12 Reasons to Fire Someone

As you run a thriving business and life, there comes a time when you must fire someone.  I was speaking to a female filmmaker at Digital Hollywood in Los Angeles about the issue of being too nice.  She said she was being too nice and getting walked over and it was costing her time and giving her heartaches.  I told her she needed to learn the art of firing people and being a bitch.  She leaned back nervously and shocked.  When I smiled and explained that I didn’t mean being mean to people, I meant Being In Total Control of Herself aka Bitch. Or “Himself” in honor of the my bitchy queen friends (who don’t tend to have this issue.)

When you are working on a project, no matter what project it is, you have an end goal.  If anyone, I don’t care who it is, steps in front of that end goal, tries to halt it, derail it or mess with it in any way – you need to fire them.  What’s more important – being nice and not upsetting anyone or getting to your end goal?  There are a lot more people who will try to help you fail than there are those who will help you succeed.  It’s because so many people don’t follow their dreams and when they see someone who is, it’s easier for them to try and halt that progress than to stop projecting their own issues and get on the success shuttle.  You can love people up all you want and I certainly encourage that. I love everybody, usually. But you won’t see me working with just anyone. I’ve done that and had to learn the hard way.  The saying “It’s lonely at the top” is said for a reason because as you get to where you’re going on the journey of success, many won’t be able to take the ride with you simply because they aren’t yet ready to accept prosperity.  It’s not your job to fix them.  It’s your job to be an example of what can happen when you move forward.  When you move forward, you may have to fire people.

12 Reasons to fire someone:

  1. You’re late.
    • There are always exceptions to being late like you were caught in a tsunami. But there is traffic in the city, deal with it and plan for it. It’s better to be early and sit in your car and read or meditate than to be late. Being late is disrespectful to everyone on the project.  There are people who are chronically late with the excuse that they are just that way. Don’t be that person and don’t hire that person either. Fire them.
  2. You litter.
    • Littering tells a lot about someone. It shows that they don’t respect the environment, others in the world and even themselves.  I can’t stand it when anyone litters. If you litter on my set, you’re fired.
  3. You Bring Drama.
    • Running a business is already difficult without the drama.  If there is someone who repeatedly brings drama you need to cut them loose.  For example the person who is always having a breakdown and angry texting their intimate partner, the ones who get into yelling matches, the ones who always have a cloud of chaos surrounding them and the ones who point blame at the little gray cloud over their heads instead of getting to work.  Get a therapist and get off my set.
  4. You’re an Agent.
    • The age of the middle man is dying. We are all connected.  For every artist out there with an agent, you’ll hear about their favorite projects being passed on by that agent without the artist even knowing about it.  Booo hisss.  This is for my many actor friends who have had to fire their agents for creating drama and ruining projects. (God bless you rare agents out there who actually get it)
  5. You Waste Time.
    • Time is money. Don’t waste it.  Put the bong down and get to work.  For every person who plays solitaire when they should be working, there is an entrepreneur ready to invent the next world changing product.  Don’t waste time.
  6. You Lie, Cheat and/or Steal.
    • This one is a given but for some it isn’t, amazingly.  I’ve seen how people who crave drama and carry it with them are also those who tend to lie, cheat and steal so by getting rid of the drama you can many times avoid the thieves too.
  7. You Keep Strange Company.
    • This one also fits under bringing drama but has a slot all its own because some people crave and carry strange company.  I’m talking about the hanger-on who comes to work with you to “wait until you’re off” or the creepy-weirdos who show up unannounced and take up work time with drama.
  8. You Drunk Dial.
    • It is time to deal with your addictions, not bring them to work.  There are plenty of roads to recovery out there, find them.
  9. You Don’t Do What You Say You’re Going To Do.
    • One of the keys to success is doing what you say you’re going to do.  Even if you’re in the indie world and it takes you longer, you still do it.  If you have people around who do not do what they say they’re going to do, guess what?  Fire them.
  10. You Fit into the Cycle of Power and Control Wheel
    • Violence and abusive jerks (all genders) will only create more problems. I don’t care if they are good at what they do, if they have a good story, do good work or are really talented at whatever – if they are abusive, they need to be fired.
      wheelpowercontrol 300x300 12 Reasons to Fire Someone
  11. You Have to Be Told Twice.

    • This goes without saying and also goes with doing what you say you’re going to do.  I give the grand plan once.  Take notes.
  12. You Just Don’t Get It.

