Sunday, May 1, 2011

Firing Employee's & Praying for Alice Cooper

There's nothing more that Klecko likes than when L.A.B. becomes participatory.

Remember,any blog is only as good as its viewership.I hope it goes w/o saying that Klecko values his local, national and international veins of Klecko Nation.

P.S. Kitty recently shouted the following question, all the way from Malaysia.

"Hey Klecko, have you ever had the chance to fire any employees, and if much does that suck?"

Well P.S. Kitty, yes I have.

To be honest, parts of it suck, and parts of it are a relief. Think about it. why do people usually get terminated?

From my experience it usually happens because they are counter productive.

Over the years, I have fired probably between 50-80 people.

My Bread Master Mr. Kiwis used to say that if a person enjoyed canning other folks, they were an A-Hole, but valuble to a bakery.

In the Food Show, firing somebody can be different than a termination in a "business professional" setting.

In a bakery, or a restaurant, you never know how a food service worker is going to take the bad news.

Some will just flip you off and smile. They don't care. There skill set has enough depth to get them a simular position in one of a billion concepts anywhere on the planet.

Other people simply get pissed over the principal, and because of that they will either threaten you by dangling the possibility of a law suit.

While yet others will just jump the desk and want to throw down.

Over the years I have canned my relatives,the relatives of other employees in the shop.Guys 300#'s and woman who no bigger than a Terrier.

There was a period where I worked with convicts that would get to have their freedom as long as they met the minmum requirments of paroll.One of the biggest requirements was that they didn't have unexcused absences.

With that said, you'd be amazed at how many of these guys would just sabotage any possibility of success by not showing up on payday.

Well... they would show up on Friday and get their check, but then they wouldn't come back. On Sunday mornings, maybe an hour before the crew starts, one of the few moments Klecko gets a moment of quiet time......

You could bet your bottom dollar......

A"BUZZ - Buzz - Buzzzzzzzzz" sound would be sent across the shop by somebody outside, pressing our security buzzer with a heavy finger.

Dude, if I just messed up, I think I'd buzz a little softer, but anyway, the guy who didn't call, didnt leave a voicemail on Saturday, would ask for a moment where they could plead for sympathy.

The rule structure of these programs are very-very strict. Most of the guys who got tossed into the clink, got into their run ins with the law because they had no disipline.

Some of the guys would bring girl friends / wives and even kids to try to get me to cave in to giving them another chance.

The problem with that though is they broke a contract, not only with the goverment program, but more importantly...they broke a contract with their crew.

In 30 some years, I have yet to see somebody who "No Called - No Showed" b turn around to become a team player.It is a charactor flaw that is not only obvious, but it opens a portal to numorous other short comings as well.

So yeah.....back to jail Bub.

Eventually I pulled out of the program. It was set up to help men move forward with their life, but to be honest, it seldom happened, and nothing ruins a guys afternoon like sending another guy off to the hoosegow.

When you end the employment of a co worker, I have found that some of the following things must take place.

#1 - Bring them out of the production space, and take them into a room with another employee. Most bakerys don't have a Human Resources rep, so basically you just need a witness that can verify that you didn't hit or make sexual advances.

#2 - Never start by being friendly. I know that sounds horrible, but if one second you are complimenting, or smiling, and the next second you are telling them they are terminated, this can confuse a baker.

#3 - You would be amazed at how many people are unable or unqualified to fire somebody. This sucks for everybody. I've seen people inform others through a letter that they were fired. I also have seen managers hand the dirty deed off to a junior manager....lame. There are a few instances to break from this protocol, but in most instances it simply best to look them in the eye, hand them their last check and say.

"You are fired."

Thats it the deed is done, and you move them out of the office immedietly.

You don't want to offer up a platform for drama, typically that card has been played out several times by the point of termination.

Not too long ago I was reading an artical in a business publication where they were interviewing some cat who has done studies on people who have fired more than 25 people in the business career.

The guy being interviewed (the specialist) said that people who have the ability to terminate, don't necessarily have a different genetic dispotsition, but most of the people who can do this have had incidents early in life where they have attacked a conflict even though they were filled with fear.

The dude made mentions, or references to "The Red Badge of Courage",and said most humans were like the books protaginist Henry Fleming.

When conflict jumps out at us quickly, and uninvited...typically we will make up our mind on how we are going to react, and this thought occurs much quicker than the actions we will eventually become displayed.

In essence, your ability to overcome your natural reaction to fear must take place pronto, if you think about it, it's to late...the average person will retreat and then use one of many methods to mentally lick their wounds.

The artical also suggested that the quicker in life that you defeat your fears (and this can be accomplished even if you totally get your a** kicked), the more likely you are to not fear confrontation.

I closed the magizine, sat back and started brushing the cob webs out of Klecko's Mental Warehouse.

Was there a quintessential moment when I overcame abject fear and moved forward?

a couple minutes passed by, and I started to wonder if maybe I was an exception to this rule...but then like an avalanche "That Moment" came crashing down on me.

Let me tell you how it happened and then I'll let you go, but when I was in 6th grade, my mom started bringing this Harley guy home and his friends called him Whiskey Willie.

I'm guessing you can figure out how he got his nickname, but none the less, I can't complain. He was a stand up guy with me, and included me into his life.

