Termination Evaluation

The employee/employer relationship paves the path to success; it is a two way street.

And like any two-way street, there are more than one way to get run over.

Termination Evaluation by Mike Monson

I’d felt dizzy and had chest pains all morning. Still, like always, I was right on time for work.

I really needed the money.

Before I clocked in, one of the more annoying of the annoying managers approached me.

Her name was Felicity. I think she thought she was felicitous, but she wasn’t. “Bill? Can I catch up with you?”

I looked at her, confused. Catch up with you? Did she mean I was moving too fast and I should slow down? No, that couldn’t be it, because they were always complaining that I was moving too slow.

“In what sense?”

“Could you meet me back in my office?”

Oh, now I understood; I could be a little socially awkward at times.

“Should I punch in first?”

“No, that won’t be necessary,” she said, trying to appear to be friendly.

The chest pains started up again. I’d had a feeling I wasn’t going to make it through my 90-day probation. I’d been hired just before the big Thanksgiving to Christmas rush so I figured they’d wait until around New Year’s to give me the axe.

Felicity sat behind the desk. She had an envelope and a pile of forms.

“We’ve decided that you just aren’t working out.”

“Really?” I felt dizzy. I sat down.

“You aren’t meeting expectations,” she said. “You aren’t a good fit. I have cash in this envelope covering all your hours since your last paycheck and, also, four hours for today.”

“How much is it?”

“One hundred and fifty five dollars and fifty nine cents.”

“Is that my severance?”

“Is what your severance?”

“The forty four dollars?”

“I’m not sure what you mean.”

“It isn’t a complicated question.”

“Would you like to go over your termination evaluation?”

Felicity had specific tasks to perform at this meeting in order to meet or exceed expectations in performing a termination. Clearly, answering questions about severance wasn’t one of them.

“I asked, IS THAT MY SEVERENCE? Meaning, since I make eleven fucking dollars an hour and you’re paying me for four hours today even though I no longer work here, forty four dollars, minus, I guess, however long this bullshit takes, must be my severance pay.”

My chest was killing me.

Felicity frowned. She reached down to her waist and fingered her walkie-talkie. She looked at the door.
“Kind of an amazingly, shockingly, low amount for a severance, wouldn’t you say?”

“We don’t really pay severance when we let people go.”

“Then what is the forty four dollars for, Felicity? It’s not wages. Clearly, it’s not a bonus for a job well done. So, the only thing it could be is severance, right?”

Felicity smiled widely, broadly, almost giddily. Must’ve figured that until she managed to get me the hell out of there or contacted security, appearing insanely happy was the best way to deal with this problem.

She looked at the door again. She handed me the envelope, and a piece of paper.

“Please sign this voucher indicating you’ve received your final pay.”

“I don’t want to sign it.”

She didn’t have a response to that, just asked, “Did you want to go over our assessment?”

“What is that? All the reasons you’re firing me?”


“Will I have a chance to present my side and convince you to keep me?”

“No. I’m afraid not.”

“Then why the fuck would I want to go over it with you?”

Felicity stood up. As far as she was concerned the meeting was over. I’m sure she had a thousand inane things to do and dealing with me was putting her behind schedule.

She held out her hand. “Good luck to you.”

I didn’t move. “Sit down, you stupid bitch.”

“I’m calling security.”

“How can you work here?”

“Burt,” she said into her walkie. “Please come back to my office. I need you to escort a terminated employee out of the store. The one I told you about. Bill Lowe…. Really? What? Can’t Jill take care of that? Oh…. Please just get here as soon as you can.”

“Is Burt busy incapacitating a shoplifter? He sure loves that Taser gun.”

“Please just leave.”

“Sit down.”

I stood up. I am a big guy. In fact, extremely obese. She was a small woman. She sat.

“How can you work somewhere where you have to be completely full of shit all day long? To tell you the truth, Felicity, you haven’t met my expectations for human behavior. Not even close.”

“Burt!” she said into the walkie.

I had a box-cutter in the pocket of my shirt. We all had box cutters—they were issued on the first day along with our name tags.

I took the money out of the envelope and put the bills on the desk. I took the cutter out of my pocket.
Seven twenties, a ten, and a five. I cut all the bills into eight neat pieces.

Slice, slice, slice, slice.

“I’m terminating your services as a human being, Felicity. You just aren’t a good fit. This is your severance.”

I put the cutter on the desk. I picked up the 72 little pieces of paper currency and threw the entire wad into Felicity’s face. Some of the pieces stuck to her hair and some of them stuck to her forehead, cheeks, nose, chin, and neck—but most of them fell onto her shirt and her lap.

I picked up the box-cutter and held it over my head and aimed it toward Felicity.

She was crying. My chest hurt.

We stayed still for several minutes until Burt finally burst through the door and shot me in the neck and chest with a Taser gun. I immediately went into cardiac arrest. I nearly died on the way to the hospital.

The settlement was enough so that I’ll never have to work again. Burt managed to keep his job. Felicity was terminated a month later—she just wasn’t working out.

Mike Monson is the author of Criminal Love and What Happens in Reno. His new novella, The Scent of New Death, will be published very soon by Out of the Gutter books. Mike is also associate editor of the quarterly crime journal All Due Respect. He lives in Kona, Hawaii.