Exactly one year ago today on April Fool’s Day my boss laid me off. I was called into the owner’s office and he sat there with a straight face as though he was about to vomit. As the words poured out of his mouth, of course I smiled because it was likely a joke.
In amazement I listened to his unbelievable speech, which went something like this; “Our company is going in a different direction, while we appreciate your hard work, I have to let you go”. Say what? Obviously the first words out of my mouth were; “If this is an April Fool’s joke, it’s not funny.” As his pale face drained completely, he looked at me in horror as he slipped the pink slip across his desk. It was then that I realized this was no prank.
Seriously, who does that? Why would anyone be so cruel to let a person go on this day. While it was on a Friday, couldn’t he have done it on the day before or the following Monday? Didn’t he know it was April Fool’s Day?
So after the shocking news, I drove home in disbelief with my “termination box” and an exploding cell phone. Since I was in a management position, dozens of worker’s under my watch began to call. They all seemed to have the same message; “Is this a joke….it’s not funny. We know this is NOT true.” I then realized he had called each of them to report the news, which caused him some grief as well. Try explaining this is the truth…over-and-over again. As you can imagine, this definitely made for a long drive home.
To make matters worse, when I called my mom to break the bad news…she jumped on the bandwagon. As she laughed hysterically she said, “You won’t get me this year!” I had to interject and say multiple times; “This is NO joke!” Well, she just would not believe me, so I had to abruptly hang up the phone and hope that it would eventually sink in.
The moral of this story is…don’t terminate an employee on April Fool’s Day, or the joke may come back to bite you. It obviously delivered “bad karma”, because what happened later was not good news for them. No need to go into detail, but let your imagination help you discover the possibilities.
In the end, this is something to think about the next time an employer decides to eliminate a position, terminate an employee, downsize or plain fire someone on this day. Check your calendar first and plan accordingly…and this aint no joke!
While this day of pranks and fun is found in the history books as early as 1392, the intention was probably not to joke about a layoff. Many countries celebrate this day of fun, but I am certain even they know it is not be a good day to lay someone off.
If you need more common sense advice, other really bad days to fire an employee are; Christmas Eve, New Year’s Eve, Mother’s Day and of course Birthday’s. Make sure to check a calendar for annual holidays to avoid this mistake, visit http://www.usafederalholidays.com/.