Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.


Being the bearer of a bad news is rarely bearable.

Yes, once in a while you'll experience the quiet joy of firing an employee who has consistently melded arrogance with ignorance.

More often, though, sadness and empathy might be the first emotions appropriate to telling someone they don't have a job anymore.

But what do you do at the end of day? Do you treat it like any other day? Or do you go out and celebrate that you have avoided the fate?

When J. Crew fired around 175 employees, it was because sales were down. Those who were fired weren't all to blame for that.

Instead, a mass layoff often involves all sorts of subjective criteria, as well as mean-hearted entreaties from a CFO.

Still, if you're one of those required to impart the bad news, perhaps it's not entirely intelligent to go out and celebrate. This, however, was the choice of several J. Crew executives.

One singled out by the New York Post was Alejandro Rhett, the company's vice-president of men's merchandise. He was seen in Instagram pics leaping for apparent joy and sticking his index finger in the air as if he'd won the Super Bowl.

Perhaps in his head he had. Perhaps he felt as if he'd escaped the equivalent of an NFL investigation into illegally deflated balls and now his ego could inflate to bigger sizes.

The pictures were hashtagged with references to the Hunger Games, which didn't look fashionable in the public eye.

Going out and being cheery in these circumstances surely isn't the best advice.

Instead, go home.

Go home and take a look at your family, if you have one, and be grateful that there is more right with it than wrong and that you can contribute to supporting them by doing a job you don't entirely loathe.

Go home.

If you don't have a family, perhaps you have a lover. Go home and cook with them, tell them you love them and perhaps even whisper a little about how it felt to tell someone they didn't have a job anymore. Because you're not telling me it felt good, are you?

Go home.

If you are a lonesome soul, sit on your no-doubt comfortable sofa and think about all those who have called their spouses and lovers to tell them the bad news. Think about how they'll spend time wondering whether to tell the kids or not. Think about how, if they decide to tell their kids, how they'll agonize over the exact wording. Because kids feel things very quickly. Kids worry too.

Go home.

It may be that you think some of those you fired weren't good enough at their jobs. When you're at home, think about what you could do better too. Because part of your job as their boss is to help them be better at their jobs.

Go home.

When you've done your thinking, sure, have a glass of wine and tell yourself (or your loved one) that business can be nasty, brutal, unfair, even sickening. Tell yourself that some of those you fired might find jobs better than they one they had, with a better boss than you.

Go home.

And when you're done with all your thinking and talking, remind yourself just this once that very few people are immune from the surprise of being fired. One day, it could happen to you.