how do I fire the most popular person in the office?

A reader writes:

I need to fire our office manager. It’s a mix of issues, all related to attention to detail and organization. I’ve clearly warned her and put her on a performance improvement plan, which she hasn’t passed, so I’ve got my documentation in order. The problem is that she’s the most popular person in the office. She’s friendly, outgoing and fun and people really like her. How do I let her go without the rest of the staff hating me?

It’s tough to fire someone under the best of circumstances. It’s even harder when you’re worried about what the reaction will be among the rest of your team. And it’s a reasonable thing to worry about; in fact, one of your most important audiences when you let someone go is the rest of your staff. They’ll pay attention to whether the person is treated fairly and compassionately, and will draw conclusions about how well they’re likely to be treated themselves.

However, the important point for you to realize is that most people — particularly good employees — can like a coworker personally while still realizing that the person’s work has problems. While it’s true that no one likes to see a friend fired, most people can separate personal affection from professional assessments, even when they’re friendly with the person being let go. And in the case of an office manager who struggles with organization and attention to detail, it’s highly likely that her coworkers have observed that her work isn’t going smoothly, since those sorts of problems in an office manager tend to affect a whole staff.

In fact, you might end up surprised by how understanding people are. In almost every case, keeping a low performer on staff is an enormous morale drain for other people; good people want to work with people who pull their own weight. And if you’ve ever worked somewhere where shoddy work was tolerated, you know how frustrating and demoralizing it can be when a manager doesn’t do anything about poor performers. So, it’s likely that your staff has spotted the problems and understands that they needed to be resolved — and might even be relieved the problem has been addressed.

The key thing here is to be open with your staff about how you address performance problems in general, so that they understand you don’t make arbitrary or unfair personnel decisions. Make sure they understand that people are clearly warned and given a chance to improve before being let go (with some obvious exceptions, like embezzling or punching a coworker). Otherwise, you risk creating a climate where people worry that they could be fired without seeing it coming. But as long as you’re open with your staff about what that process looks like, and as long as they see a pattern from you of being fair in how you deal with people, it’s pretty likely that they’re going to understand what happened.

This post was originally published at DailyWorth.

{ 105 comments… read them below }

  1. Lily in NYC*

    One of my favorite coworkers is not a great employee. No one gives her anything to do because she can’t write emails without making multiple errors and she doesn’t understand computers. But she is like the dept. mom and is just so much fun. I really don’t know how I would feel if she were fired – it would make my life much easier but I would be sad and would really miss her.

    1. Lily in NYC*

      Oh my god I completely forgot that my best friend at work was fired a few years ago for playing a prank that backfired big time. I actually cried I was so upset, but I completely understood why he was let go. Everybody loved him and a few bigwigs tried to save him to no avail. Last straw kind of thing.

      1. CaliSusan*

        I need more details. Can you share in general terms what the prank was or what went wrong?

          1. Pennalynn Lott*

            Nope, he pooped in a potted plant. Thought everybody would get a big kick out of his “homemade fertilizer” trick. Totally backfired. ;-)

            1. weasel007*

              He pooped in a potted plant in an office?? Was he a member of the JackAss crew? OMG.

          2. Dani X*

            I bet he locked someone on a balcony right before a mixer with customers and then forgot to let him out.

        1. Lily in NYC*

          He was working on a project with another guy for our president. My friend thought it would be funny to create a fake gmail address for the president and email the guy pretending he was Prez. He wrote it like he thought the guy was doing a bad job on the project and told him he needed to shape up. He really thought the guy would know it was a joke but he was too good of a mimc of Prez’s writing style and the guy panicked and went to his boss (my friend was out at a long meeting). The boss thought we got hacked and went to our legal dept and computer dept. and started freaking out. My buddy came back from his meeting to find that all hell broke loose. He admitted it was him and got fired after a long debate by our top executives. He probably would have gotten a warning but he was already on thin ice for something else.

