Habush Habush and Rottier

Monday, January 31, 2011

You're Fired (From Epic)!

When you lose a job, you go through the same grieving process that you go through when you lose a loved one. You're probably familiar with the five stages of grief, or the Kubler-Ross Model: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

Right after Epic fires you (probably at the beginning of the month, at your workplan meeting in the afternoon--you can leave early with no regrets and the end of your 6 week period will coincide with the end of the cafeteria accounting period), you'll start the denial phase. "But...at my last performance review, you gave me great reviews..." "But...you gave me a huge raise this year, and the year before that..." These are common. You're not the only one--it's just how things are done at Epic. Read the reviews at Glassdoor, and read this blog from fellow anonymous blogger (not me; I wasn't an implementer). Pick up the pieces, know that accountability is not part of the limited management training, and start looking for your next job. Yes, you're really fired; no, there's nothing you can do about it. But you do have time to prepare.

Anger: you'll start reading online about how Epic gives people the shaft ("We're not in the business of growing our employees."--various TLs, possibly even Judy Faulkner herself), and you'll start wondering "How can they keep doing this to people?!" Resist the temptation to turn off journaling in all environments and wipe the cache database. It'd just be recovered, and you'd get in big trouble. Channel your anger into something productive, like pottery or reading the HR manual (aka the red book) cover to cover. You'll come to your senses once you realize that while Epic isn't in the business of giving references or helping you find a new job, they can definitely make it a lot harder.

Bargaining: There are passages dealing with disciplinary actions at Epic that may interest you. They mention a probationary period, after which there's an evaluation and they'll see if you're improving or not. It's worth a shot bringing this up with your TL, but in all likelihood it will be a futile pursuit. Try it anyway, and make sure you get everything in writing. Paper trails are your friend. Pull out all the stops. If you have lawyer friends, get them on the case--Wisconsin is an at-will employment state, but there is still such a thing as wrongful termination. Age discrimination (or experience discrimination) are the elephants in the room that no one talks about. Epic doesn't like publicity, especially bad publicity. Lawsuits grab all kinds of negative attention. Give it a shot, and see what happens. At the very least, try and get out of the non-compete. The red book mentions the process (submit a written request to the HR manager, who then forwards it to Judy), but in practice the HR manager will just say that Judy refuses them all and you'll be SOL. Try it anyway. Threaten lawsuits. Bring lawsuits to bear if you can. Hopefully, you'll get something out of it. If not...

Depression: Get over it. No one is going to hire you with that attitude and your roommates/family can't stand to live with you right now. Put your rocket-ship underpants on and look for something to do while Epic's non-compete is in effect.

Acceptance: Congratulations, you're ready to begin your job search.

Hopefully this process goes by pretty quickly for you, and you only lose a week or so of your still employed but definitely fired time. Later posts will deal with networking, resources to exploit, and all the other stuff you may want to know after your limbo time runs out.


  1. You mentioned a "six-week period" -- what's this? Do you get six weeks' pay as severance or something?

    1. It's not severance pay. I can speak only to my own experience, which I assumed at the time I originally wrote this post (almost two years ago) to be standard operating procedure.

      My TL fired me, but gave me six weeks to turn over my current projects to my replacements. I'm given to understand that at most other companies when you're fired, immediately after they tell you the news, you get escorted from your supervisor's office to your desk, supervised as you clean it out, and then you get escorted out the door.

      With six weeks, if that's the standard, any one who isn't honest and/or scared of possible repercussions could wreak absolute havoc on Epic's stuff. It just doesn't make sense to me.

      I've actually been thinking about it recently--for the six weeks I had, I could have just come to the office (or not) and watched netflix all day. What would they do, fire me?

  2. Just thought I'd leave a note on here about the "6 weeks" thing, even though this is an old post. I was in IS and given 4-6 weeks to transition, up to the discretion of my TL. And they can "re-fire" you by asking you to leave before your set "end date." It was kind of nice to transition and keep getting paid full salary for a while. Honestly though, I never knew how depressing getting up day after day to go to a job that I no longer had could be until I had to do it.

    As to havoc/harm caused by fired people: most people at Epic are pretty young and are also generally intelligent. Everyone I knew there who was at all rocky performance-wise was afraid of being fired - for many people this is their first job and to them, losing it seems like the end of the world. Once people there are fired, they're even more afraid of getting a bad reputation or ruining references. Therefore, the risk of malicious actions by those transitioning out seems a lot lower than at some other workplaces were the workers just don't care about their jobs or don't have the intelligence to think through the consequences of their actions on future employment opportunities (especially since it could really matter if you want to be an Epic consultant after the non-compete).

    A final note about the termination process - to quit or to be fired?: if you go through a probationary period, etc., you may be asked to quit before being fired. As per above, a lot of people are scared of the workplace "f-word" so they quit...and then have to get a new job immediately or spend all their savings because they don't qualify for unemployment. Be smart instead of scared - stick it out and force them to fire you (so you get unemployment), unless you've got something else lined up first.