I feel awful about firing someone

A reader writes:

This past month, I fired someone for the first time (background, I have been in a management position for less than a year after being suddenly promoted). It was certainly warranted — poor performance, lying, and never-ceasing argumentative behavior. Despite the fact that I documented the behavior and performance (HR even called me their “best student” because of how thorough my documentation was), I am left feeling, for the lack of a better word, haunted by this decision. Despite the relief in my department that her termination has brought, I have mixed feelings of guilt and like I’m the person who did something wrong. I even have recurring nightmares that she’s back at work to some varying degree.

I want to move forward for the sake of my current employees and the upcoming replacement, but I feel near-traumatized by the experience that was this termination. It was awful, as you would expect from such a meeting — I was anxious and feeling guilty, plus I felt abandoned by my boss, who mixed up the time so she was on the other side of town when she was supposed to be there for the meeting as well. I have had a hard time trusting her in the aftermath of this ordeal. Are these feelings normal and expected for a new manager? I didn’t expect firing to be easy, but I didn’t expect to be feeling like this well after it’s over. Any tips for moving on and forward?

I answer this question — and four others — over at Inc. today, where I’m revisiting letters that have been buried in the archives here from years ago (and sometimes updating/expanding my answers to them). You can read it here.

Other questions I’m answering there today include:

  • My manager didn’t show up for a conference call so we proceeded anyway
  • My boss and my boss’s boss are giving me conflicting priorities
  • My boss calls and texts me constantly when I’m not at work
  • How to praise a coworker to her manager

{ 73 comments… read them below }

  1. Artemesia*

    If I were managing someone and they were not hitting their targets because they were doing favors for my boss, I would be angry about it. It is undermining on all fronts. And it feels like favoritism. If I am the manager, at least I need to be looped in on work my employees are doing for others and the boss and I need to hash out how to manage that well. It sounds like a lazy boss who doesn’t want to get his needed work done in the structure he has created and is using his pets to do work they are not officially assigned to make his life easier rather than him assigning it appropriately. Typing up minutes because it is easier to ask her? What is THAT about.

    1. Detective Amy Santiago*

      Yeeeah, grandboss is overstepping here. If there are issues with other people not getting things done or not doing them right, then GB needs to address that, not go and ask LW to do things outside the scope of their regular responsibilities.

    2. Princess Consuela Banana Hammock*

      That was surprising to me, too—and as the direct manager, it would annoy me.

      I’m also surprised that OP is taking on secretarial work because her grandboss can trust her to complete it. Ostensibly grandboss has some secretarial support, and if not, she should get some, and if it’s not adequate, she should hire someone new.

      But it also sounds like OP derives some sense of self-worth from being given these tasks and appearing “reliable” to her grandboss, while being relatively unreliable to her direct boss. That seems like a dangerous trap that is not going to save OP as layoffs continue to roll out. Perhaps grandboss knows which emotional strings to tug to encourage OP to keep assisting her in what sound like low-urgency, low-priority tasks, but OP needs to be careful about how she triages and balances her own work (independently of the workload and coordination issue).

    3. Not That Jane*

      I was also a bit put off by the “I love her to death and have a soft spot for her” language. It just screams poor boundaries and/or unprofessional workplace norms.

  2. Rae*

    #2 For the meeting that was actually a conference call….

    …All of our comunications start with the room meeting IE “Room J” if physical and “Virtual” rather than using the ever-stupid “your desk” nonsense which is confusing and just leads to situations like this.

    If you’re using outlook, you can set a meeting reminder which includes a pop up and that can auto dial you into the call….which I highly recommend.

    1. Amber T*

      What is this auto dial magic you speak of? (The amount of times my boss will ask “what’s the dial in number?” when it’s RIGHT THERE on the invitation… ugh.)

      1. Mike C.*

        It’s a Lync thing. Of course my workplace got rid of that for Webex, so we no longer get it. :(

      2. anonny.*

        here’s a fun trick: if you have a number with a dial in code and you format it like this in the invite: 1-555-666-7777,,,123456# it’s considered 1 click dialing for cell phones. you can just tap it and it dials the number, the commas act as a pause, then the dial in code automatically gets punched in and you’re connected. if people don’t do that in their invites at work, everyone jumps all over them – no one likes to manually punch in numbers! (i’m in 6-10 conference calls a day, it’s a big time saver.)

