You’re Fired! (And That’s OK) | Performance Racing Industry
You’re Fired! (And That’s OK)
By Missy Sandal on July 22, 2015

I think it’s safe to say we’ve all worked somewhere at some point where there was one employee that made everyone ask, “How does so-and-so still have a job here?” Maybe they were really slow at accomplishing anything, or made a lot of mistakes; maybe they were chronically late or absent; maybe they had a really bad attitude.
Whatever the case, their continued employment conveyed a negative vibe to everyone in the workplace and brought down the morale of everyone who had to pick up their slack, or fix their mistakes, or listen to them gripe about every little thing.
From the employer’s perspective, I can tell you it’s not easy to fire someone. When you provide the means for someone to make a living, it doesn’t feel good to take that away. Not only that, but you have fears, too: What will I do to fill that position? What if I can’t find someone quickly? What if they draw unemployment against my company? What if, what if, what if…
But what if we didn’t look at firing someone as such a negative thing? Sometimes you have to see the positive in making a change for the benefit of your company and its employees—and sometimes it even helps the person you’re firing.
Someone who comes to work and does a bad job, or is always late or complaining, infects the employees around them; they bring everyone down. Your good employees question why, when they work so hard and are on time and try to do the best job they can, you insist on keeping around someone who doesn’t. It makes those good people feel bad, and they may very well start to question you, and your outlook and leadership.
But, if you could cut out one bad apple and *poof* everyone else is relieved, and you can fill that position with another good employee, that is a good thing! Firing a bad employee is an opportunity to do something positive.
Consider this: Your bad employee may hate his job for whatever reason. He hates coming to work, and that’s why he’s chronically late, or always finding something to complain about. Maybe he’s doing a job he’s not really suited for—but he needs a job, right? So he does it, but he’s not good at it and doesn’t enjoy it. He wants to quit, but he has fears, too. What if he can’t find another job right away? What if he has to live on unemployment? What if, what if? See, his continued employment is motivated by fear as well.
Some time ago we had an employee who really wasn’t suited for warehouse work (we didn’t know that at the time). But he needed a job and we needed someone in the warehouse, so we offered the position and he took it. As you can imagine, it didn’t go well.
We provided some feedback on areas where we’d like to see him do better, and he said he would work on it. Unfortunately, the improvement didn’t come. Tom (my partner and company president) really hates to fire people—it truly bothers him. Which means it took some long discussion…but ultimately we agreed this was the right course of action. We called this guy in and told him it just wasn’t working out. Not everyone is cut out for warehouse work, we explained. In this case, he wasn’t a bad employee, he just wasn’t suited for the work we needed him to do. We told him we’d be happy to recommend him for something else, but he couldn’t continue here.
Much to our surprise, he seemed relieved. Obviously he knew this job wasn’t for him, but he didn’t feel like he could quit. Once we made that decision for him, it enabled him to find a job that was better suited to his strengths, and it enabled us to find another worker that was better suited to the position.
In so doing, it made everyone else in the warehouse happier, even if they had to cover that job for a while. There’s a difference between temporarily covering a position and picking up someone else’s slack, and they were happy to cover the position while we interviewed new candidates for the job.
Sometimes you truly end up with a bad employee who just needs to go, and that decision is easy to make. But sometimes you end up with someone who just isn’t right for the job, and in those cases I think it’s OK to say, “You’re fired.” Rather than seeing this as something negative that must be avoided at all costs, you can see it as an opportunity to find a better fit for both employer and employee, and at the same time energize your remaining team members.
Missy Sandal has been involved in the racing industry since 1990, getting her start at Port City Racing, moving on to Speedway Motors, and then opening Carolina Racing Supply with Tom Sandal in 1999. Carolina Racing Supply, located in Mooresville, North Carolina, began as a retailer of circle track racing parts but has transitioned over the years to become primarily a wholesaler. TomCat Performance is its line of private-label products.

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Missy Sandal is the co-owner of Carolina Racing Supply in Mooresville, North Carolina. She has been involved in the racing industry since 1990.
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