Saturday, 26 November 2011

Fire someone

I’m a big believer in firing people. Companies should fire more people, more often and more speedily.

Of course I’m not saying that this should be done randomly, carelessly or without due process. In fact I’m saying that this should be done on the old-fashioned principle of discrimination.

“Discrimination” is one of those words that’s got a bad name over the last few decades. It’s usually misunderstood to mean “unfair discrimination” which overlooks the fact that there’s such a thing as “fair discrimination” as well. The unfair variety refers to hiring or firing people perhaps because they’re a woman, they’ve fallen pregnant, they follow a certain religion, their skin is a particular colour or they’re gay. Fair-minded people recognize that these things have no relevance to somebody’s ability to do their job effectively.

However, fair-minded people who run businesses are entitled to discriminate fairly. They can hire a better qualified person rather than a less qualified one or someone who has better quality experience than another. Note that I said “better quality” experience, not just lots of it. A colleague of mine was actually criticized by a failed recruit some years ago for not hiring him. “But I’ve got a Master’s degree and lots of experience, you have to hire me”, she was told. She struggled to find a polite way of telling him that this meant nothing, he’d came across as an arrogant and self-centred ass, that’s why they didn’t select him.

It’s the same with firing people. There comes a time when poorly-performing staff have to be shown the door. We’ve all met them, the sullen bank teller, the surly waiter and the blank-faced (and often blank-brained) public servant who makes it clear you’re interrupting his web-surfing or reading of the Daily News. Give them a few chances to improve, some mentoring and set some deadlines but then get rid of them.

There are, however, times when employees should do right now. Not tomorrow but today. Not this afternoon but this morning.

An employment lawyer can outline the reasons why you can do this with more authority than me but there’s one major reason why I think you can be justified in giving an employee the boot. Or why you deserve to be fired on the spot. One reason is lying when you were hired. If an employer discovers that you lied in your application to join her company she can fire you. You have, after all, committed a crime. Obtaining a financial benefit on the basis of a lie is fraud. If you claim to have resigned form your previous job and it turns out you were fired then you’ve lied. If you make up a job you had then you’ve lied. If, and this is probably the most common lie, you claim to have earned a qualification that’s you didn’t really earn then you’ve lied.

I’ve mentioned the enormous variety of fake universities on the internet before. These entirely bogus online establishments offer bogus qualifications for money. They’re not real universities in any sense. What’s more they are blatantly bogus. It’s made perfectly clear when you contact them that it’s just the money they want. You don’t have to study, you just pay up and you get a bogus qualification of your choice.

We recently got an email from someone asking about one of these fake places, calling itself “Headway University”. It has a fairly presentable web site that makes it perfectly clear that degrees of various levels are available just for money. Like many of them there’s an online chat facility where you can talk to an “advisor” so I went online and asked them if I could get a degree from them. This is part of the conversation I had with their “advisor”:
Please wait for a site operator to respond.
You are now chatting with 'Ethan Myers'
Ethan Myers: Hello. How may I assist you?
Me: Hi
Me: I want to know how quickly I can get a bachelors degree
Ethan Myers: you can get it in about 10 to 12 days
Me: oh that's brilliant, really that quickly?
Ethan Myers: yes
Ethan Myers: What we do is we take down your life experience, that is your working experience and your past educational qualification, convert them into credit hours, if these credit hours are equivalent to the credit hours that are require to complete your desired degree then you qualify and we award the degrees accordingly, if you are successfully evaluated we start with the registration process registering you and your documents with the university and the Accreditation bodies and after that we make sure that the documents are shipped out to you in the next 10 working days.
Me: does that mean i don't have to study?
Ethan Myers: yes, no studies require if you have relevant working experience
Me: which university awards the degree?
Ethan Myers: Headway University
Me: and how much will this cost?
Ethan Myers: $648
This approach is the same with all these fake universities. I’ve had similar encounters with fake universities calling themselves Ashwood, Rochville, Belford, McFord, Woodfield, Corllins, the University of SouthCentral Los Angeles and Universal Degrees. All of these are fake.

The worry is quite how many of our employees, colleagues and even bosses got their jobs by claiming to have these qualifications. I can’t believe that anyone with one of these degrees thinks they earned it. They know, we all know, that you get a degree by doing a lot of work. Everyone intelligent enough to buy a fake degree online knows what they’ve done.

So let’s start discriminating against them and get them fired.

No comments: