Last month, a very close friend of mine lost their job. I had been instrumental in getting this person the job, so I was the first to be notified. While it was disappointing that the person lost the position, it was even more disappointing that they were not told why they were being dismissed. When I learned this part of the story, my sense of duty when into high gear. I needed to fight for what I believed was right. If we don’t know what we did wrong, we can’t address it or correct it, and it’s bound to happen again.
Confrontation is Difficult
I called and asked the decision-maker for a little more information. Unfortunately the decision-maker was not very forthcoming with any details. Part of this ambiguity I understand. This decision maker had to be discreet and maintain confidences of others who were involved in the decision. However this person knew that I was very instrumental in getting my friend their job, so I was comfortable pushing a little harder to get the answers that would help my friend understand what they had done to lose the position.
So I pushed. I pushed really hard. Still, I got no answers. So, understanding the chain of command through my experience with the Georgia State Defense Force, I went up the chain of command. I respectfully requested a meeting with this person’s supervisor. The decision maker respectfully agreed and we arranged the meeting.
Face to Face
In that meeting, we rehashed everything that occurred. Once again I stated my desire to understand the details behind the decision to let my friend go. We were face-to-face rather than email, so communication was much more clear. I still have to be reminded almost daily that face to face communication is so much better than email or text. As an introvert, I will always choose the written word over face to face, but we must all exit our comfort zone if we want to get the results we desire.
What I Learned
Several lessons of come out of this situation. First, when dealing with sensitive topics, go face-to-face immediately, rather than letting things fester and grow via email or text. Second, it’s OK to fight for what you believe is right. After everything had been said and done and we understood the details, the decision maker very respectfully told me that they appreciated my passion for my friend: “Never apologize for being a friend.” Third, while you should absolutely fight for what you believe is right, we must also be humble enough to except answers we don’t like.
I did not like it that my friend had lost their position. I also did not like the fact that my friend was not told why they lost their position. Furthermore, I did not like the answer that I got as to why my friend lost their position. But it was a real answer, and I have to respect it, accept it, and help my friend deal with it.
Fight for what you believe is right. Be man enough to do it face-to-face. But be humble enough to except the truth when you finally get it.