When leaving a company, you’re usually asked to return company property, especially if you’ve been fired. Not that I’ve been fired. I just know this from several dismissal letters of colleagues that I have seen. Said company property usually includes office keys, IDs, access cards and the like.
There was a time I didn’t fully appreciate the need for that and in fact thought it was rude to ask someone to hand over certain items. There you are, out of job and wondering what on earth you’re going to do next, and the HR manager or whoever is handing you the sacking letter is effectively reminding you that the company you’ve been slaving for wants nothing to do with you. Kind of like a bad break-up where the guy asks you to return things he bought or gave you.
I know a girl who was left in tears when her boyfriend literally packed her life away after he caught her with another man. Curtains, carpet, bed, chairs, clothes… Again, I need to stress it wasn’t me. I do understand why employers ask for company equipment though. Some people are given cars, laptops, phones and God knows what else and it’s only reasonable they return these things if they’re sacked.
And then of course there’re unscrupulous characters. I’ve seen notices in papers and even heard radio announcements cautioning the public not to deal with certain individuals long terminated but purporting to represent the company since they still have the company shirt and ID. “Anyone who deals with him or her does so at their own risk,” the warning goes.
Others continue to enjoy free perks, say medical treatment at certain clinics or lunch at a restaurant tendered by their former employer. The unsuspecting service providers usually have no idea that this person is no longer entitled to those benefits. All this is wrong, but at least it’s not as tragic as the Washington DC Navy Yard mass shooting. As you’ve probably heard, 34-year-old Aaron Alexis had been discharged in 2011 and two years later, he still had security clearance, going as far as accessing one of the guns he allegedly used to kill 12 innocent civilians right inside his former workplace. Whoever is in charge of hiring and firing at this facility must be scratching their head over this. Some of his former colleagues probably didn’t even know he’d been fired.
Guess that’s why some companies go to great lengths to announce dismissals and departures, emailing all employees and even pinning pictures on the notice board. Many employers don’t take it that far though, certainly not ours. Firing is done with some level of discretion.
The office gossips may pick up on it but soon enough, the noise dies down, and unless you were caught up in some big scandal, some staff may not even get wind of it. They just assume someone went away to study or something. In our office, pretty much anything goes and as such, former colleagues pop in and out, so much that you’d be forgiven for thinking they still work here. And like I mentioned before, they don’t have a problem using company facilities. They’ll have tea, use the toilet, Internet… just like old times. In fact, just the other day, we were teasing one of them about reapplying for his job since he’s never been replaced.
Going back to Alexis, it’s sad that he killed all those people. He was a sick man who didn’t get the help he needed. Some reports suggest he was disgruntled over his sacking but you can’t say he didn’t have it coming. Insubordination, missing working and several other peculiarities forced his employer to let him go. Guess he wasn’t ready to let go. Anyway, let this be a wakeup call for us all to keep an eye on family and friends. Perhaps if someone had looked out for Alexis, I wouldn’t have had to write this.
To be continued…