          1. Ruffingit*

            What was the something else? I must have the whole story. I am nosy, I’ve accepted this about myself :)

            1. Lily in NYC*

              He got in a fight in the office lobby. Some crazy guy outside followed him in and grabbed him and threatened him so he punched him. It was pretty bad – the guy bled all over the place even though he was huge and my friend is wiry and skinny. Turns out the dude had a rap sheet a mile long and my friend didn’t get in trouble because it was caught on camer (although he did get arrested at first). Lobby security just sat there and watched it happen – his division head wanted to fire him for it but HR and the president said no because they saw the tape and decided it was self-defense. But after the prank, the division head made it his mission to fire him.

          2. ThursdaysGeek*

            At LastJob, a longtime employee was fired after something similar. He’d been there forever, was competent and well-liked (as far as I know). He made up a fake email saying we’d gotten a government contract and showed it to a couple of friends. Who showed it to a couple of their friends, who passed it on to their friends, who…until it arrived in the inbox of someone from that federal agency. I don’t think the company wanted to fire him, but someone had to pay, or else we would never get that contract.

  2. Ellie H*

    I completely agree that it could quite possibly be the case that someone is incredibly well liked, but coworkers still recognize that her work has problems and the organization would be better off. I think that people may be better at compartmentalizing than others realize – work is work and interpersonal relations are at a different register, even when they take place at work.

    1. money lady*

      Ditto. We had a situation just like this. My boss thought everyone would think he was an ogre for firing the “beloved but lousy at her job” employee. She had been with the organization forever and the job just got too technical and complicated for her to handle. She really should have retired or left. We were sad to see her go from a “we really like her” standpoint but from a “getting work done” standpoint, we were happy to replace her with some one who could actually get the job done.

    2. Mints*

      I think it depends on the type of work. If it’s an office where everyone gets different projects from the manager without interacting it’s easier to compartmentalize. But when I worked childcare, I depended a lot on my coworkers, and couldn’t function if/when people slacked. So there were absolutely times when I met someone and liked them at first, but then they weren’t good employees, and I ended up not liking them as people either. I can’t spend all day annoyed that I have to baby a staff member, then want to go happy hour after work with them. And the reverse was true too; there were people who were really boring to talk to, but were great at their jobs, and I would be really happy to see them after work (in a general warm fuzziness way) even if I didn’t actually want to hang out

      1. Mallorie, the recruiter*

        I totally agree! I generally can’t even like bad employees… I mean, I am nice to them of course. But I have a hard time separating the “person” from the “terrible work they do daily”.

      2. spocklady*

        YES YES YES. The best way to kill a relationship with someone I generally like at work, is for them to not pull their weight or not do acceptably good work. I am here to work first, to make friends second.

    3. The IT Manager*

      I have the opposite problem. I have trouble liking someone who makes my work life difficult through incompetance or ineptness or passive aggressive micromanagement (in the case of a previous supervisor). I can intellectually recognise they are not a bad human being but if they are making my life more difficult I can’t really like them. Although I suppose there’s a chance that the office manager is bad at her job, but it doesn’t really impact my work so I won’t dislike her and be annoyed by not pulling her weight on the job.

      1. Sharm*

        I’m the same way, except from the flip side. By that I mean, I can never like a brilliant jerk — just because they’re amazing at their job, I will not be able to like or respect them if they’re horrible to everyone they work with. In my experience, I’ve worked with a ton of brilliant jerks but no one incompetent.

      2. books*

        Yeah, but it’s usually because that person has poor skills IRL that make it difficult for me to like them. (Oh, you’re disorganized. And you showed up late to happy hour again?)

      3. Mallory Janis Ian*

        I have trouble liking people who are all “Ms. Fun-Girl” or “Mr. Fun-Boy” who don’t do their jobs well. They always seem to think that being really super-fun makes up for the lack of work ethic, and that is even more annoying to me than if they were just mediocre in both areas (work and persona). The sense of being deliberately “charmed” by a slacker is always distasteful to me.

    4. Chris80*

      Agreed. I am good friends outside of work with one of my coworkers, but I really dislike working with her. She’s so much fun to be around, but she takes forever to get things done which often slows or stops the work of everyone else. I’m not sure how I would feel if she was let go, but my reaction wouldn’t be anywhere near as extreme as some people who know about our friendship might assume.

    5. Anonathon*

      Agreed. I was reading this and thinking, “actually, the staff may not be that surprised.”

