Would you know what comfort to offer if your spouse gets fired? Have you yourself ever been fired from a job? Down-sized. Reduction-in-force. Last in/first out. Mis-managed office politics. Whistleblower. Thrown under the bus. Slept with your boss. Pandemic casualty. Whatever the reason, fired is fired. And fired feels absolutely shitty.
If spouse gets fired for stupidity
If your spouse got caught embezzling funds from off-shore dummy accounts, the advice below may not apply. In that instance, the employer firing your spouse’s sorry ass on the spot is understandable. Your spouse deserved the armed escort to the parking lot if they sexually harassed co-workers. If future ex-co-workers softly chanted “Dead Man Walking” because your spouse said vile, racists things, fuck your spouse. However, if they have no idea why their employer fired them or they had a Jerry Maguire meltdown, cut them some slack.
It’s bad enough when your spouse gets fired, so don’t throw lighter fluid on the fire. Well-meaning folks can exacerbate the situation when trying to make their loser spouse feel better. If you find yourself in this position, heed the following advice:
1. do not dispense useless advice
If your spouse gets fired, do not dispense useless advice. Also, almost anything you say besides “that sucks” is useless. Here are several examples of useless advice:
“You should wear a business suit to the Unemployment Office. You will blend right in.”
“It’s fine to smoke weed now that you’re unemployed. You wouldn’t want to work for an employer that drug tested anyway. Don’t give in to ‘The Man’!”
“Go back to school! Education debt is good debt! More education is never a bad thing and at least we’ll have money to buy ramen.”
“Don’t worry about networking. It’s not who you know. Your resume will get you a job.”
“That algoriyhm employers use to weed out candidates is a myth.” or “Prospective employers will see your skills are transferrable.”
“Be perfectly honest about your salary history. They want to pay you what you’re worth.”
“You will thank them later for doing you the favor of firing you.”
2. do not create false hope
While maintaining a positive attitude is important, do not create false hope. Also, in these bleak times, all hope is false and should also be avoided. Platitudes are deeply over-rated, so don’t make me hurt you. Don’t use them. Accept that life is not fair, nothing makes sense, and it’s okay to settle. Following are examples of false hope to avoid saying when your spouse gets fired:
“The environment isn’t as bad as every news outlet has been reporting for several years. Employers will be clamoring to give you multiple offers!”
“If you go on enough interviews, you are bound to get an offer.”
“Your age or length of unemployment won’t be held against you. That’s illegal, and employers don’t engage in illegal hiring practices.”
“The Pandemic is totally going to be gone soon. Trump said so himself, so we have nothing to worry about.”
3. don’t look for meaning where there is none
Do not try to make sense of that which is incapable of making sense. Additionally, none of it makes sense. The world is a terrible place and we’re all going to die. Alone.
4. don’t complain about how they could have fired your spouse better
Some might argue the method of your spouse’s firing matters. They believe it’s possible to retain your dignity in the midst of the firing. Don’t be that person. Don’t indulge in firing fantasies in which your spouse felt energetic after their employer fired them. It’s a unicorn, and doesn’t exist. In contrast, I maintain all means of being fired lead to loss of your job. There’s no “good” way to be fired. If you’re privileged enough to have C.O.B.R.A., it’s still going to end. They still sucker punched you in the groin even if they offered severance. If they say they’ll give a good reference, it still sucks ass.
Did they fire your spouse via the The Soup Nazi approach? In other words, provide no notice, throw them a box for their things and scream “No job for you!” Alternatively, did they run over your spouse with a 2 M.P.H. steamroller? For instance, put your spouse on probation for months? Pretended things weren’t dire but snuffed your spouse out of meetings? Did they schedule Friday 4:00 pm meetings every other week to give your spouse heart palpitations?
5. Don’t make it about you when your spouse gets fired. this is their party.
Don’t demand all the sordid details after your spouse gets fired. It doesn’t matter if they cried or begged at the end. What’s done is done. Your spouse needs their dignity to land the next job. As long as you have the full names of the bastards who fired your spouse, you can balance karma, when it’s dark enough outside.
Do not freak the fuck out or point out obvious stressors. Avoid bursting into tears every time a friend mentions a vacation you will now never be able to take. Also, don’t fill the family dry erase board with items you can no longer afford, like fixing the roof, or bagels.
6. do not heed other people’s advice
Especially, mine. Except one thing, the one piece of advice I adhere to is, “Don’t burn bridges.” This applies unless they can’t trace it back to you. I stand in awe of anyone who has never been fired. For those of us who have: Workers Unite! We are only as crappy as we let other people make us feel.