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J: What am I gonna tell my wife? Now for sure our marriage is over.
Can I empty my desk?
S: Of course you can and, as you will see after reading the termination
letter, you can come by and talk to me, but only if you've read the let-
ter and all the material we've noted in the letter that determined your
status with the agency.
J: Will you at least write me a reference, Sam? How am I going to get
a job without a decent reference?
S: I'm afraid I just couldn't do that. It wouldn't be right for me to ter-
minate you and then recommend you to another agency.
J: I'm really upset, Sam. You know I'd never hurt anyone. I didn't
mean it when I told the secretary to watch her backside.
S: It's just one of many things we spell out in your evaluations and ter-
mination letter. Please take the time to read everything and do come
by and chat if you'd like. Good luck, Jason.
There is no easy way to break the news of termination, particularly when
a worker is in complete denial, but the supervisor stuck to the task. He
didn't get into an argument but correctly kept referring Jason back to his
many poor evaluations. You can tell that part of the reason for the termi-
nation had to do with anger and potential workplace violence, so this is
not an easy task for the supervisor. One would assume that Jason will get
up a full head of steam when it all sinks in and consider some retaliatory
measure. We hope it's not violence, but it happens, even among human
service professionals. You need to forewarn security when you fire some-
one and unless they have an appointment to see someone in the agency,
they should not be allowed back. You should give them enough time to
pack their desk and belongings and leave the building, but someone
should supervise what is taken. You certainly don't want a terminated
employee to take confidential client files. If a worker refuses to leave or
causes a commotion that's upsetting to others, unfortunately, they'll have
to be escorted out of the building. One never wants that to happen but it
does happen and it may increase the potential for workplace violence.
For Therapists Working with Clients Facing Possible
Anyone reading the financial news understands the precarious economic
position the country is in and will likely be in for a long time to come.
Encourage your clients not to wait passively for termination to take place
but to be aware of the often subtle signs that an organization is in trouble
and begin looking for other jobs while they're still employed. Those signs
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