      (We have at least one person in my office who is very fun, but has, shall we say, a very casual relationship with deadlines. I like this person, but more as a friend than a co-worker.)

  3. KC*

    I definitely had a coworker at my last gig who EVERYONE LOVED in my department (myself included). She was everyone’s “work mom.” That said, she wasn’t great at her job. Everyone knew it. And when she was let go, people were sad, but they also understood.

  4. Sabrina*

    On the flip side of this, I’ve had managers who I thought were fantastic people and considered them friends. But they were terrible managers. It’s hard to think that a friend isn’t doing their job well, but I think most people know when that’s the case.

  5. fposte*

    I had a co-worker like this. And a lot of people didn’t know about the problems, and really felt she had been treated unjustly. But even they got over it.

    1. A Jane*

      Yeah, especially when you realize that whatever they were messing up was actually impacting you in a negative way. It feels like a 180

      1. fposte*

        Here it was more from people who only knew her in a limited context. But I think that it was a good example of how quickly indignation fades and people adjust, even if they don’t benefit from the change.

        1. Ruffingit*

          Someone where I work was recently let go. I only interacted with her sparingly as our departments overlapped only on a day or two a week. Still though, one of my co-workers was outraged and said “Jane was so great, I can’t believe they let her go, she was doing such a good job…” I explained to my co-worker that yes, Jane was doing a good job from what we saw, but we only saw about 10% of her work on any given day. For all we know she was falsifying time sheets, stealing office items, etc. We have no idea what was going on the other 90% of the time so we can’t really say it was unfair.

          1. Mabs*

            Yes, and you can’t really say it was fair either-to be fair to the person you mention and many others out there like her.

            Make note of it though and review your workplace for signs of similar “firings.”

            1. Ruffingit*

              Yeah, it goes both ways, but since my co-worker was complaining about how unfair it was, I was telling her that we can’t really know that.

  6. Episkey*

    Yes, although she is well-liked, I bet your other employees recognize she is not great at her job.

    At one of my old jobs, we had an employee like that. Very outgoing, friendly, made everyone laugh. She even was able to make friends with a separate dept (that she was not part of) that was known for being quite clique-y and exclusionary to those not in it.

    She was actually good at the job for awhile, but then I think there was a combo of her getting bored with the work + issues in her personal life that just tanked her productivity and responsibility. She was missing deadlines for clients, leaving for 2+ hour lunches, showing up late, that kind of stuff.

    I know for a fact that a person she considered one of her best friends at the office took an active role in getting her fired. Although the best friend genuinely liked the eventually-fired employee as a person, the work issues were just too much and were impacting everyone involved in the client projects.

    I’m actually unsure if the fired employee ever realized that the friend had such a hand in her being let go, but I know they are still friends to this day — both of them have moved on and neither still works at that company.

  7. LeighTX*

    How do you explain to the remaining employees why someone was let go while still being professional about it? My current boss often references previous employees as examples of what not to do in certain situations, and he’ll say things like, “Joe was not reliable and had a poor attitude, and we had to let him go.” Is that appropriate? I always feel so awkward when he does that in meetings.

    1. A Teacher*

      That’s just tacky. Where I used to work, when someone resigned or was fired the department head would send out an email chastising the employee. TPTB would continue to bash the employee in individual meetings. All it did was make the rest of us know that when our time came to leave (resign or be let go) they wouldn’t be professional.

    2. Not So NewReader*

      I know this does happen. But I really think that general statements are better.
      “We value reliability, if you say you will do something, then do it or tell us immediately if you are having difficulty. We also value attitude. Attitude is infectious. One person gets grumpy so do others.” [No mention of any names here.]

      I will admit though, concrete examples do make the point clear. “Don’t arrive 15 minutes late every day like Joe used to do.”

      Bosses that rely on these concrete examples do themselves no favors. Just my opinion, thought.

    3. Lily in NYC*

      Oh, I don’t like that. Even though I can’t help but be curious when someone gets fired, I don’t think managers should give a reason (with some exceptions). My office is too cloak-and-dagger, though. People disappear and we never hear a peep about it.

