I had to fire someone, a fellow writer, about a year ago, and it was a moment that defined me as a man and changed the course of my life.
“He must be exaggerating.” No, he is not. This was indeed such an experience. Okay, the defining me part may be pushing it, but the moments leading up to having to sit this person down and let him go were so intense I barely remember them. I was a puppet to the script I prepared (I’m very thankful I prepared one). From that moment on, knowing now what such situations feel like, I have been able to summon the courage needed to be honest with people who need a dose of it and face challenges that would have sent pre-firing me running for the hills. (Prairie joke: What hills?)
I was his boss. I sat across from him for about eight hours a day. I knew I would have to fire him a week after I hired him. My wife knew it, too, and she didn’t even work with me. I let the situation fester for quite some time, way too long. My then-sheepish self desperately wanted him to leave on his own volition, perhaps after he read my mind and knew my torment. No. He could not read my mind. He would have to be told.
When he arrived for work the next morning, I let him go. That one-minute dialogue used up every molecule of my confidence. I was so scared I nearly blacked out. And, in the end, I think he was grateful. And I think most are when they are confronted with sincerity and honestly.
Do what needs to be done
I don’t enjoy being viewed a terrible person, and I don’t enjoy delivering news that makes a person feel like their life has been temporarily destroyed. I am proud of myself, though, in this case, for pushing through the near-paralyses and doing what needed to be done.
Trust your gut and never let things fester — sage advice endorsed by me but not credited to me. Every day has its challenge. You can always do more market research. There is always a list of odd jobs too small to designate time for and, all together, too large to start. There is always that one phone call you don’t want to make, or a hired hand who needs a performance evaluation.
“Git ’er done” is hard to hear, especially as someone who just wants all those proud, self-proclaimed rednecks to realize and be comfortable with the fact that they are not so different than the rest of humanity. Nike’s “just do it” is really no better. The city version of the same, I guess.
But, what this perversion of a phrase does have going for it, is its ability to sum up, in fewer words, my main point: Know your challenge, face it, and git ’er done.
For the record, I’ve mastered none of this. But I am less likely to run or procrastinate than I was, say, two years ago. One foot in front of the other is how I plan to tackle this whole farming thing. I’ll face the challenge, whatever the outcome. †