was that given his previous (unfounded) claims of discrimination, they were fully expecting a wrongful termination suit. And if this action was so bad that he became a liability to the company, termination must be swift. Otherwise, his suit may find traction.
    So I did it. I didn’t like it. But it was best for the team and the company. I have no idea if he ever did file a lawsuit, but the words from the legal team seem to make sense to my lay-woman ears.

    1. Jessa

      This makes sense though, there’s a logical reason to fire now rather than later. Because it could cost the company a lot of money.

    2. Ruffingit

      I think that falls along the lines of “If things were so bad for so long, why didn’t you fire him before? It must be because he was a protected class…” I’m guessing that’s where legal was going there and it does make sense. If a person is allowed to get away with ridiculous and then grievous actions and is not fired, but all of a sudden is dumped off, you have to wonder what the reasons are and I can see someone making a good protected class argument here (not that that was the reason, but I can see being able to make the argument in those circumstances).

  16. Jake

    At my current company a PIP truly is nothing more than a warning that you’re getting fired soon. In 2.5 years I’ve only seen one person on a PIP out of 150 and he got fired right afterwards. Everybody, including him knew it was just a formality.

    By the sounds of the comments a PIP isn’t a death sentence in all organizations. How common are PIPs?

    1. BCW

      I got one once for some fairly dumb reasons. There was some validity there, but it was mostly about a personal dislike between me and 2 bosses.

      Anyhow, at this job it was essentially just to be a paper trail that if they did fire me (which they didn’t) that they had a paper trail and I was given the chance to correct my mistakes. That way they could justify it to others if it looked like I was fired out of the blue without cause (since it was clear to everyone that this manager hated me)

    2. Judy

      Well, in my experience, at several large companies, both had 5 level forced ranking performance systems. If you received the lowest rank, it was firing or a PIP. If you received the second lowest rank, it might be a PIP. So you were guaranteed at least 5% of your people either fired or on a PIP and another 10% that might be on a PIP.

      1. Judy

        And unless you’re HR or a manager, how do you know who is on a PIP? I guess someone could tell you, maybe. But my guess would be you wouldn’t know.

        1. Jake

          Nothing stays private here. Everybody knows about every write-up and everybody knows about every PIP. Or at least very close to it.

    3. HR lady

      As an HR professional, I’ve seen many PIPs over the years. I’ve seen some where the employee did turn around their performance and kept their job, and I’ve seen some who didn’t.

      I’ve also seen some who ended up resigning before the end of the PIP timeframe – sometimes the PIP is a wake-up call that your manager does not agree with you about what it takes to be successful in your job, and so honestly sometimes employees just say to themselves “I can’t or don’t want to do what my manager wants me to do — I just need to get another job.” I think that is a reasonable thought process.

      And by the way, I’ve seen many situations where the manager very much wanted the employee to be able to improve their performance – PIPs definitely are not always just a formality.

      1. AnonK

        I was on a PIP once that I’ll go to my grave saying I did not deserve. It was an obvious retaliation for something I did that made me outshine my manager and suddenly I was in conversations to be promoted to his peer. He was a real bully and he was very bothered by this. The improvement areas on the PIP were so petty I even hired legal counsel to protect myself because I too had always seen them lead to terminations. However, 3 weeks in, I was offered my dream job out of the blue. I chose to resign with HR present, just because the relationship with my boss had deteriorated. HR’s reaction was priceless – “we told you that this would happen if you used the PIP as a punishment rather than a development tool! We told you we didn’t support this PIP!” By then, I was uninterested in counter offers or all the make goods HR was offering. I’d like to think I would’ve taken the new job if I wasn’t on the PIP, but the uncertainty of my situation really made it an easy decision to move on.
        It’s the one black mark on my career that has always had exceptional performance reviews. I should feel bad about it, but I got my affirmation from HR that it wasn’t appropriate so hard to dwell on it. It’s also driven me to use a PIP only as a last resort when I’m 100% OK with losing the employee – through their choice or mine.