      1. some1*

        This. “There were specific issues with Joe’s work which led to the decision to let him go.” is a good explanation. Keeps Joe’s dignity and quiets suspicions about layoffs.

        1. Sunflower*

          You can also add on ‘There were specific issues we tried to work out for some time’ to really dig in the point that warnings and chances were given and you didn’t just wake up one day and decide that she’s out

          1. some1*

            Yes, this is good to add. It doesn’t mean no one will ever be let go without a warning, but it does help.

          2. Sharm*

            Yes, I like this. I don’t like how my work handles firings. I wish they would do this.

      2. so and so*

        I was fired once (which, long story short, was best for all involved). My friends still at the office told me that talking about me was forbidden and the fact that I was suddenly gone was never addressed beyond, “she’s gone. You do her work now.” I might as well have been a spy.

      3. Monodon monoceros*

        The people disappearing was how I found AAM. Our admin person disappeared one day. I heard the rumours that she had been fired, but no one in management said anything. It took them a week to even tells us what to do with the stuff we usually had the admin do. I thought it was totally weird that no one even said “Jane is no longer with the company. Timesheets should go to Laurie, purchase orders to Bobby, etc.” I googled whether this was normal for management to handle it this way because I’d never worked somewhere before where that had happened, and google lead me to AAM.

        1. Monodon monoceros*

          Also, before they told us anything, I was reprimanded for asking who to give my timesheet to- HR told me I was asking for personal information about the admin. Um, no, I just want to know where to put my freaking timesheet. That place sucked.

    4. cv*

      I’d be vague and a bit regretful, as in “We’ve had to let Lucinda go because she wasn’t able to do the job the way we needed her to. I know we’ll all miss her, and we did try to work with her over the last few months in the hopes that she’d be able to stay on in the role, but ultimately this is what’s best for our company/clients/department/whatever.”

      You don’t want to seem capricious or totally oblivious to the human side of things, but details just aren’t necessary. I think it’s okay to let people know that it was performance related and due to ongoing issues, though, and to find a way to convey that the remaining employees don’t need to fear for their own jobs.

    5. T*

      I vote for being honest without telling details. You could say, “Ex Employee had a track record of serious performance issues. We did not arrive at this decision quickly, but only after trying to work with her to improve the issues. We would appreciate it if employees would show her respect by not speculating about the reasons.” Or “we had to terminate Joe’s employment suddenly due to a major violation of our safety policy.”

      Hopefully that would give other employees enough information to know that the firing was warranted but not show disrespect to the fired employee or to other people involved.

    6. Mephyle*

      This was my question too (how to be professional about explaining to remaining employees): how to strike the balance between letting them know that The Process Was Followed and Steps Were Carried Out, and being appropriate about respecting the ex-employee’s private business.

    7. Ruffingit*

      This happens in my office with a co-worker who references someone who was fired shortly before I got there. It’s awkward for me too because I didn’t know the woman. Sounds like she sucked, but I have no real way of knowing that and it doesn’t matter since she’s not there anymore. I sort of liken this to people who talk about their ex’s and how bad they were. Get over it.

  8. Frustrated Nonprofit Worker*

    I think people understand if the company is honest about the issues or if they worked with this employee closely. That said my company just fired two people on the same day (one who was very well liked by everyone) and it left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. They tried to say one job was always temporary (we have lots of temps and they never mentioned this person being a temp before) and the other they said “they just didn’t mesh well”, but couldn’t identify a specific person/department.

    1. GrumpyBoss*

      The problem with being “honest with the issues” is that there are precedents where this has been used in wrongful termination issues.

      I’ve seen: “we let Suzy go because her TPS Reports weren’t up to par” turned into a claim of “Suzy never had a chance to succeed because her boss spoke about her shortcomings in a public forum.”

      Frivolous? Yes.
      Effective? Absolutely. Most companies are so litigation shy because the brand reputation impact will cost way more than the fees, even if the lawsuit is stupid as hell.

      So yeah, most companies will advise a manager not to discuss specifics.

      1. fposte*

        Are you saying you’ve seen somebody prevail in a wrongful termination suit based simply on what their former boss said about them to the office? That seems pretty unlikely without other stuff going on in that workplace.