      3. Rae*

        As a below poster mentioned, we did have Lync, but only later. Lync is a complete tool with it’s own cost/benefit and quirks. (ugg for its 250 participant cap for all hands meetings) . It was useful for internal meetings…outside….blahhhh.
        Anyhoo…in Outlook (2013)
        If you agreed to a meeting you would get a pop up that would say “Meeting, click to join” then you would. Previous to that we simply had Outlook. It was one of the options buried deep in the notification reminders and required that the end user also had those settings. Our IT force updated it on all the computers but every now and then. It tied into our not-a-microsoft-product VoIP, but I know people with desk phones would get an error message that would give the call details.

    2. SusanIvanova*

      People use “your desk” to mean conference call? I’ve only seen it used it for in-person meetings with one or two other people in someone’s office – too small for the hassle of finding a free meeting room.

      1. Rae*

        yes…and it was painfullllll. Tough I’m glad I am not the only one who wasn’t in the know. Everyone else that was hired at a similar time all turned to their computers, put their headphones on and dialed in. I looked around like an idiot (yet another reason I hate open office plans). It was confusing as heck when someone DID actually want to meet at your desk.

      2. Gaia*

        The only time I’ve used “at your desk” to mean a conference call is when it is really, really, really clear I am obviously not going to be physically at their desk. Like when I am in one country and they are in another and they absolutely know I have not traveled to their office in the 2 hours since we last chatted.

      3. Koko*

        I’ve seen “your computer” used for webinars I’ve registered to attend, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen “your desk.”

    3. Gen*

      I don’t know if the autodialling you have is the same as what I experienced but I used to get a persistant call (every thirty seconds until I let it connect) once a week or so inviting me to join a management conference call for the local hospital. Except I never worked there and neither had anyone else who’d owned the phone number. Technology is amazing, but only if it’s used correctly hahah

  3. lina inverse*

    Hahaha…. I read this letter thinking “wow, I went through exactly the same thing!” and then realized *I* wrote that letter back in 2013. Whoops.

  4. TheBeetsMotel*

    #4 Have you tried just not answering back? It could be that your manager sees the need to “sound off” on things and, without an audience, she might not bother.

    Honestly, when what you do for a living IS literally life-and-death, and she’s texting about tweezers?! That’s a text that would be going unread for a LOOOOONG time, if it were me.

    Is there any way you can just respond to actually important texts, and maybe teach her that you don’t respond every second, or that you only respond to actual issues?

    1. TootsNYC*

      I wonder what would happen if the OP just didn’t answer.

      I sent an email last night that was not urgent. I didn’t intend to get an answer. But I needed to send it when I was thinking of it, instead of turning it into a chore to remember in the morning.

      And especially because our OP doesn’t work at a particularly regular time, I wouldn’t want to have to remember to send it when she was in the office. I also don’t like having two methods of communication (I **hate** Slack for this reason), so if text was my normal mode of communication, I wouldn’t think twice about sending a heads-up text (“this client didn’t have tweezers; watch out for it” wouldn’t mean “you’re in trouble” or “rush over here”; it would mean “watch out for it next time”).

      Alison suggests these get sent over email–but does the OP even operate on email? If she’s providing care to people, she might not. And, the supervisor might not have email easily, if she’s using her smartphone as her primary mode of communication at work.

      I wonder what would happen if you just put her texts on silent, and then read them all at once as soon as you got to work.

      1. Yorick*

        It’s perfectly reasonable to send communications while you’re thinking of them, if it’s via email. It’s not ok to text people at all hours of the night and day when they’re at work. Texts are more intrusive, and it’s not accurate to think that this something that won’t disturb them until they come back to work.

        I imagine everyone has an email address, even if it’s not through work (and most people have one through work). The manager can use email on her smartphone.

        1. Koko*

          Yes, I’d agree with this. The other problem with sending a non-urgent work text is that even if I’ve been told I don’t need to respond right away when it’s after-hours, I then have to remember that I got the text when work hours resume again. With email, I’m in the habit of not filing emails until they’re dealt with, as well as monitoring my email inbox from the moment I arrive at work to the moment I leave. With texts, there is no filing/archiving, and I’m not in the habit of opening my incoming texts to see if there are any I’ve read but haven’t yet dealt with. If I don’t respond to/deal with a text right away, I’m extremely likely to forget about it.