        1. Ann Furthermore

          But how awesome that you got to actually see the smackdown of your awful manager by HR.

          I had a director once that was a bit like that — didn’t like anyone else to challenge her or do anything other than take everything she said as gospel. Not long after she started, she and I faced off over a foreign exchange/currency valuation accounting issue, and it turned out that I was right and she was wrong. Oh my, she did not like that one bit. I worked in her organization for about 2 1/2 years, and for most of that time my boss was a great buffer between the director and me. Then my boss left, and I got a new boss, and things went downhill in a hurry. Fortunately, I was able to transfer to another department.

        2. Bea W

          The PIP as retaliation and punishment was disgustingly common at one employer. The Big Boss who did that actually had no intention of firing anyone. It was just a tool in her bullying arsenal. Her goal was to just torture them until they resigned. I managed to escape there without a PIP, probably by virtue of seeing the writing on the wall and GTFO before she had a chance to go there. Sure, my boss would reassure me that I would not be fired, but the reason I did not have to worry about being fied (because Big Boss doesn’t fire people, just tortures them.) was not so reassuring.

      2. Elizabeth West

        I deserved mine, but the manager said he really wanted me to improve, and that was the reason he was using the PIP instead of just firing me. I did improve, because I figured if they went ahead and fired me, at least I could say I tried. When they cut my job in the restructuring and I got laid off (I was not the only one, btw), I was told in no uncertain terms that 1) it was NOT related to my performance, and 2) I was eligible for rehire at another BigOrg company.

      3. Not So NewReader

        Similar story: Family member was given a week off without pay for a transgression that the boss could not prove my FM did this. The intermediate supervisor told the boss “What did you do that for? You just gave Employee a week to go job hunting!”

        Sure enough. FM bubbled to the surface with a new and BETTER job. The supervisor just had to say to the boss, “See, I told you SO.”

        So boss decided that he was going to do everything to make sure the FM did not get COBRA. But my FM did not apply for COBRA. It was worth going without insurance for a bit to get away from this toxic-toxic boss.

    4. ThursdaysGeek

      I was on one several jobs ago, but at the time, I didn’t even know what PIP really meant. I did know that I was already working hard and doing as well as I could (in a different position to what I had been doing, and one for which I wasn’t trained for). I didn’t know that it could lead to a firing, but I could tell that there was no way to please that new boss, so I quit. (He was let go about a year later :), so it wasn’t just me.)

      1. Sugar

        Those people wind up having strokes and heart attacks, because nobody can meet their expectations. They have no business being bosses.

    5. Saturn9

      How common they are seems to vary a lot by industry.

      The PIP I was on at my current job was due to an attendance issue (it was legit: I had pneumonia and was physically unable to do my job) and the extent of it was basically “If you call in sick one more time in the next six months, you’re fired.”

      They made it very clear that my potential future firing would not be a result of health issues, it would be a result of my continued absences (… which were a result of my health issues but I admire the huge brass ones it took to say that to me with a straight face).

      Cut to ten months later. I’m a top performer in my department and get regular praise for being The Best At Call Center Hell(TM). But! I am dreading winter illness season for its ability to undo all of that.

      1. Judy

        Was the company not large enough for FMLA or were you not there for that long? It seems like that would be a good way to handle it.

        1. Judy

          I guess I mean that I had a friend and her husband was diagnosed with cancer. She was going to need some time off to take him to treatments, like 1 day every 2 weeks if everything went well. She had vacation time to cover that, as a long term employee, she had 4 weeks per year. “A little birdie” took her aside and mentioned some things that happened to someone else in that circumstance, and she filled out the paperwork for intermittent FMLA. Even though she took less time than her vacation allotment that year, she’s convinced that it saved her job. At least once, her boss brought up that she was missing a lot of work, and she had to remind him of the FMLA staus.

  17. some1

    I worked for a company that used layoffs to get rid of low performers and people they didn’t like. They had one round the day before Thanksgiving, and one two weeks before Christmas.