        1. GrumpyBoss*

          Prevail? No. Be enough of a pain in the ass that a company will give a large severance to make them go away? Yes.

  9. Chriama*

    The only caveat, of course, is if the other people in the office are good workers. There are some cultures of ‘enabling’ where people like having a bad employee around because it lowers the standard for everybody or gives them an easy out if they miss a deadline (e.g. I didn’t have time to work on the report because Jane sent me the specs too late! Sure, they should have asked Jane when they hadn’t heard anything and the deadline was approaching, but it’s still her fault for not doing her job and a convenient excuse for another low-performing employee).

    Overall though, if the people in your office are decent workers, they’ll appreciate her being let go to make room for a better employee who will make their jobs easier.

  10. Not So NewReader*

    Keeping a job is not based on popularity, no more so than it is based on looks, generally speaking.

    It’s good to get along and be approachable but we also have to justify our salary.
    The boss’ job is to do what is necessary for the group to thrive. Someone who is not productive cannot stay.

    OP, I would be very surprised if NO one came to you and said “What took you so long?” or something similar.

    Please also consider that there is a difference between hating a boss and disagreeing with a boss. Maybe a couple people voice disagreement with the firing. That’s not hatred, that is just disagreement. I see nothing wrong with saying “I can’t discuss the particulars of that situation. But I can say that I liked Sue, too. I thought she was a very nice person.”

    Observant employees will realize that you did not have an easy decision here.

  11. Sunflower*

    I totally agree that people will be more understanding than you’d think. Most people are going to put a lot more weight on the work and less on the friendship. I think the frustration over work not being done efficiently tends to outweigh any amount that someone likes the person. I’ve had coworkers that I feel very torn about because I love them as a person but they are a terrible a worker- and every time I’ve always been a little relieved if they’re let go or leave on their own. I think most people will feel similar- if it’s very obvious that she isn’t a great worker, there’s a good chance your staff won’t be super surprised and some will be a little grateful.

    This reminds me of my old doctors office- the receptionist was the sweetest person but god she was disorganized and was always losing or forgetting things. No amount of niceness could make up for getting phone calls with wrong appointment times or constantly needing to correct her mistakes.

    1. Laura*

      This, so very much this. I had a former coworker, and I was so sad for him and his family when they let him go.

      But from a business perspective, I had no idea why he’d been there for at least twelve months prior to that.

      He was a nice guy. I wish him the best. But he wasn’t effective in his role for the company, and he didn’t have a good skill-set for for transition to another role. Ultimately, the work he was hired for wasn’t getting done.

  12. louise*

    It would be kind to give her an opportunity to say goodbyes on her way out if she would like to. She may not be in the right frame of mind for that, but knowing it’s an option may soften the blow for her and if she takes the chance to tell even a couple people goodbye and ask them to convey it to others, that may help smooth things over with everyone a little.

  13. HarperC*

    This happened a couple of years where I work. I know my manager was really worried that people would hate him, but pretty much everybody understood, even some people who seemed firmly in the guy’s corner. He was (and is) a great guy, but he just wasn’t doing his job. Even his friends could see that.

  14. bullyfree*

    Like others have commented above, there will probably be plenty of people who are understanding as to why you let her go. With some one that popular though, you might have one or two who are outraged and try to petition for her to return. It may take a while but once the person is gone, other employees will feel freer to talk amongst themselves and *share* their experiences and the problems created by ex-co-workers constant mistakes.

  15. Trixie*

    Hoping there’s a better matching job for this woman but what position doesn’t include some attention to detail? Maybe its a position like customer service where its more working with customers, and passing along eh heavy lifting to someone else. Or taking some part of her personal life that she doesn’t have any trouble managing, and translating that into potential job skills. (Managing her household budget, meticulous care of her pets, organizing church events, etc.)

    1. Cassie*

      Maybe the person would be more suited for a position where it’s the basically the same task over and over. Like a person checking out books at the library or some other task that is repetitive and narrow-focused.