    • Sometimes you run across someone who just doesn’t get it.  They don’t get the reason you’re going after your goal, why you’re so passionate, why you’re doing what you’re doing in the first place and how they fit into the bigger picture.  If they don’t get it, they are wasting your time.  Love them, but don’t work with them.
pixel 12 Reasons to Fire Someone
  • http://www.angelashelton.com/ Angela Shelton

    Yeehaw You! Nice to see you on here again. And hells to the yeah, finding a great boss or team leader is just as important as finding a great employee or sub contractor. And sometimes, yes you are correct, you have to just learn it and do it yourself!

  • sjbosch56

    Re: 12 Reasons to Fire Someone

    While seeing Donald Trump’s picture at the top of the article (Yeah, you got a word nerd here) I read it through because I’ve been fired from several jobs and wanted to check your reasoning.

    As a boss, you are right. It is crass and completely unprofessional to bring personal problems to work. And being able to trust an employee with supplies and access to the company’s money is important — very important. I didn’t get fired for those reasons. I got fired because I was a bad fit for the job. I didn’t have the skills, or not enough of them anyway, to be an effective, let alone an outstanding employee.

    I went after the job because they offered and I thought it was my responsibility to suck it up and get with the program. Didn’t work.

    I do want to add something about working for anyone else. I once heard an interview on NPR about the bandleader Frank Zappa. A former bandmate said that Zappa wanted the best from his employees. By that I mean, that if he choose you to work for him, he saw talent that would ultimately help his band, you did not keep it to yourself or leave it on the bus to bitch about between gigs. “If he hired you and you could tap dance, you are going to tap dance.” That is he gave you the responsibility but also the freedom. Other people have told me, “if you can find a boss that can spot talent and then let you run with it — yowww!”

    If I can quote your story back to you, when you were looking for a film editor for “Searching for Angela Shelton” you found a man who eventually told you that you should learn how to edit film because it was your story and you were the best person to know what story you wanted to tell and how to tell it. You accepted the challenge of learning a new skill.

  • Pingback: Living in Costa Rica Stories: The Impossible Task of Firing a Costa Rican Employee | The Costa Rican Times

  • alleykat

    I just watched your movie, “Searching for Angela Shelton” on Netflix. While my name is not Angela I did relate to this movie. I was touched to see how all of you survived and made something of your lives. I was also abused as a child by my step-father. I was the youngest and i guess i was easy pickins. I told my mom who was and is an alcoholic and drug abuser. She called me a liar and said i was just jealous of their relationship. He just touched for the first 3 or 4 years when I turned 8, actually on my 8th birthday he raped me. I confronted my mother who has since divorced him for unrelated reasons, about 3 years ago when i was 25. I could not believe when she said he was a great father and that none of it ever happened. When i reminded her of one particular insiddent when she walked in and saw him forcing me to orally ejaculate him she simple said, “I was drunk.” I have been married to a wonderful man for 9 years and have 2 beautiful sons. I struggle with nightmares and fobias that i can't seem to shake. You're movie has given me hope that this too I shall over come. I have made it my mission to remember the things that happened to me are not who I am just a small part of why I am who I am. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get messages like this all the time. I just wanted to share a little bit of my story and say thank you so much for speaking out.

  • alleykat

    I just watched your movie, “Searching for Angela Shelton” on Netflix. While my name is not Angela I did relate to this movie. I was touched to see how all of you survived and made something of your lives. I was also abused as a child by my step-father. I was the youngest and i guess i was easy pickins. I told my mom who was and is an alcoholic and drug abuser. She called me a liar and said i was just jealous of their relationship. He just touched for the first 3 or 4 years when I turned 8, actually on my 8th birthday he raped me. I confronted my mother who has since divorced him for unrelated reasons, about 3 years ago when i was 25. I could not believe when she said he was a great father and that none of it ever happened. When i reminded her of one particular insiddent when she walked in and saw him forcing me to orally ejaculate him she simple said, “I was drunk.” I have been married to a wonderful man for 9 years and have 2 beautiful sons. I struggle with nightmares and fobias that i can't seem to shake. You're movie has given me hope that this too I shall over come. I have made it my mission to remember the things that happened to me are not who I am just a small part of why I am who I am. I could go on and on, but I'm sure you get messages like this all the time. I just wanted to share a little bit of my story and say thank you so much for speaking out.