  18. Ann Furthermore

    The best way I ever saw a layoff handled (I know it’s not the same thing…the OP is talking about firing someone for performance issues) was when I worked for a large software company in the consulting division.

    It was a pretty standard rule (thought not written anywhere) that once you rolled off a project, you had 45-60 days to line up another gig or you’d be let go. The big joke among the consultants was that you never wanted your manager to call you and say, “Could you come into the office on Friday? And be sure to bring your laptop?”

    Anyway, in December of one year they decided they needed to lay people off. But they didn’t just cut everyone loose. In early December they notified the people whose jobs were being eliminated. Then they were given until the end of the first week in January to find another job within the company, and if that didn’t work out, then they’d be laid off. And of course get a severance package and everything else.

    I really thought that was the nicest way to handle layoffs that I’ve ever seen. This way, people knew what was coming, and had that information before they spent huge amounts of money on Christmas. And they had time to decide if they wanted to try and move to another department, or just start updating their resumes so they’d be ready to kick their job search into high gear on January 1. Layoffs suck, no doubt, but this was the only one I’ve ever seen that seemed to take the welfare and state of mind of the employees into consideration.

    1. ThursdaysGeek

      I was laid off about a week before Christmas at a long ago job. I’d heard through a reliable grapevine that it was coming, but when I asked my boss about it, saying that if so, I’d like to get my projects all documented and things ready to hand over, he said he couldn’t tell me. That was not the way to do it.

    2. Bea W

      My company did something similar though the timing was not during the holidays. I had 9 months notice, and if I didn’t get another position internally, I would get severance that included continuation of my health benefits. Everyone who got notice was also hooked up with an “outplacement” agency (onsite the day notice was given) to assist people with updating resumes and interviewing skills and job search. It was known to be a good program that people found beneficial. There was also an EAP rep onsite talking to every employee who was part of the RIF and offering their services. Not everyone got 9 months notice. Some had a couple weeks or until the end of the week, but with the severance packages, and having support programs reps on site, no one was just left twisting in the cold. I was impressed with the compassion of everyone involved. If you’re going to lay off employees, this is the way to do it. I had only had my job for 3 months.

      The prolonged notice was tough emotionally, but overall I considered that an okay tradeoff for having that safety net of time.

  19. Ruffingit

    On the topic of breaking up a personal relationship before the holidays, I heard this on the radio a few weeks ago:

    Bob decided he wanted to break up with Cindy. They had been together for 18 months and they fought a lot, he was tired of it, etc. So he was going to wait until the holidays were over before doing it. Cindy tells Bob she’s pregnant. Should he still break up with her or what?

    1. pgh_adventurer

      No. Once you bring a kid into the mix, you have a responsibility to stay and try to work it out.

      1. Zillah

        In my experience, kids are generally much better off in an environment that’s not completely toxic – which can tend to be the case if two people stay together just because they have kids.

    2. Zelos

      Depends. If they are incompatible as a couplebefore, adding stresses like pregnancy and a newborn is not going to improve the situation. A baby does not magically improve a couple’s romantic compatibility if there was none to begin with. If that’s the case, he would still be on the hook for childcare and parenting, but they’d have to work out how to do that while not being in a relationship.

      Now, if they’re fighting over things relatively minor things instead of being incompatible overall, they can probably work that out. But from the way you describe it, he sounds done. And if he is done, he should end it. Miserable parents staying together for the children makes for miserable children, in my opinion.

    3. fposte

      The timing issue is so irrelevant to me that it’s like asking what color shirt he should wear.

      At this point, they’re connected for another eighteen years or so whether they’re broken up or not. I don’t think they need to stay together for the sake of the baby, but they’ve just created a responsibility that isn’t going to end just because he gets tired of it, and he needs to think about how to make working together as easy as possible for the kid’s sake. December 24 vs. December 26 really isn’t going to factor in there.

    4. some1

      I’m sure I’m opening up a huge can of worms here, but I think Cindy deserves to know that Bob wants to break up with her. Whether or not Bob plans to be around as a significant other may influence her decision about carrying her pregnancy to term.

