How Do You Say Good-Bye To An Employee?

Posted on March 21, 2014 by - Also by this author

Sometimes you know you should let someone go because they just don't fit in anymore. Maybe they got too big for their britches. Maybe they got burned out and didn't care anymore. Maybe they have animosity because others were promoted above them. The list of reasons for not fitting in and doing a good job anymore can range from person to person and situation to situation.


In the case of a long term employee, in my case, five years, it can be hard to let them go. You know they are not pulling their weight. You know their co-workers are complaining about their work habits and ethics. But even so, the loyalty over the years makes it hard to sit down and do what you need to.

You know it is the right thing to do. So where do you begin? I am not talking about the legal documentation and written notice of termination. I mean, how to begin the conversation? Do you say, “Hey, by the way, you're fired?” Or, do you say, “Hey, I have really appreciated all your hard work but....” It is such a difficult conversation.

I am human. I have emotions. I have been fired in my life. I have been “laid off,” “let go,” or whatever nice version you want to spin on it. You know that feeling of wondering how you will pay your rent. How will you make your car payment and keep your insurance on it? Speaking of insurance, what about your benefits such as health and dental insurance? Your whole world is turned upside down in this five-minute conversation.

At the end of the day, as a you lay your head down on your pillow, you think about how much it sucks to be the boss sometimes. As they say, the buck stops here.

— Jim Luff, LCT contributing editor

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