  16. Anon this time*

    You may be surprised. We have one of those very likable, very low-performing people on staff right now. Coworkers, tired of fixing their mistakes, waiting for them to get their portion of the job done and picking up the slack when they are MIA (all the time – and that’s when they show up at all), have BEGGED management to address the problems and HANDED them the documentation they need to do so. But, big boss likes this very likable person and let’s just say our input has not been well received. Consequently, morale among the high performers has pretty much tanked. Regardless of how well-liked they are on a personal basis, people who perform want to work with other performers.

    1. AB Normal*

      ” Regardless of how well-liked they are on a personal basis, people who perform want to work with other performers.”


  17. MR*

    There almost always seems to be that person in the workplace that ‘everyone loves’ yet ‘holds everyone back.’ Most of the time, it’s a coworker, but when it’s the manager, it’s usually a terrible place to work.

  18. GrumpyBoss*

    Been there. Two things I did:

    I was very candid and said, “there were issues behind the scene you were not aware of. Out of respect for his privacy, I’m not going to discuss any further.”

    Second thing I did – accepted that some people were gong to hate me regardless. Not caring about pleasing everyone is actually very liberating.

    1. Cruciatus*

      I just rushed to these comments here to say the same thing! “DO YOU NEED YOUR EX BACK VERY FAST?!” What’s worse is, I actually read the whole thing. Not because of any actual interest in it, but because it was so damn crazy!

      1. Lily in NYC*


      2. TL*

        I read all of it too! Though I mainly wanted to see if he would ever elaborate on what the “big problem” was with his wife – so much drama!

        1. attornaut*

          He definitely cheated on his wife and then cast a spell on her to make her forget.

    2. JMegan*

      I was going to say the same thing! Don’t they know that spellcasting is a bad idea in the office? Didn’t Alison have a post about this very topic? Obviously this person is not a regular AAM reader!

    3. Nina*

      LOL, I came back here just to see if anyone else caught that. SMH @ “ARE YOU FACING WITCH CRAFT MANIPULATIONS?”

      Spellcast spam. This has to be a first.

        1. Natalie*

          I think one has actually shown up here at least once. I was reading an old article last week and there was a deleted comment, but other comments referenced spell-casting spam.

          It’s basically an update of an old fortune-telling scam (more directly scammy than fortune telling generally) where one tells the mark that their money is cursed. The mark brings the cursed money to the fortune teller to be destroyed. And it totally it, I swear. Destroyed by being spent by the fortune teller.

          1. Liane*

            “It’s basically an update of an old fortune-telling scam (more directly scammy than fortune telling generally) where one tells the mark that their money is cursed…”
            A few months ago, Reader’s Digest had a long article recounting a scam like this.

      1. chewbecca*


        Do you think black magic could help cure my allergies?

    4. Evilduck*

      I’m pretty sure if you use a spell to get someone to love you, you might end up having Lord Voldemort as a child….

      1. Kelly O*

        Everyone knows you can’t make someone fall in love with someone else.

        You also can’t wish for more wishes, and you can’t kill anyone. The big blue genie told me so.

    5. CollegeAdmin*

      The list at the end sounds like the kind of call for guests at the end of shows like Jerry Springer or Maury – “Are you desperate to get your husband back? Call 1-800-MAURY to be featured on a future episode!”

      1. Eden*

        And who calls themself “The Golden Goose,” anyway? Someone has a shaky grasp on his fairy tales.

    6. Arjay*

      I’m torn between the difficulties getting pregnant “for your husband” and “DO YOU NEED MAGIC POWERS TO DO ANY THING YOU WANT?” Because, yes, yes I do.

    7. Eden*

      Boy, it makes me appreciate the quality of the commentary on this blog. Folks can spell, punctuate, and every other comment is not an illiterate spam message. Thanks, AAM community!

    8. chrl268*

      My favourite subheading for that was: are you having trouble getting pregnant for your husband.



  19. Cafe Au Lait*

    Is it possible to move her to a different role where her weaknesses wont impact the team/work flow. From you letter, I see that you feel your only choice is to fire her. Which may be very true depending on your line of work.

    Soft skills, like personality, are often overlooked. It does take a special sort of person that can bring many different people together. Changing her role might be better in the long run than outright firing her.

