I have been fired twice in my life. The first time, I was only 18 and in college. I was working for a security company who shall remain nameless. (If I was to install security, I would use them.) It was a very secure place, as it needed to be. The only way around this system, was to know where the employees monitoring the systems were located and break in there and take them out. Understandably, we could never have a friend visit or under any circumstances open the door to anyone.

So I was going to college full time and working full time. One day after school I went into work. The person who was to relieve me called in sick and I ended up pulling a double shift. Not expecting this, I had no food. I could not get anything delivered. But clever girl that I was I had an idea. We were located right across the street from the police station. At the time my two uncles and three next door neighbors were cops. I called the police station and asked for one of them to bring me a pizza. Security company, uniformed cop bringing me a pizza. Who could object? Unbeknownst to me, every move I made was on camera. Less than half an hour after my pizza arrived, the owner arrived and fired me and covered the rest of the shift himself. I have always felt that was a pretty unjustified firing.

And then recently at work I (and everyone else in the company) get an email from our marketing department. They were taking a survey and wanted our opinion. They are going to start selling frames – as in large gaudy picture frames – for flat screen TVs. They wanted everyone to pick their favorite frame from a group of pictures they sent. First they were pretty horrible frames that I would never put on a picture. I have rather strict personal rules about framing. The frame must never distract from the painting. These were your typical gaudy, ornate gold frames for the most part. So I sent back the following email:   “You want my HONEST opinion? You could not get me to frame a TV set if you put a gun to my head. This is just tacky.”

Hey, they asked me, I didn’t go offering my unsolicited opinion. I saw when my return email was opened. In about half an hour I was called into the conference room and fired because the company and I “don’t share the same vision”. Seriously. The woman who had to do the firing felt horrible. She kept trying to reassure me it had nothing to do with my work – I work hard, blah, blah, blah. Can you believe it? They asked me for my opinion. I should lie? Surely there are other people in the demographic they sell to who would find this tacky. One would think they would want to know that.

If I owned the company, I would have called me to the office and found out why. One would think this is why someone takes a survey in the first place. To find things out. You see, subsequent to the email, I Googled this crazy idea. And sure enough, this is a fad/trend/whatever. But some companies you get the impression tacky, tacky, tacky. But I saw one where they did matting, tasteful frames (even if for a totally tasteless idea) and it didn’t completely suck. I would have said to the owner, see if I saw site A then I would say ‘how tacky – I wonder if their merchandise is tacky and inferior in quality’, but if I saw Site B I would say, ‘yuck, I wouldn’t do it’ BUT I would not have any negative feeling, wondering if their merchandise was tacky and inferior.

On the plus side, I HATED the job. I cried every morning as I drove into work. I was not able to get the editing done on my book. It was not a ‘career’ type of job, it was the type of job you take when you are out of work and your benefits have run out – you know, when you say, “I would do anything. I would clean toilets.” Ironically, the only person in the company that was always smiling was the cleaning woman. Plus, I applied for benefits (even though, being fired, I figured I wouldn’t get them) and after interviewing me and interviewing the company, I got awarded benefits. Guess the people at unemployment figure when asked your opinion, you shouldn’t be fired for giving it.


Published by Kate Eileen Shannon

Artist, Crafter, Writer, purveyor of ephemera and bagatelle

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