Have You Ever Been Sacked???

Posted on November 12, 2010

Poor old Ray Wilkins (Chelsea assistant coach) faced the humiliation of being sacked at half time of a reserve match yesterday in a ruthless demonstration of how the regime at Stamford Bridge works. I suppose that’s what you should expect working for a Russian Oil Baron. This got me thinking about my working life, and whether I had ever been treated so badly, but remarkably, I have never had the humiliation of the sack, though I have been close to it.

In the early nineties I got a job as a Sales Rep with Wolverhampton based industrial and commercial paint manufacturer Manders. Manders were going through a huge transition and the old stagers of the company were slowly but ruthlessly getting removed from the company by shareholders looking for a fast buck regardless of human cost. I guess as a 22 year old they saw me as a young high flier to take their business in to a more dynamic era, though the problem was, that even then, my left of centre roots swung my loyalty to the old guard rather than the flash chancers swarming around the company. As management changed I could see that I was going one way, especially when a mouthy bully from Portsmouth became my boss and took an instant disliking to me, though the feeling was pretty much mutual.

The problem he had, was that old fashioned sales tactics of buying customers a bit of lunch and getting to know them slowly was working well for me, as opposed to the hard and pushy selling that the new regime were trying to impose. I couldn’t and wouldn’t take hard selling on board, and I was torn between a client base who I liked and served well, and a company who were attempting to install a slicker sales force and wanted me out. My boss knew that because of my nature, all he had to do is lie in wait for his opportunity, and I handed it to him on a plate on a fateful January Saturday.

Manders, who were the sponsors of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC had arranged for a coach to take our clients to a game versus Portsmouth at Molineux (Wolves Ground). The coach was due to leave from Reading at 9.00am on the Saturday morning. On the Friday night I went out with my elder brother and ended up getting drunk and stayed at his house. However I was coherent enough to get him to set an alarm for 6.30 to give me enough time to get up walk home, get showered, dressed and get my car.

He set it for 6.30pm

I woke up rather ironically, at 9.00am the time the coach was due to leave, I was already late and I hadn’t even got home. Frantically I jumped in my Brothers shower, I already had trousers and shoes, I just needed a shirt and tie. Again I borrowed a shirt and tie, however Bruce is 6′ 2″ and I am 5′ 8″ so I looked like I was terminally ill, especially with a hangover, but that was the least of my problems. There was no mobiles then so no doubt everyone was just sat on the Coach whispering and tapping their watches. We jumped in Bruce’s car………..Yin Yin Yin Yin…………………start you Bastard………………come on fucking start………..Yin, Yin, Yin……………….Oh fuck off then!!

I ran home (about a mile) and got to my car at 9.45 and finally arrived at break neck speed at 10.15am to find a coach load of disgruntled customers and a boss with a glint in his eye, his day of destiny had arrived. As I walked past he said: “My office Monday morning”. The day got worse, we got dropped off at a pub in the outskirts, and as luck would have it, I, or none of my three customers had heard the instruction that we would get picked up outside the ground after the game, not at the pub. We went to the pub. After it dawned on us that we had gone to the wrong place it was too late, they had gone home without us. We had no choice but to walk to the train station, and in a classic Laurel & Hardy moment my customer (Hugh) sublimely summed the day up. As a decorator he didn’t really wear smart clothes often so he had bought new shoes for the occasion. They were rubbing so badly he decided to walk to the station in his socks………………..and promptly trod in dog shit. This resulted in having to put the shoe on sockless resulting in his red raw heel resembling a Baboons arse after a Vindaloo.

We eventually got back to Reading by train via Coventry and on the Monday morning my boss went about the business of firing me. However, I hated him as much as he hated me and I wasn’t going easily. I knew I had been at the company three years and I had had no verbal or written warnings. I challenged him on this and he instantly knew he was stuffed, as he had banked on me walking out. I wouldn’t give him the pleasure but I was perfectly aware I was a hunted man. In a warm hearted gesture my three customers sent a letter backing me by saying that they would no longer support the company if I was fired, and I held on as a dead man walking until the company was sold to a rival, and I was number one on the hit list. I was gone, but with a good redundancy package so I felt a sense of moral victory, especially as the news was given to me by someone else, depriving him of his perverse sense of glory.

Many people better than me went in the following weeks, good loyal blokes in their fifties tossed aside after years of service, yet the mouthy git from Portsmouth and his snake of a side kick survived as they stitched everyone else up to save their own bacon. My first boss Paul had moved around the country to serve Manders, I have never known since a man so loyal to a company, yet he went too, and what made it worse was he was too naive to see it coming. I lost touch with him apart from a reference I got from him that all but secured my next job, but I know it affected him very badly.

I suppose that’s what drove me to work for myself in the end.

No Replies to "Have You Ever Been Sacked???"

    Got something to say?

    Some html is OK

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.