Good News: It's Hard to Get Fired


It’s tough to get fired in America. That’s a #fact. It’s good news for many of you who are tired, disengaged, and totally over the concept of a work ethic.

Most of my Human Resources colleagues will tell you that they are efficient and heartless. I just heard a friend say, “Violate a policy or do something offensive on my watch? You’re gone. I will personally see you suffer.”

Whatever. This is rubbish.

Here are some common scenarios where you probably won’t get fired.

  • Excessively long lunches. Go ahead and take them, especially if you are salaried. Although your colleagues are watching, you are paid based on your outcomes & deliverables. If you are warned to shorten your lunches, know that you will be watched for thirty days. Keep your schedule in line for a month. Add extra breaks during the day. After a few weeks, you can go back to your normal routine. Human Resources has moved on to bigger and meatier issues.
  • Repeatedly missing deadlines. It’s rude to miss a deadline but you won’t be fired for it. Communicate strategically for the two weeks leading up to the project deadline. Set the expectations for your failure. This will cover up your laziness. Send emails that document your impending failure. “I want to express my concern. These project deadlines are based on timelines that were inaccurately calculated.” When the project deadline is missed, you covered your ass. Take your long lunches. You deserve it. That project was hard and those deadlines were unreasonable, anyway. No Human Resources professional will fire you. Instead, we’ll talk to your manager about time management and his responsibility to effectively communicate project timelines to his team.
  • Snarky attitude to colleagues & peers. I’ve seen an uptick in passive-aggressive behavior in the workforce. This is acceptable if you cover your bad attitude under the guise of feedback. You can say things like, “As demonstrated in the past, I’ve been totally open to feedback. That being said, I have no idea why Sally in accounting is being so defensive. It’s adding a few years to her face. She should just chill out and assume good intent.” I also recommend insulting someone and adding, “Just sayin’.”
  • Sexual harassment. Human Resources pros love these investigations because it feels like we’re participating in an act of feminist, social justice. Many of my colleagues attempt to resolve these situations quickly and humanely, but there are sexual harassment investigations that last longer than the incident itself. If you are a pervert or badgering one of your coworkers to date you, there is a 62% chance that you will get away with it. I am not encouraging you to sexually harass someone, though. I am encouraging victims to quit, slash your tires, or google your mother and steal her online identity. So you’re on notice. I have all kinds of ideas for remedying sexual harassment situations that have nothing to do with Human Resources. If you are a victim, please feel free to talk to me offline.

The truth is that most companies and HR departments will accept childish & lazy behavior because it’s cheaper to tolerate shenanigans than to hire and train a replacement. I am not a Human Capital genius, but when I’ve fired employees in the past, I’ve also asked some tough questions that managers & VPs don’t like.

Who hired the idiot in the first place? Who allowed this to go on for so long? Why wasn’t action taken sooner? Can someone get me a bukkit? I’m about to puke from the lack of leadership skills around here.


So here’s my message to the disenchanted and lazy employee: it’s easier for your company to ignore your long lunches than to fix organizational, cultural, and institutional problems.

Bon appétit!

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