  5. engineermommy*

    #1 – I was in the same situation, having to fire someone a year after becoming a manager. I felt horrible and guilty because he was a single dad and really didn’t have any great skills to take to another job. I reminded myself that 1 – he had been given multiple chances, 2- there were safety repercussions to him not doing his job correctly, and 3 – it wasn’t fair to continue to ask the good performers on my team to clean up his mistakes. That last one was big, because I had some really good people who were already overworked.

    1. Falling Diphthong*

      That last one stands out to me in this letter, too–the longer the dreaded employee stays, the longer the good employees have to conclude that nothing is ever going to change and their sole options are keep taking it or start job searching.

      1. The Supreme Troll*

        Exactly. When a manager does this to try to be “fair to everybody”, she becomes unfair to many.

      2. Dust Bunny*

        Beat me to it. I was just getting on here to remind LW that the fired employee was not her only report, and it’s not fair to better/more skilled/more agreeable employees to keep people like this around just so you can avoid feeling guilty about firing somebody who had already had ample warning and support and was still not shaping up. Few things demoralize good employees as fast as seeing that their bosses don’t actually manage out-of-line coworkers.

      3. JessaB*

        And better to get to it sooner than later because you really don’t want the to-be-fired employee to start counting on an income they will not have. The sooner you get them out, the less likely the employee is going to go “Oooh I have this income, lemme buy a car, or refinance my house.” Which is NOT the responsibility of the OP, but still. You do not want a poor employee thinking you’re going to forever let them slide.

    2. NotAnotherManager!*

      I had the same situation. I’ve had to fire a handful of people over the years, and #3 is the one that I always come back to. It’s not fair to ask the strong performers to put up with nonperformance from their coworkers.

    3. Another person*

      I’ve been the high performer in scenario #3. Many of us can and do leave those situations if the manager continually refuses to take action. I want to work for the good managers, not the bad ones.

      I think it’s something more managers should think about, and I’m glad some do – do they really want to run off all their good workers and be stuck with the low performers?

    4. gingerblue*

      These are great ways to frame the situation. I’d add that there’s one more hypothetical person who is worth thinking about if you’re feeling guilty over the repercussions for the fired employee, and that’s the person you would hire to take their place. If you have (to riff on engineermommy’s example) a single dad who really needs the job but stresses his coworkers and puts people in danger and hasn’t fixed these problems despite being given the chance, and a single dad who really needs the job and won’t stress his coworkers or put people in danger, are you being fair to competent guy by keeping incompetent guy around?

      (Not that you want to hire based on who needs the job the most, but it can help your own peace of mind to reframe it that way.)

    5. Anon3*

      I’m in a situation where I should start the firing process, but don’t want to. I inherited a guy who has been with the company for many years, and is given responsibilities where he can do the least harm, i.e, not much. But that’s not fair to everyone else.

      Whenever I start documenting his mistakes and our conversations, it puts us both in a bad mood. In addition, to be honest I’ve had worse people on the team, the horror story who wanted to fight and argue with everyone all the time, or the person who was constantly taking off. I’m afraid if I let this person go, I’ll get someone worse. Decisions Decisions.

  6. Puppy Pup Pup*

    OP1, this firing was probably really hard because it was your first one. I’ve never been in a manager position, but I bet the first fire is always the hardest. You gave this employee a chance, but she didn’t want to improve.

    If it makes you feel any better, you fired her the right, responsible way. Today I was told that another organization in our shared building forced someone to resign because she didn’t like his work but never told him this. She’s threatening all the other employees that she will fire them if they talk about his resignation. That’s bad firing.

    1. paul*

      For some reason your statement makes me think of that scene in the Casino Royale with Craig where he kills the corrupt section head…

    2. Rick Tq*

      OP1, you didn’t fire them, they fired themselves. Not performing, lying, and constant arguments are all things your ex-employee could have changed if they chose to.

      Don’t feel bad about enforcing standards of performance and behavior. You protected your team, and that is one of the most important duties of a good manager (in my opinion).

  7. Jessesgirl72*

    I think the key to keep in mind, not just when firing someone, but pretty much in all of life, is that the consequences someone suffers are their fault, not the fault of the person tasked with giving out the consequences. Do your best to be fair and transparent, but let go of the responsibility over someone’s life choices and what those result in.

    1. Xarcady*

      This. Try thinking of it this way, you didn’t fire him so much as he made it clear he wouldn’t/couldn’t do the job.

