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Discussion on: Ron, The Untouchable, Invincible, No-Good Developer (Conclusion)

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Adam Nathaniel Davis Author

Bingo! Saying that you're firing / releasing / terminating someone typically has a very negative connotation - for obvious reasons. And it's almost always a "negative" thing, in the short term, for all parties involved. But if everyone's being thoughtful and considerate about the situation, a termination can be a very positive thing - at least, in the long run.

Several years before this, I had an employee literally thank me as I was letting him go. I had tried to work with him. And I also made it exceedingly clear that, if he couldn't hit certain benchmarks, he'd be gone (cuz I wanted him to do everything possible to prepare for such a moment without it hitting him "out of the blue").

I've also had the experience of seeing someone that I had to terminate years earlier, and them telling me how great it was that I terminated them. Of course, they weren't saying that on the day that I let them go. But once they were out of the situation, it quickly became clear to them that they had been in the wrong company / environment / team / etc.

Teaching folks often makes good sense - when that teaching involves some additional skill - a skill that buttresses their existing expertise. But teaching makes no sense if you need to teach them everything - from scratch.

I always remember the CIO specifically using the word Dickensian. I really thought that "nailed it". It's like you're punishing someone just because they're a poor fit in their current role.