Getting Fired

I have never been laid off (yet – tomorrow is a new day). But this one time, at a crappy job, I did get fired.

I was working for a start-up in Silicon Valley in the late 90s that had just gone public. We made color fax software. So I’m working in marketing at this color fax software company that had just gone public and one day this guy walks in.

He’s wearing white leather shoes. Turns out, he’s from Florida. Following him in the door is a very large man with an obvious gun in his belt. So we’ve got Miami mafia and his gun-touting bodyguard in our little color fax software office in Silicon Valley. He starts telling people randomly that they are fired (Time lines are compressed for dramatic effect).

Turns out, he had bought up the majority of our stock and he was “taking over”. Or something like that. Miami mafia sat in what was the CEOs office with his white leather shoes on the desk and his bodyguard sitting silently nearby, barking orders at people. He was lovely.

A few days into Miami mafia’s reign as king of color fax software, we received 3 draft layouts for our first annual report from the designers. He starts yelling and swearing and calling us all idiots. “What a fucking waste of money!” “Who ordered this shit?” “Where is that marketing girl?” Yes, he called me “girl”. The bodyguard came out and nodded his head in the direction of the office.

“Yes?” I ask.

“What the fuck is this?”, he politely asks.

“Those are layouts of our annual report”, I state. The large envelope that they had been delivered in was lying face up on his desk labeled, “Annual report”. I’m questioning his reading skills.

“Who fucking ordered them?”, he asks respectfully.

“The VP of marketing.” D’uh.

“Why the fuck would he spend money to have the annual report printed in German?”



“Huh?” I ask with my head cocked to one side like a confused puppy.

“German!” And he authoritatively thrusts the drafts into my hands.

I look at the layouts. The layouts are just that, layouts. Layouts with “greeking” in them. He thinks this is German. I don’t know why he jumped to German. The herculean effort it took to not outwardly laugh, impressive.

“This is not German. It’s called “greeking”…. ” Choke, cough, remember the guy with the gun.

The question about Greek came next.

This exchange ended with him swearing at me and telling me that if I left the building before this was sorted out, I was fired.

And that’s the time I was fired.


12 responses to “Getting Fired

  1. holy crap, that’s totally hilarious! so what happened to the company? can’t imagine the odds for survival were very good.

  2. I actually don’t know. I never looked back, but it couldn’t have survived for long. I think it was converted from software company to public shell in record time.

  3. I still don’t think I’ve ever seen a color fax before. Maybe you should go back and help them with their marketing.

  4. Dornsife, I like how you roll!

  5. Josh, I don’t think there is much need for color fax any more. But it would have been cool. I think. Maybe.

    Barton, Cheers! I like the way you roll too.

  6. You gave me something to laugh at today. Thank you.

  7. Great story.
    WIth the guy’s muscle sitting there, you couldn’t just take out your clue-by-four.

    What was the name of the company? Might be fun to Google arounf for the subsequent history…

  8. I left the name out to protect the guilty.

  9. Sarah…this is such a great story…I have my very own favorite “greeking” story, except in my case the client called, kinda upset, cuz they couldn’t read SPANISH!!! I still laugh to this day about it…

    : – )

  10. Great story! Almost sounds like something from Hollywood or Elmore Leonard.

  11. @alexanderhill I may have to change the opening paragraph now since I was laid off the next day. 🙂 Thanks for incredible compliments.

  12. That is an awesome story. For some reason I thought of Boss Hog when you talked about the guy with the white leather shoes. Made it even more enjoyable.