      When I was a grad student, I taught Freshman English. I remember how, when I was a student, it seemed as if teachers just loved to hand out Ds and Fs. They didn’t care; they just went merrily about their lives, having crushed their students into little, tiny bits.

      What an awakening for me when I had to give that first paper an F. I think I spent half an hour arguing with myself–Well, maybe it’s a D, but no, it doesn’t even try to meet the assigned topic. And the grammar! and the muddled thinking! and the complete and utter lack of one complete sentence in the entire thing! I felt guilty, as if I had let the student down. Instead of the student cutting half the classes, not writing a rough draft, not attending his assigned conference with me, etc.

      I felt pretty much the same way the one time I had to fire someone. It’s never easy. And it probably shouldn’t be easy. It should be something that you think about and consider and try to prevent.

      But I will end with my grandfather’s words (Grandpa was a college professor and my best mentor). “You didn’t *give* that student an F’; he *earned* that F.” You didn’t randomly fired that employee; he earned that firing.

      1. Been There, Done That*

        In class, everyone gets the same lecture and the same syllabus, at the same time; they take the same exams. Managers don’t always treat all staff members the same. I’m not saying that’s the case with OP, but their story got to me because our dept. lost *another* person last week. Turnover has jumped since our manager was promoted from the ranks a very few years ago–people quit, fired, quit under threat of firing. Try pleasing a boss who says one thing in the morning and the direct opposite in the afternoon, makes mountains out of craters, or, the biggest complaint, plays extreme favorites–Jane gets in trouble for doing something Fergus gets away with. But Boss thinks he/she is so fair and objective…

  8. Shalaka Tamhane*

    For the last letter about praising an employee to their manager, I’ve seen it done a few ways (I’ve had some stellar employees who were always getting “love notes” as we called them.) I think it’s nice to write the email directly to the employee thanking them for their work and any details about how they helped you and copy the manager. Then both people see it at the same time, the employee is directly thanked and can see that their manager was copied.

    1. Trout 'Waver*

      I agree with you here, Shalaka. Messaging the manager is something I would do if I was at the same level as the manager. If I was at the same level as the employee, I think it would be better to message the employee directly.

    2. paul*

      I feel like an idiot for not thinking of doing that earlier. I’m going to do this going forward.

    3. SarahKay*

      Agreed, I email the employee and thank them for great work, or congratulate them for a good result, or whatever, and copy their manager. As far as I recall, I’ve done the same thing for peers and for people reporting to a peer.
      And from the other side – it makes my day when I get a thank you email like that for work I’ve done :)

    4. Anna*

      This is exactly what I did a couple of weeks ago. I sent the email directly to the staff I wanted to praise and cc’ed their manager as well as let her know in person how great they were. It felt good and their manager really appreciated hearing from someone how they were being awesome.

  9. Trout 'Waver*

    In regards to #2, my boss appreciates that I start meetings without him.

    Also, starting meetings promptly on time without everyone there sends a strong message that you value people’s time. You will be seen in a positive light and people will be much more willing to attend your meetings if you do it. Obviously, if your boss doesn’t want you to start without you there you should wait for him. But he’s undermining you if he’s doing that.

    1. TheTallestOneEver*

      Totally agree. Unless we need a decision or direction from my boss, he expects me to start the meeting without him.

  10. Quinalla*

    #1: I was interim head of my regional office and assisted with firing two people and both were very hard for me, even the first one where we had every reason to fire this guy and he was given chances to improve. I did not fire them myself, my boss did that as he didn’t want to put me in that position as interim head, but I still felt guilt about it for awhile. I agree that focusing on how much better the office was and how happy everyone else was eased that guilt. The second firing (which he actually resigned prior to being fired, but would have been and was on an PIP) was harder on me as it was someone I had brought in. I felt some guilt that I hadn’t done enough, but after talking it over with my boss and one of my mentors, I realized I did everything I could to set him up for success. So yeah, definitely talk to someone else at your level or above or who had been there. It will help you get perspective!

    #2: if someone doesn’t show up, I usually also try to reach them once prior to starting as people forget, don’t realize they should call in, etc. But yes, I would have proceeded without them and then sent a follow to the boss with a brief summary of the meeting.

