Fired

Depending on who you are and what the internet algorithms are allowing you to see, you have probably heard about the shooting in the Ford Dealership on June 25th. 

There’s nothing “extraordinary” about this situation – which is sad to say, but very true. An employee was fired. He went to his car, retrieved a gun and killed the two men he felt was responsible, then killed himself. 

It’s relatively cut and dry from the outside and unfortunately not a new thing. There are however two things to take into account. 

First, I think it highlights the importance of having specific systems in place for laying off or firing employees. 

When to do it. How to do it. What security ideas you have in place.

There’s a reason so many places have policies like doing all lay-offs and firings at the end of the workday Friday that way when they leave the building is shut down and there’s two whole days for them to possibly calm down before they have another immediate opportunity to take action.

There’s a reason many companies have employees escorted out by security after a layoff or firing, it’s because they are aware it is possible the person will try to get a weapon or take action to harm someone they deem responsible. 

Now there’s no perfect rulebook and every situation is different but I think it warrants taking time to look at putting systems in place if you are in charge of doing that task. Or paying attention to how you deliver the news. 

It’s also important if you get fired and are escorted out to understand why that is happening even if you have zero intention of doing anything dangerous. These things have happened so we have to respect that. 

The second thing that sticks out to me is the circumstances around the shooting. Variables we’ll likely never find out about (or gain honest insight about) but that would pull back a few layers on the why.

I have been spending a lot of time lately discussing and understanding how everyone’s circumstances are different, how we communicate, how we tend to shape our own reality. 

Events like this make me ask several questions:

What were the circumstances of the firing?

How did the person in charge carry out the firing?

What was the relationship between the two leading up to this?

What circumstances in life was the assailant going through that this course of action would make sense? Intense financial strain? Psychological issues? 

What was their upbringing like? 

How was their childhood?

What were their daily thoughts? Principles?

I don’t think that any of the answers to this question can justify killing someone, for legal or moral reason, or even self interest… however, I think it’s interesting to attempt to gain insight into the complex web of circumstances and variables that take the loss of a job and turn it into murder-suicide. 

Had the manager known more of these things, might he have handled the situation differently? 

It brings up an interesting thought. In a world where we have access to everyone and everything, we tend to actually not know much about anyone. 

If the assailant was in fact having intense financial strain or other personal issues, can the firing be avoided by mentorship and leadership? If not, and it’s inevitable, this knowledge would still play into the idea that the firing process should be done cautiously and systems should be put in place before executing on it. 

Either way, taking time to get to know the people you surround yourself with, whether they are good, bad, or any variable in between, can be an important piece of life that you’re missing. 

Be good, train hard, stay safe

-aaron

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