  20. AMD*

    My company is very discreet about why people are fired – to the point that I sometimes don’t know when someone at a different location is gone, and I don’t know why the people I replaced were suddenly and unceremoniously escorted from the premises.

    I’m looking at in the next six months having to move someone out of my pharmacy and into another part of the store, or letting them go entirely, and I know I don’t want to damage my relationship with the other staff, who are still recovering emotionally from the firing of the old managers, by just vanishing this other person away. I also don’t want to overshare or violate her privacy by giving out the details. Hopefully this person will improve performance by the time limit I’ve given her so that this won’t be an issue anytime soon.

  21. Angora*

    Why do you have to tell anyone that you let the employee go? Let them go at the end of the day; have them pack up their stuff and be walked out. Have arrangements made with IT to block out their access, get their keys, and their lap top.

    You can ask them employee how they wish their co-workers to be notified? You do not necessarily need to do what they suggest if it’s unprofessional. But there are a few times where I have been told someone quit without notice and I suspect they were terminated.

    You’re not required to give an explanation to her co-workers. This is an HR issue and confidentiality should be maintained.

    1. Sarahnova*

      “Why do you have to tell anyone that you let the employee go?”

      Wouldn’t you have questions if a coworker and/or friend just suddenly… disappeared? Wouldn’t you want to have at least some idea if he/she was treated fairly, or completely screwed over, since the same thing might happen to you some day? I would.

      Confidentiality should be maintained, but people’s very reasonable wondering about these issues should be openly and professionally addressed.

  22. Monica Kelly*

    After being in relationship with him for 3 years,he broke up with me, I did everything possible to bring him back but all was in vain, I wanted him back so much because of the love I have for him, I begged him with everything, I made promises but he refused. I explained my problem to someone online and she suggested that I should rather contact a spell caster that could help me cast a spell to bring him back but I am the type that never believed in spell, I had no choice than to try it, I mailed the spell caster, and he told me there was no problem that everything will be okay before three days, that my ex will return to me before three days, he cast the spell and surprisingly in the second day, it was around 4pm. My ex called me, I was so surprised, I answered the call and all he said was that he was so sorry for everything that happened, that he wanted me to return to him, that he loves me so much. I was so happy and went to him, that was how we started living together happily again. Since then, I have made promise that anybody I know that have a relationship problem, I would be of help to such person by referring him or her to the only real and powerful spell caster who helped me with my own problem and who is different from all the other ones out there. Anybody could need the help of the spell caster, his email is dr. you can email him if you need his assistance in your relationship or any other problem.

      1. jesicka309*

        Hehehe I love it. So targeted towards your readers as well, I’m sure there are plenty of jobseekers looking for a spell to make interviewers call them back! :)

  23. FX-ensis*

    Fire her.

    It’s not about popularity.

    Yes, it would undermine morale, which is important.

    But then your duty as manager is sound operations, and the bottom line. It’s cliche, but then nobody really is indispensable….

    If you can present a case for her sacking, then fine. It may actually show expectations, and remind staff that they’re there to contribute positively to the bottom line.

    People may think this is being cold, but then IMHO a manager must do what is best for his or her own organisation.

  24. Cassie*

    For me, I don’t care how nice a person is – if they’re not doing their work, that’s a deal-breaker. I’d be frustrated with the fact that this person has been kept on just because of her popularity even though her work performance is bad.

    From conversations with other staff and faculty, it seems many people prefer someone who is great at their job but maybe a little cold, rather than a person who is friendly/warm but terrible at their job. I’m not saying soft skills don’t matter – they do, and everyone should behave professionally – but I don’t need superfriendly peppy people who can’t or won’t do their job.

  25. anony*

    I think I went through a few of the stages of grief when my coworker was fired. I was shocked, I was sad for his sake, I was angry at the boss (‘this wouldn’t have happened if she’d managed him better!’), but after a few weeks I was able to accept what I’d known all along, that he had serious performance issues, and my boss did the right thing.
    (To be clear, I never *got angry* with my boss; I kept that to myself while I worked through it.)

  26. Mabs*

    So what about when the likeable person ( to higher-ups only, kiss up, kick down sort) is an incompetent liar, but the manager?

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