  11. Secret Ninja for this one*

    OP#1. I’ve fired numerous people over the years. Of those, I actually enjoyed one, had a VERY hard time with one, and the others, while I didn’t enjoy it and felt awful, I did it. Because it was my job. You have to remind yourself that it is not your fault. We sometimes call it de-hiring. I didn’t fire you, you de-hired yourself. As one of our other bosses has said on many occasions “I’m just here to document the choices you make”

    I have an employee who is currently on very thin ice. She knows it, I am working with her, but I really think it’s time for her to go. Things aren’t sticking. Do I feel bad that I’m about to be the cause of someone’s loss of income? Yes. But am I really the cause? No, not really.

  12. it_guy*

    #4, is this something that you can be paid for? Since you are doing work related activities, I would think that you could be reimbursed for your time.

  13. sillyquiet*

    Oof, pet peeve on #3 on a side comment the writer made: I do not ever every come in on Saturday and Sunday (or after normal working hours), unless it is a genuine emergency. Too too many corporate managers make the assumption that ‘salaried’ = ‘you have no set working hours’ (which means, to them, ‘hey free overtime work’). My sanity and stress levels need set hours away from the office that are almost absolutely uninterruptible.
    Plus you know, salary dilution.

  14. NotTheSecretary*

    I was a temp agent for about a year. During that year, I laid-off hundreds of people (not that hard as they mostly understood the nature of temp work and expected to hire on and off) and I fired about thirty. I would like to say they haunted me but, the truth is, I lost the emotional energy to really care after the first dozen or so. It wears you down so insidiously. I hope you can find peace with the position you are in without getting to the point I reached – it wasn’t good for my employees and it was a big sign that I wasn’t cut out to do it.

    I think there can be kindness in letting someone go. AAM always has the best advice of how to handle tough managerial tasks with kindness but without sacrificing the real, hard consequences. Best of luck.

  15. bopper*

    Another thing to do is IM your boss (or anyone missing) and ask if they are joining.

  16. The Supreme Troll*

    For OP#1, I don’t think that your boss deliberately stayed away from the termination meeting; I think it was simply an innocent scheduling error. I definitely don’t think that she was trying to undermine you or show that she doesn’t agree with your decision.

    But sometimes, these things can have a silver lining. OP, I believe that by your manager not being present at the termination meeting, it, inadvertently, gave you more of the mental & emotional strength that will help you in your career when you need to make tough decisions. If your manager had been present, you may have, subconsciously, looked to her to make the decision about whether to fire or not to fire. I’m not saying that you certainly would have, but, in my opinion, this could be normal to feel for a newer manager.

    1. Not That Jane*

      But… hopefully by the time you’re in the meeting, you as the manager have already made the decision about whether to fire the employee?

  17. The Supreme Troll*

    And OP#1, I also want to say that it is totally normal & natural to feel guilty about firing someone, or to second-guess the decision. But, while it is normal to feel this way, these are feelings you’ll need to work though and, for the most part, ignore.

    You did what was needed in correcting a situation that could not go on any longer. By showing toughness, fairness, and firmness, your employees and your own boss will respect you even more. Have no more worries about this.

  18. lina inverse*

    OP1 here. I commented earlier that I read the post thinking “wow! that happened to me too!” before realizing that it was my letter from years ago. LOL

    So here’s an update: firing that person was easily the best decision I had made. I knew without a doubt that it was the right one, hence my confusion over feeling so emotionally off-kilter after. Honestly, she should’ve been fired long before I had to do it (I didn’t share all the facts at the time…terminated employee used to be my boss but grandboss swapped us when she wasn’t managing the department and Tea Pot orders backed up excessively) but I’ve since made my peace with having to be the one to follow through with that decision. I really appreciate Allison’s comment in the article that making these decisions makes you a better manager, because it’s so true. I’m still in the same job, but 4 years later, I am confident in my ability to manage effectively and nothing has nearly been as bad as having to firing someone after a few months into your new job. I think I was just so new and inexperienced that it took me a while to process the situation. Alison’s advice holds true regardless of the weird situation of firing your former boss — it needed to be done and would not have been fair to keep her on otherwise.

    Someone else here commented that it was hard because it was my first, and while I have not had to fire anyone since then, I think I agree with that. I ended up going to my doctor to get help with the physical effects of the anxiety which helped a ton. Turns out taking care of yourself is pretty important too. :)

    Overall, I will say I have come to love managing as it’s been incredibly gratifying to empower my existing team members who had been around for that time as well as the new ones who came after to do their jobs and do them well. I’ve read AaM religiously which has helped tremendously over the past 4 years. My department is a far better place than we were when I became manager, and for that, I am grateful for advice columns like this one.