      1. Ruffingit

        I agree. No one mentioned it on the radio broadcast, but I do think it’s relevant to consider in this case. Not sure what the guy decided to do, I’ll have to search the radio archives to see if they did an update, but it was an interesting question.

        I personally fall on the side of tell her, tell her now and work through how you will handle the pregnancy issues (if she decides to keep it) such as medical bills, etc. Get a lawyer to set out arrangements immediately, etc. There are many things you would need to do to make this situation work out as smoothly as possible for the forthcoming child should she decide to continue in the pregnancy.

        So yeah. I was on the side of tell her and deal.

      2. Bea W

        Totally. Being strung along is really sucky even if you are not newly pregnant. It just delays being able to get on your with your life.

    5. BCW

      I don’t think it matters. Staying together for the kid is usually not going to solve the problems that were there. If anything, you are just raising the kids in a more hostile environment. Of course it depends on the reasons. However if 2 people shouldn’t be married, just because there is a kid, doesn’t mean they should be. As long as they are both there for the kid, thats whats important.

    6. Saturn9

      The way that story is told, I’m wondering why him deciding to wait until after the holidays to leave her is even relevant. Unless his “waiting” was what caused the pregnancy.

      (Yes, I realize the holiday dilemma was most likely thrown up as a less-cowardly excuse for why he hadn’t ended it yet but I like my way better.)

  20. Ruffingit

    One facet to this situation is how much it would improve morale for everyone else to let poor performers go prior to the holidays. It would sure make my Christmas happier to know that I wouldn’t be coming back to face Mark the Morale Crusher in the new year. Just something to think about, it’s not always about the well-being of the person being let go. The rest of the team matters too.

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      The flip side of that, though, is that a lot of people will think, “Wow, that timing was really cold,” even if they agree more generally that the person should be fired. And if the problems are bad enough that coworkers are frustrated by them, then it’s been going on for long enough that it should have been taken care of earlier — and since it hasn’t been, waiting two weeks won’t kill anyone.

      1. Ruffingit

        I get all of that. I’m just saying there is the side of “Man, thank God I won’t have to deal with so and so in the new year…” There are tons of arguments for not doing it, but this is one for doing it.

        1. BCW

          Even that, I can’t imagine there are that many people that spend their holidays worrying about someone who kills morale at work. Even if I didn’t like someone and thought they truly deserved to be fired, if I knew that it happened 2 days before Christmas, it would REALLY change my opinion of my manager (or the manager who fired them)

        2. Not So NewReader

          I think that if people generally like their jobs and find the boss mostly reasonable then firing Mark would go okay with the crew. Especially if Mark had been given a chance to correct the problems, perhaps some severance, etc.

          BUT. If I am working at Horrible Company with Mr. Ogre as my boss this firing has just put me a couple steps closer to walking out the door myself.

          I may be biased in that I have seen too many companies keep people way beyond their expiration date. The damage this does to the group is incredible. And respect for the boss goes down the drain. Usually this is coupled with other bad management practices.
          No one thing triggers a strong negative reaction- it accumulates over time. That is what I have seen.
          I do agree though that showing some forethought in planning the firing is not only wise, it’s a professional way to handle the situation.

          1. Ruffingit

            I agree that the general atmosphere absolutely colors how people feel about an action. As you said, if you’ve got good management that has previously been reasonable and fair, then you know that firing Mark was a well-thought out decision that was done for the betterment of the company. But, if you have crappy management, you’re more likely to take it as one more example of their jerkiness than anything else. It’s the old psychological thing where, if you like someone you give them tons of slack. If you don’t like someone, the way they breathe irritates you.

  21. Savvy Working Gal

    A few years ago we had an employee that was a poor performer. Her manager was too busy at the time to deal with her, so he let her basically sit there and do whatever she wanted. A few days before Christmas the owner of the company walked into her cube wanting an explanation for a mistake he had discovered. She told him she was too busy – she was talking to her daughter from California about travel arrangements for the holiday. She was gone by the end of the day. My co-workers thought it was terrible that they fired her right before Christmas despite thinking she was incompetent. They still bring this one up from time to time. In hindsight, I think it was okay that they let her go, but they probably should have paid her a generous severance. I think she was paid through her workday + remaining vacation.

