You're Fired! Five Songs Based on a True Story
The woman who was seconds away from becoming my ex-boss looked at me like a math problem she'd never fucking figure out.
Photo by Bill Alldredge/Flickr Commons
She asked for my security badge. Why not have me lop off a finger and toss it over? That's how much the badge and all it led to had become a part of me. Then we green-miled it to the parking lot.
That, in a nutshell, is how I got fired from my day job, the first time I'd ever been canned in 31 years of working life. Never even been laid off.
Who I worked for and what I did isn't important. Just know that my boss pulled a Takagi on me. Which is to say, she put a bullet in the head of my employment there, blew the smoke off her pistol and walked back to the office like Hans Gruber telling my concerned co-workers, "Jesse won't be joining us again... for the rest of his life."
As the office building disappeared in my rearview, my only thought was how poorly this was going to go over with Mrs. Sendejas. We'd become accustomed to buying exotic stuff, like hamburger, eggs and beer. Now what?
In the end, the things that always save me did so again -- the aforementioned Mrs. (her advice: "Eff those b's"); repeated prayers; all the scrappiness I'd developed growing up in Hiram Clarke. I had a new job before the old one ever finished paying off the vacation weeks it owed me.
And, of course, I listened to music to heal my wounded ego. I hope you never find yourself being judged by someone you don't respect, helpless as they prattle on about how poorly you perform a job they've never done; but, if you do, remember me -- I came out okay, thanks in part to these songs:
Christina Aguilera, "Beautiful"
These days, every employer follows some protocol to dismiss an employee, the proverbial paper trail that unfurls like the white carpet leading to the unemployment line. By the time they actually show you the door, you've already heard a few times how worthless you are. I admit, I didn't accept this too well.
"You throw more papers at me than the Houston Chronicle," I told my boss once as I signed her writeup.
In those moments, it's tempting to turn into the crazy-eyed, Jack Nicholson of beleaguered employees, peering through the crack of your career's closing door with hatchet in hand. But, you can't go "Here's Johnny!" on your employers.
However, even if you were ratchet (Was I? Maybe. Sometimes. Not important now...), you have to defend yourself, right? Christina Aguilera's anthem of self-worth might seem out of place, but it sure reminded me that I was beautiful, no matter what those writeups said.
Z-Ro, "One Deep"
During this process, expect to get crunk. If you don't, you may as well let them ride you out to pasture and shoot you before the next conference call. I listened to "One Deep" every morning during work commutes those last few weeks. If my boss was in the office, I listened to it at lunch and after work, too.
When you're in this position, it might be easy to turn on co-workers, too. After all, you secretly envy how rosy they're smelling while you reek of manure. Before long, you're letting everyone know you can do bad just bein' one deep.
Every morning, I recited 'Ro's dedication to my employers, "y'all muthafuckas ain't shit/ I promise, y'all ain't shit." Come to think of it, listening to this song may have sped up my inevitable separation.
List continues on the next page.