These days, I don't have a lot of time to pay attention to what movies are playing. Mrs. JMR and I have a lot of other commitments, and, generally, those things we do for fun are going to be toddler-appropriate. Consequently, I didn't pay much attention when the recent George Clooney flick, Up In The Air, was released. It wasn't until a few weeks ago that I learned that it was about something near and dear to my heart, sacking people.
From what I've read, it's a quirky movie that's more about human connections than employee terminations (and understandably so). And, apparently, it's pretty good, having just won the Golden Globe for best screenplay, and employing (no pun intended) one of the more amiable actors working today. Aside from all this, I'm interested to see how they deal with someone who's job it is to terminate people. It's been my experience that there is a general misunderstanding of the realm of employee terminations. I have been involved in the terminations of probably 20 to 30 people - certainly not a lot, but enough to gain a little insight into process.
Conducting terminations isn't easy, and it certainly isn't for everyone. It requires a seemingly paradoxical mix of empathy, detachment and the possession of a thick skin. To be properly motivated, one has to keep in mind the big picture, the fact that properly conducted terminations positively affect the workings of the company; to be efficient and effective, one has to remained focus on the narrowly-defined issues at hand, not allowing the employee to derail the process.
In the past, I have willingly taken on the role of terminating employees. I have done this because I was confident that I could handle the situation with tact, ensuring a respectful termination for the employee while also safeguarding the interests of the company. In fact, I'd be willing to have an Up In The Air-type job. I would have no problem being employed to terminate people... as long as I was also able to guide the company in their processes that lead to termination. Properly employed, such processes should benefit everyone at the company. They should lead to fewer terminations, and that's what every company should want.
So, maybe, in the coming months I'll watch the movie. And maybe I'll start a new feature at JMR, movie reviews.