I've been doing some research on how/why people lose their jobs. I think there's a funny/sad book in it. Anyway, here are 10 real (short) anecdotes from real people who've given me permission to post. I've changed their names to protect their identities.
If you've got a good/sad/funny/ridiculous story, please leave it in the comments below and we'll compare notes.
1. Because of Religion
Nicole was fired for not being Catholic. Yep, she was working in a Catholic school as a science teacher and eventually outted and terminated.
2. Because of Tattoos
Julie was fired for not disclosing that she had tattoos. According to her, they never show, her clothes hide everything. Her boss saw her out somewhere on a day off and caught a glimpse of her shoulder and fired her on the spot. Her boss said she was a great worker, totally loved her, but even having tattoos sent the wrong message to their clients. "The kicker? It was a call center. Yeah...."
3. Because of Standards
This one is written so well in first person, I've got to quote it word-for-word: "I got fired from a bar-tending job in Scotland after telling a customer no when he asked if I'd like to 'go for a wee shag' after my shift. The boss even told me that I was a good bartender and he'd recommend me to a more low key pub, but I just wasn't right for that place. I agreed! Any place with a policy like that is not my cuppa tea. Also, what kind of chat up line is 'wanna go for a wee shag?!'"
4. Because of Deliverables
Lori's husband was fired for:requesting vacation, receiving permission to take vacation, and taking said vacation. The day he returned they had already packed his stuff and fired him on the spot. Evidently they 'set him up' claiming he left on vacation without finishing a deliverable. He had no deliverable.
5. Because of a Drawing
Jamie was fired once for drawing a cartoon. His boss said it might offend someone, and let him go.
6. Because of Attire
Dawn went to work dressed as a Grateful Dead head. (It was Halloween). Her boss said "I don't think we will need you today!" Dawn told me: "The big fake 'Cheech and Chong' joint didn't help!'
7. Because of Nearly Dying
Here's another one best told in first person: "I had to have surgery out of the blue to save my life and I woke up a month and a half later and a few hours later my boss came into the hospital and fired me!"
8. Because She Had to Get the Donuts
Again, better told in first person: "The summer after my freshman year of college, I worked for a local community organization, supervising teenagers working summer jobs at schools. There were about 20 'supervisors,' and everyday, we put in some change and someone went next door for a box of donuts. Every day, without fail. On the very last day of the program, it was my turn to go. The chair of the department called an impromptu farewell meeting, and I missed it because I was next door. When I came back, I was fired . . . for going to get donuts. The director of the organization later apologized on the chair's behalf, and said something to the effect of 'Yeah, he's an a$$.'"
9. Because of a Skin Color
Sue was fired for not being tan while working in a tanning salon. D'oh!
10. Because of a Viral Video
This last one is pretty well-known, but worth repeating. Remember that hilarious iPhone 4 video that was going around this past summer? (Warning: some serious expletives in here, if you haven't seen it...)
The video in question was made by 25-year-old (and here I'm using the real name because the story is well-known) Brian Maupin. For the past 3.5 years he’d been working at Best Buy selling mobile phones. But over the summer, Best Buy suspended him indefinitely and is currently taking the steps to terminate him.
The video became so popular (it currently has nearly 10 million views on YouTube) that someone at Best Buy corporate saw it. “They felt it disparaged a brand they carried (iPhone/Apple) as well as the store itself and were fearful of stockholders & customers being turned off to Best Buy Mobile,” Maupin said.
Of course, nowhere in the video does Maupin mention Best Buy. The cartoon employee identifies the store as “Phone Mart.” The character isn’t even wearing the signature Best Buy blue polo shirt — and they’re standing in an outdoor field with a pink tree. Sigh... Just imagine how Best Buy could have used this story to their advantage! Promoted the guy and gotten a pantload of free advertising out of it!
Okay, your turn!