      1. Ruffingit

        SO AGREED. No way should she have gotten any kind of severance. I also hope the owner had a sit-down with the manager to tell him why his management of this person was unacceptable.

        1. Bea W

          Yes, the manager is a big problem here. If he let her do whatever, it’s no surprise she thought it was okay to spend her work time on a personal call making personal plans, and blowing off the owner when she was interrupted.

  22. De Minimis

    I think companies should have a severance policy laid out from the getgo. One of my former employers did it that way, you got severance in most cases–I assume you wouldn’t if you were removed due to some kind of criminal behavior on your part, and you didn’t get any if you quit with no notice. I was fired and still got a decent amount of severance.

    In the above case I do think she should have gotten some type of severance, because as ill-advised as her behavior was, the company was the one who made the decision to let her go, and also the manager set up the situation where she was just left to do whatever.

    1. Ruffingit

      Yeah, but being left to do whatever does not entitle you to blow off the owner’s inquiry. It’s one thing for you to be able to sit in your cube and surf Facebook all day, but when the owner comes to talk to you, you talk right then and there. That’s a pretty basic professional norm and the fact that she thought she could ignore the owner means she’s got huge problems beyond not being managed well.

      1. Savvy Working Gal

        I’m really enjoying this conversation. All of you are touching on points that were discussed amongst our employees. Part of problem is she focused almost entirely on her family/personal life and didn’t realized she was here to do a job. Our owner could not have cared less when her daughter’s flight was coming in. She had just lost us a lot of money. FYI – the manager is the owner’s son which is another whole problem.

      2. De Minimis

        Which is why she was fired, but I don’t think it’s good for companies to pick and choose individual cases for severance, although this company may in fact have had a policy where she didn’t meet the standard for it, in which case that would be all right. But this does show how letting someone go in this way, right before Christmas, can poorly affect the morale of those who remain even if the person was a poor performer.

        I agree that the manager should have faced some kind of disciplinary action.

      3. Bea W

        Just out of curiosity, did she know this person was the owner?

        In general, I think when someone is fired for cause, they forfeit any right to severance. Severance is for people who are let go for reasons other than screwing up their job. Some employers will give it, depending on the situation, but I really don’t think it should be expected when you get fired because of something you did…like using your work time to make personal plans and blowing off the owner.

  23. Anonymous

    How much does religion vs. culture play in this? Do you recommend this moratorium on firings near Christmas because it is a major religious holiday, or because it is a major US cultural event?

    Does the answer change if the employee (or boss) is not Christian?

    How long does the moratorium last – you mention 2 weeks prior to Christmas here, but do you recommend the full Thanksgiving-to-New-Years duration be off-limits, or a more abbreviated period?

    Are there other events or holidays that qualify for the temporary firing moratorium?

    1. Ask a Manager Post author

      It’s because a significant amount of people in the U.S. think it’s cold and heartless to deliver bad news to someone close to Christmas. (I personally don’t care about that and would rather have bad news immediately, regardless of the timing, but so many people do care that it can come across as heartless both to the person being fired and your other employees.)

      It would be similar when someone has just had a close family member or friend die, or when their spouse has just left them, or when they’ve just been told they have cancer.

    2. BCW

      I don’t think its necessarily about religion, but culture. In American Culture, Christmas (even if not celebrated in the true religious sense) is a (supposed) happy time to be with family and all of those things. So it comes across as just a very mean thing to do to someone at that time of year. I don’t think Thanksgiving is as bad. But, for me, unless someone has done something extremely bad and are literally just costing money, I think the “holiday season” between Thanksgiving and Christmas, is kind of a bad time to fire someone because of how bad it looks. And I admit, I’d think less of a boss who did that, especially if it was an issue that had been going on for months already. I’d just look at it as heartless to put up with it for that long, but refuse to let them get through the holidays.

