Thursday, January 06, 2011

Job Termination: Idea of Reference

I used to work as a paralegal at the law firm of Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld in Washington, DC.  I was fired in October 1991.  At the end of the termination meeting, my supervisor sat next to me as I sifted through my personal things that had been stored in a large cardboard box.  She handed me a blank, unused legal pad.  Some might see it as a friendly gesture: that she was offering me a gift.  I saw a more sinister communication.  I thought she was saying, "You can't prove a thing.  You have no evidence.  You have as much evidence as that contained in this blank legal pad."

I imagined that she was silently and symbolically taunting me.  Well, I never forgot that moment. And I took that imagined taunt as a challenge.

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