    1. The Supreme Troll*

      Lina Inverse, thank you for following up. This is a great update, and I wish you all the best.

    2. paul*

      Goddang, you just got right in the deep end! I don’t ever want to have any of my former bosses under me, some because they were horrible people, others just because it’d be awkward as hell. Like yeah, you put up with me as a 20 year old and taught me professional norms but now I have to chew you out for something you probably remember me doing. *shudder*

  19. CanCan*

    OP #5 – Such a nice thing to do! As a sort of a template, a co-worker recently sent this to my manager, who forwarded to me and to HR:

    “I just wanted to express how great *** is to work with. She provides tremendous ***, is extremely efficient with ***, and makes ***’s life so much easier because of her contributions.

    I know we do not take enough time to recognize employees, so I figured this was a nice informal way of doing it.”

    1. Competent Commenter*

      I think that’s a great template, CanCan! However, the use of asterisks made me inadvertently read it as though they were swear words. :)

  20. AcademiaNut*

    For LW#4 – as an hourly employee, she should also be getting paid for the time that she spends readings and answering all these texts. That could be one way of approaching HR – that she doesn’t mind answering an occasional text when it’s something important, but that the frequency of communication is taking a fair amount of her oft-shift time, and is currently breaking laws.

  21. Firing Manager*

    I admit…I’ve only ever fired one person. She needed to go. I did everything I could to try to help her improve for nearly a year to no avail. She was fired nearly a year ago and I still sometimes feel guilty. I wonder if she found a new job. If she ended up okay. She had just returned to work after getting married and I worry that firing her then caused a lot of stress.

    I know I will likely have to do it again sometime but I don’t ever want to. It was a horrible feeling thinking that I had been responsible for the loss of someone’s income (I know, logically, that I am not responsible – she is – but I tend to be an incredibly soft hearted person).

  22. Erin*

    My old boss used to text me and or call me all the time on when I was off. Not about emergency things. I felt it was so disrespectful. It was annoying because it was usually stuff that could wait until I got in. Such as I mixed up the window sinage for our sale. The one that was supposed to go in the right window was on the left and the left sign was in the right. Nobody was hurt, nothing was damaged and I doubt customers noticed. Nothing to wake the 2nd shift person up at 7:00 am on their day off over.

    1. London Calling*

      I had a manager who worked largely off-site – this was a small training company – and who if she woke up in the middle of the night would open up the laptop and start firing off emails. During the day she’d be sending them while she was at a training, as well, and if I didn’t answer them immediately – like within half an hour – she’d phone or message. Result? my inbox was continually full and the work backed up because I was dealing with sorting out what she wanted – and the work backup was another thing she complained about. The stress was off the scale. That is the only job I have walked out of. Literally walked out of – picked up my stuff, told the only sales person there ‘Tell X I quit’ – and walked.

        1. London Calling*

          Well, I had to put up with her screaming down the phone at me that evening, but it just reinforced that I’d made the right decision. She’s very high on my own personal list of The WorstManagerIEverHad. I wish I’d known about red flags when I had the interview because she kept interrupting me to take calls on her mobile, which is a pet hate of mine – but hey, you live and learn.

  23. Calyx Teren*

    Response to the LW who felt guilty about firing someone: Don’t. Getting rid of some e who isn’t working is one of the best things you can do (1) for your company, (2) for everyone else on your team, (3) for your reputation, and (4) even for the person you fire.
    1. As a manager, you have been entrusted with making sure the company has the best employees.
    2. If you keep a low performer on the team, you are telling everyone who works hard and accomplishes things that they are suckers.
    3. See 1 and 2.
    4. People need to thrive. Few people thrive in a job where they perform badly.

    If you have a high quality person whose job description brings out their weaknesses and not their strengths, then do whatever you can to find another position for them that brings out their strengths. Bring creative here can lead to quantum leaps. But if all the evidence tells you that it’s not a fit for the company, and the employee is not helping, then be swift. The only regret I’ve ever had after firing someone is that I didn’t do it sooner. That’s usually because after they leave you discover how much stuff was left undone or done badly, and people come out of the woodwork to tell you that they knew it wasn’t working and were hoping someone (you) would do something.

    Don’t let your company and team down.

    1. ChickenSuperhero*

      Well, telling someone not to feel something that is swamping them, because it’s illogical, never works. They already know why it was the right thing to do, but are struggling with emotions after. (Though the OP followed up that time helped her sort through.)

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