I Heard You Got Fired

I love sharing life stories with people, so here is one I heard at a conference a long time ago. I’d love to credit the speaker, but I don’t remember who told it. It gives a great example of balancing separate roles when in a position where there is a business/administrative role which overlaps into a personal life role (like a father, personal coach, etc)

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Once upon a time there was a young man who worked for his father’s shop. Thing was, he had a horrible attitude in work. He was lazy, came in late, didn’t follow the company policies, and more. He was at odds with all the other employees, and caused great strife in the workplace. In any other store, he would have been fired months ago. His dad was at a loss as to what he should do, as he did not want to damage his personal relationship with his son, putting the business above the person.

Then one day he got a rather clever idea. The next three weeks, each day he came into work wearing a bright neon orange cap. It was unmistakable and quite memorable. When he was working and acting as owner, he wore the cap. When he was at home or not working, it hung on a peg or sat on a table. Soon, the employees recognized it was a marker as to the status of this owner. On his head meant he was acting as owner, off his head he was not.

After everyone, including the son, came to realized this, the dad took the soon out to lunch. He said “Boy, you’ve been lazy, late for the past three months, broken many rules regarding safety and company policy, and are a negative influence on the other employees. I have no other choice. You are fired.” The young man sat there for a moment, stunned his father had actually fired him. There was a few seconds of silence, and the dad removed his hat and set it on the table.Then he said “Well son, I heard you got fired. Care to explain why?

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This story illustrates in a great way how we can be mentors to people, while separating the difficulty of leading a class, coaching a team, or owning a business. Hopefully you can tuck it in your back pocket of people skills, I’ve done so in mine, and it has come in handy more than once. :)

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