Eventually Whiskey Willie married my mother, and thats when things got interesting. Most houses were plantinging Peonis and Lupines in their gardens. My new Father planted Marijuana at our homestead.

I remember coming come from school and finding the Crystal police uprooting the cannabis from our soil.

In addition to being a low end rebel, Whiskey Willie was a bar fighter. He had a reputation in South Mpls and I can't tell you how many stories other people told me about beat downs he administered on other like minded thugs.

Over the next five years I took up all these interests as well. I fought, drank and was expelled from every high school in district 281,

The summer before I went off to baking school, love hit the rocks and my mother and Whisky Willie called it quits. If you've ever grown up with,or around an alchoholic, I won't need to give of a list of reasons why.

But it was mid summer,and really hot and sticky outside. My mother was bummed out so I invited her into my room and where I was watching an Alice Cooper concert on TV.

Alice was up to his usual stunts...heads were getting chopped off,12 foot cyclops were walking across his stage, and at the climax of his set (I think he was singing "Schools Out for Summer") blood started squirting out of his ear LOL.

Dude laid there on the ground flopping like a fish out of water and this fake blood just kept spraying and smearing the stage and its props.

I'll never forget the look on my moms face. that was back when she smoked. She had a Merit hanging from between her lips. Her hands didn't support the cig, it just bobbed up and down as she exclaimed.

"Oh my God....I'm going to pray for this man."

I began to laugh really hard, and that felt good because nobody had laughed at our house for a long while, but before my happiness had a chance to set in, my mother heard the phone and went to answer it.

Have you ever heard somebody get a call with level 10 bad news? You can hear it in their voice before you even have a clue as to what has transpired.

It turns out Whiskey Willie was in Minnetonka with some chick on the back of his Harley and they hit a pot hole at what the cops estimated was 80 MPH's.

Whiskey Willie was messed up. He had to wear one of the metal Frankenstein Halo's. It was screwed into his temples.

Although my mother had written him off, she let him come home to recover.

When you are young, often times you flee things that are uncomfortable. Whiskey Willie suffered severe closed head injurys.

I didn't like being around him, or watching what he had been reduced to.

After a month or so they took the halo off and often times he'd just stand up and walk in place while eating fudgesicles,other times he'd sit at the end of his bed punching his fist into an open hand.

There was always violent concepts projected while he did this, and often times he made racial slurs that we had never heard before.

If you took him to Dairy Queen, you didn't know if he was going to drop the "N" word. The ordeal became ecspecially difficult for my mother.

When it got to the point when I was getting ready to move out, I knew something had to be done. If I left him alone with my mother, I just didn't know what would happen.

I was only 17 at the time, but I called my mother and sister together and told them that I was going to inform Whiskey Willie that he had to leave.

I could see the relief in my mothers eyes. She said she wanted him gone, but he was so crazy and so violent, she just didn't know how to broach the topic.

But then it occured to her that her little sonny boy was going to have to race towards the roar and walk straight into the lions den.She felt guilty.

I won't lie. I was scared, in fact I was petrified.

I had been in many fights by this time in my life, but I was smart enough to know that very few 17 years olds can go toe to toe with a 40 something street fighter.

If that wasn't enough, there was also the componant that I loved this guy, and I was going to be throwing him out to the wolves. He didn't have a lot of family, and his mind didn't function to where he could get along.

So I figured it was best to get it over with. I marched into his room and he was sitting at the end of his bed.

Man, my heartbeat was racing, but I just welded eye contact and said.

"Whiskey Willie, you are not going to live here with my mother any longer. You had your chance and blew. I'm going to make sure that you are gone within a week"

He sat in silence so I asked.....

"Did you hear what I said?"

He confirmed that he did, but then he asked what would happen if he didn't feel like moving, and that's when I told him that I would kick his a**, or use any meassure to remove him from my mothers life.

Now he just stared at me...

I left, I didn't want to give an oppurtunity for negotiation, but 4 or 5 days later he did move out with his brother. I remember I made my mom leave the house for this.

I carried his dressers and big items and packed them into a van and they drove away.

Its funny how 17 years old process things. I remember as they pulled down the driveway, I felt like I might cry. I hadn't done this since I broke my wrist in 5th grade playing football, and now the possibility of crying in a home where nobody was present, well it almost scared me more than getting my a** kicked....almost.


  1. I don't think I could fire anyone. Having been laid off myself, I know that the chances are good you're sending that person to hell. Having had a daughter who took her life the day she lost her job, I just think of all the mental problems people track into the workplace. A lot of people are just broken, and what do you do with them? I don't have a good answer, I just know I can't add more pain to people who are already dying.

    I have written books about how to do it, ("You're really doing them a big favor," I remember saying once) but I'm full of it. I have no idea how you look into someone's eyes and send them to hell.

  2. I hear you Mike, you have obviously seen some of the worst effects that can take place from a firing, but I feel strongly that the majority of the time, most firings (not lay offs) are long over due.
    I have always worked within a team, and most people that I have worked with are glad that there are rules.
    Most people prefer to chop off the foot to save the body, but yeah....anybody who enjoys (or is not affected) by terminating somebody doesn't have a soul.

  3. I remember Norm on 'Cheers' was good at it