Friday, August 25, 2006

The Oosh

Remember Mr. What Stays in Boston?

He was fired a few weeks ago.

We all kinda thought it would happen eventually, even before the trip. Just like you know when two people shouldn’t get married, everyone knew this guy was on the bubble.
He was confrontational, incompetent, territorial and insecure. Plus, he had serious anger management issues. Not a great combination in anyone, but especially not in a mid-level manager who works with clients on a regular basis.

He was toxic. To his team, his co-workers, our clients, and our business partners.

Or as I like to say, he put the ‘oosh’ in douchebag.
There’s probably an Oosh at your company. No one knows why he’s allowed to stay. No one likes him. And no one knows exactly what he does besides blame others for his lack of progress.

This invariably results in a wild-ass theory involving the Oosh having naked/incriminating photos of key owners/management.
Here’s my theory – and I’ve never had an organizational psych class, so these are just out-of-my-ass observations from 16+ years of working in an office.

Now that the current Oosh is finally gone, the company will choose a new one.

In fact, within 24 hours of losing our current Oosh, people were already saying, “Now, if we could just get rid of so and so, everything would be great.”
It’s three weeks later and we’re still in that stage where our Oosh-elect has yet to be selected.

Three of us actually floated a shortlist over dinner in Des Moines Monday night.

The merits/faults of about four prospects were debated from salad all the way through to dessert.

One thing is certain: The new Oosh will not be chosen by a small group of people.

He or she will emerge from a magical and collective decision-making process that goes mostly unnoticed by anyone.
I don’t understand why managers and owners are so reluctant to fire people.

Sure it isn’t easy. It takes courage.

Someone is going to have a Very Bad Day – a day they’ll never forget – and you’re the person who has to deliver the news.

I’ll never forget the first person I fired.

I’d been managing a marketing team of four for less than three months when I decided my events person had to go. She wasn’t particularly hard working and certainly not trustworthy. When she falsified an expense report and expected me to approve it, I’d had just about enough of her “testing my new manager” bullshit.

I had no guidance. The HR manager (she of the infamous “Jew ‘em down” incident) was not helpful as expected. And my boss, who probably should’ve done it given my lack of tenure as a manager, was MIA for the whole week leading up to it.

Later, he said “Guess I shoulda been in there with you, huh?”

Ya think?

But I did okay. I followed a script I’d written. I was professional and courteous.

And so fucking relieved when it was over and she was finally gone.
The day after he was finally let go, me and the VP of sales took an informal post-Oosh tally of the damage he’d done leading up to his dismissal. Projects lost, business lost, poorly supported marketing programs, negative client perception, employee morale.

It was millions of dollars.

How much is it costing your company?

If you’ve got Oosh that needs ousting, do it. Now.
I am listening to: The Starting Line – Best of Me
I am reading: New York Times article re: grants for evolutionary biology
And I am: Not a cyborg after all