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5 Ways to Get Fired Now!

May 24, 2009


In the current economy, getting laid off is decidedly passé while handing in your notice implies a responsibility to look for future employment and contemplate life beyond the comfort of your carefully cultivated office cubicle.  No, the true bon vivant of today’s bellybutton gazing economy aspires to get fired – spectacularly.  Trouble is, if you can sell in a down market, jumping off the corporate ladder can be just as tricky for a sales rep as scaling its slippery rungs.  Fortunately, career seppuku is now within the easy reach of every sales professional, no matter how motivated they are. 

1.  Taking Liberties with the Company Expense Policy
You made enough cash last year to send your kids to Europe and put your mistress through Art School yet the temptation still burns every Friday night to expense that $6 beer after a particularly rough day in the office.  One man’s legitimate business expense is another man’s all paid visit to Score’s complete with steak dinner and 60 minutes of negotiation time in the champagne room.  If in doubt ask for a fully itemized bill after a night of raiding the hotel mini-bar on your next business trip and don’t forget to call internationally from the comfort and convenience of your hotel phone.

2.  Letting Your Valued Customers Know Exactly How You Feel
Being nice to everyone makes it difficult to express love to those whom we truly care about and can undermine our sense of being; in the immortalized words from the recently released Brother’s Bloom film “My day job requires me to feign interest in people all day long but understand, I am actually interested in you.”

If you’re planning on terminating your employment then there’s no better time to burn every business relationship in your rolodex.  “This email is to let you know that I have had respect for neither myself, you nor Polymex Building Supplies at any time during the past three years while serving as your valued industrial paint advisor.  I have found you continually difficult to work with and wish to express my deepest sympathies to your spouse.  You may be interested to know that it is actually possible to remove connections from LinkedIn.”

3.  Expressing Your True Self
Corporate America loves creativity as long as it stays within the confines of whether to sport a pink tie or go with tasseled loafers.  Regardless of the quality of your legal representation, cross-dressing is still frowned upon among field sales representatives (unless this was disclosed at the time of hiring in which case it’s all OK).  Other currently unacceptable lifestyle choices include politically motivated facial tattoos, joining the Hare Krishna’s and nudism during regular office hours.

4. DUI while Travelling in a Company Sponsored Vehicle
Believe it or not, getting ticketed for drunk driving while rolling in a company-sponsored vehicle is an instantly dismissible offense at most Fortune 500 firms.  As part of our research for this article we interviewed a prominent employment lawyer with an international technology sales force to get to the bottom of this surprising legal conundrum and were told “It just is, ok.  Don’t fuck with me, I went to Wharton.” So the rule of the story is, if you’re going to get trashed after closing a million dollar deal, be sure to park the hire car at the Holiday Inn and expense that taxi back to the airport.

5. Not Selling Anything
This is perhaps the trickiest way to get fired from any sales position and should only be attempted by those with a deep understanding of corporate politics and a graduate-level qualification from an AACSB accredited business school.  The problem arises from the difficulty associated with conclusively proving that someone hasn’t sold anything.  Consider the sad tale of Brian, a medical device sales representative based in New Jersey who was happily contemplating his imminent firing after missing his sales quota for a second consecutive quarter: 

“Remember that deal that Dave closed in California last week, well it turns out his prospect’s Mom’s chiropractor knew Brian’s dentist in New York – who knows what would have happened without Brian’s network, we better keep him on just in case.” 

There’s also the question of timing – sales people don’t get suddenly fired for poor performance, it’s more like six boy scouts taking turns to piss on a camp fire until the damn thing is finally out.  If you’re going to get dismissed for incompetence then you’ll need the commitment to not make any outbound phone calls nor answer any client emails for at least 6 months.  By that time, you may just want to keep your sales job anyway.


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