  24. Someone

    Going anonymous for this one. We had a problem employee – negative productivity, problems we are still cleaning up after his departure – whose manager had to decide whether to let him go immediately before his honeymoon or immediately after. They settled on after, and I still don’t know which is the worse choice. I’m just glad I wasn’t the employee or the manager.

    1. BCW

      For this one, was it an ongoing issue? I mean if it was, I’m just wondering what exactly mad them think it HAD to be done at that point

    2. Saturn9

      After. After is the worse choice.

      As difficult as it would be to have a future job search when I returned hanging over me, it would be a lot worse to spend the next few months obsessing over how incredibly stupid and ill-timed that honeymoon was.

      I always think a heads up before is much more humane when it comes to potential debt-inciting purchases. Not that it’s the employer’s problem at all, just that it seems cruel not to tell someone that what they’ve budgeted isn’t going to work because they budgeted wrong based on information they didn’t have.

  25. Confused

    If suddenly you have no work to do and coworkers are walking past your desk saying fire him and you would be happier elsewhere and if you are so smart find something else, what would you do? All along I had good performance reviews, bonuses and was never marked up and was never put on a performance improvement plan. I was praised of doing a good job before, but suddenly now I hear within earshot fire jokes like no matter how hard you work we will still fire you followed with a giggle. I didn’t get a face to face sit down to hear what I did wrong or let alone explain myself. Do they want to fire me? What is their purpose if they keep talking about it to belittle me like an ongoing joke but don’t fire me. Did I do something wrong? Why wouldn’t they address it with me in private? But it doesn’t make sense because management told me I did well before and I think I’m still good in their eyes. Maybe I’m no longer good enough for them. I’m confused. What should I do?

    1. Lora

      You should talk to your boss directly about this stuff.

      -If it is true, you are correct, you should be told to your face, had a PIP, had it explained what they feel you are doing wrong, address it in private, etc.
      -If it’s not true, then your co-workers are being jerks and need to be told to cut it out.

  26. Catsilla

    When humiliating me through a PIP didn’t work, they fired me before Christmas. It was timed for the season, it was timed so that everyone else was on eggshells (fearing they were next), and it was timed so that a couple of new (but not quite competent) staff could get full time. If everyone was in fear and feeling degraded, they wouldn’t talk to the VP’s about the shenanigams of the managers.

  27. Working Girl

    Given the boss has documented proof of firing, it appears the boss has been watching this person. I wonder if it has been a situation where the employee was guided to making the mistake so they could be fired or under such stress that the mistake was unavoidable or even if others knew of this situation and took advantage to blame a mistake on this person. Are there other people involved in this situation? There needs to be more information provided for proper suggestions. All persons involved need to be taken to task for the mistake, including other employees, the manager, boss, not just the employee under watch. Keep in mind that the boss is ultimately responsible for work done for them by employees. Is the boss passing the buck? Also how long as the employee been working there? Are there other factors? Can the client be transferred to another person. There are a lot of factors to be considered. Firing a long time employee can create more moral issues than a mistake can, after all all humans make mistakes.

  28. Old Sage

    RULE ONE: NEVER trust ANY boss not to fire at Christmas.
    RULE TWO: NEVER trust ANY boss that says, “Our people are our biggest resource.”
    RULE THREE: After any merger, NEVER believe any boss that says, “Don’t worry about losing your jobs.”
    RULE FOUR: ALWAYS look for a better job. You owe your present company NOTHING in the way of loyalty. They will NOT be loyal to you when you need them. A half a percent in profit drop can cost thirty jobs in a heartbeat. Employee loyalty means NOTHING to the boss except as something to exploit for free overtime.

    The best defense is to economically move as close to a “cash only” position as you can. Just don’t use credit. If you can’t pay cash, don’t buy. Build that nest egg at all costs. DO NOT expect any boss to give a drop of rat spit about your personal position when it comes time to swing the axe. The ONLY thing the boss cares about is cutting costs. The easiest way for a lot of bosses to cut cost and still get their bonuses is to fire people.

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