Friday, October 26, 2007

Baz Truman Returns!

Editor’s Note:

For years, workers have suffered through the advice of pundits, over-achievers and corporate lackeys, some of whom have had only three or four jobs in their entire lives.

Wouldn’t it be better to get career advice from someone with experience at literally thousands of jobs?

Baz Truman thinks so. Since the early 1980s, Baz Truman has been working at and getting fired from more jobs in a week than most people get fired from in a lifetime. Baz’ single-minded determination to excel at his career - no matter the cost – has gotten him fired from some of the world’s biggest and brightest companies.

The Most Fired Man in America
By Baz Truman

Q. I'm fairly new to Human Resources and still learning my craft. Since you have more experience getting fired from jobs than anyone in America, I'm wondering if you have any tips you can give out to the professional on the other side of the table who's doing the firing. Any suggestions?
Terminating Neophyte

Dear Terminating Neophyte:

After hundreds of terminations, I've gotten to see just as many techniques in action. I've found that every Human Resources person has their own technique as individual as a snowflake - only you wouldn't want to eat one of these snowflakes because they're bitter and much, much colder than a regular snowflake.

Ha ha ha ha. Just kidding.

That's exactly what's missing from most terminations - the spirit of fun. I've got a few suggestions to liven up any termination meeting and send everyone home with a smile on their face. Except maybe the employees who are getting fired. If you don't have the kind of experience I do, it's easy to get caught up in the whole "I don't have and job and I can't pay my bills" thing.

Here's my list of "Dos" and "Don'ts":

Do pick some kind of theme for the termination. Instead of wearing a business suit to the meeting, wear a Hawaiian shirt and flip-flops. Hand the employee a beach towel and bottle of suntan lotion and turn the negative meeting into a positive by saying brightly, "Guess who's got a lot more time to go to the beach?"

Then point to the employee.

I know what you're thinking. How will the employee have time to go to the beach if he or she is looking for a new job? That's exactly what makes it so funny.

Don't bring paperwork to the meeting. The employee is not going to agree with you any way. Why spend the last few minutes you're ever going to have with this employee detailing his or her faults and signing documents?


Don't use a security guard theme if you can possibly help it. In my experience, security guards almost always "oversell" the joke, no matter how much you wink to let them know you're in on the joke. Take it from me, tasers are only funny the first couple of times.


Baz Truman The Most Fired Man in America

Friday, October 19, 2007

General Mom

My wife left town today to attend her sister's wedding. This seems like a monumental mistake to me because, frankly, I am not qualified to take care of three kids by myself.

Our family has already ignored the first rule of parenting - which says that the total number of kids should never surpass the total number of parents. Bridget and I smugly assumed that this rule applied to other, less capable people. We were wrong about this. Time and again, the three to two ratio has meant that two of our kids could effectively launch frontal attacks to distract us while the third child moved to flank us. I use battle metaphors only half in jest because parenting is exactly like war, except the troops fight for and against you. And the battles usually end with an entire roll of toilet paper mysteriously wedged into an overflowing toilet.

No, parenting requires a capable general - and our general is on furlough.

This morning, for instance, the kids began their assault, as usual, at breakfast.

"What's for breakfast?" asked Gabriel.

Normally, General Mom would issue marching orders at this point.

"Julian, get bowls out and set the table. Gabriel, get the milk out of the refrigerator. Riley, get your underpants off of the dog's head."

Then she looks at me. "And you should stop laughing at the dog. It's only encouraging Riley."

This is exactly the right way to handle the breakfast situation. Each unit is given clear orders with little room for interpretation. Even the dog appreciates the clarity.

How did I handle the same situation this morning?

"Uh, what would you like to have for breakfast?" I asked.

Apparently, the troops wanted one bite of peanut butter toast, one spoonful of yogurt, one piece of bacon and fifteen glasses of milk. They also clamored for chocolate sauce, which I might have given them except I had already used the entire bottle for my own breakfast.

I am no General Mom.

I know my wife will read this blog entry today, so let me say this:

Under your capable leadership, the troops have always assumed that I was second-in-command. You've only been gone about four hours, however, and the troops are beginning to realize that I am, at best, an enlisted soldier like themselves.

We love you. We know you deserve a couple of days with your family. But this is war, dammit! With all due respect, your furlough has been revoked.

Friday, October 12, 2007

3 and a Half Pack

Two exciting "husband" things have happened to me recently:

First, I bought the "Halo 3" video game and have been playing it online almost every night. For those who don't know, "Halo 3" allows you to battle players from around the world in a tense, futuristic setting using various lasers, grenades and machine guns. That's the promise, anyway. In actual practice, twelve year-olds from around the world use various lasers, grenades and machine guns to blow me up while casting aspersions on my mom's dating habits.

Man, I love that game.

Second, fans of this blog know that my wife became obsessed with Jake Gyllenhaal's massive biceps and forced me to start working out. Well, it worked.


I have lost weight and built some muscle. I don't have a six pack, but I can now pull off my shirt and proudly point to a three and a half pack. Truthfully, I suspect that the "half pack" may be a hernia. Whatever. Progress is progress - even it's big, red, bulging and painful to the touch.

And though my wife forced me to start working out, she worries that I will be tempted to put my bulging, red painful muscles to ill use if I'm out of her strict gaze. And this is where "Halo 3" intersects with my workouts.

My wife actually encourages me to play "Halo 3" because it means that I'll stay on the couch on a Friday night instead of hanging out with my bachelor friends. In other words, now that my wife feels that she's made me more attractive, she's using my favorite video game to effectively keep a leash on me.

I find this more than a little condescending and cynical. That's why I'm going to hang out with my friends this weekend. I'm grabbing the car keys, ignoring my wife's protests and going to meet my bachelor friends. If we end up at bar, my wife will just have to trust me. If my friends and I end up at a party of some kind, my wife will just have to remember that I'm a happily married, responsible adult. I told my friends that I'm up for anything this weekend, so bring it on.

I think we're playing "Halo 3" at Thad's house.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Sucker From the Future

I must write quickly, for I go to clean my wife's car. I do not know how it will end. I only know that there will be a reckoning - and it will be epic.

My wife will likely read this entry at some point. Because she knows me, she will dismiss my opening sentence as hyperbole and exaggeration. But I tell you this:

The interior of my wife's car smells like winos have lived in it, slept in it and urinated in it.

No, that's not quite right.

It smells like winos lived in it, slept in it, urinated in it and were eventually chased out by a feral wolverine family who also urinated in it to unsuccessfully remove the smell of the winos.

I don't blame my wife for most of this; I blame my children. Those three kids have lost more food inside that car than most small countries need to subsist for a year, provided, of course, that the small country lives entirely on chicken nuggets and french fries.

Perhaps "lost" is the wrong word. Indeed, I've begun to suspect a kid conspiracy. "Lost" implies an accidental river of food flotsam and jetsam flowing inch by inch through the car and eventually depositing itself on some delta, perhaps a bumper.

This does not happen. I know this food is not "lost" because my kids "find" it with amazing regularity.

The other day, I looked in my rear view mirror and noticed that my three year-old daughter was enjoying one of those weirdly fluorescent bank suckers.

"Hmmm," I thought. "I don't remember getting that at that bank."

I almost jammed on the brakes. We hadn't been to the bank in three weeks. And I had cleaned out the car a week previously, scouring the car for hidden caches of junk and junk food.

"Riley!" I yelled. "Get that thing out of your mouth!"

And she did exactly that. When I got home, I pulled her out of her car seat and looked for the sucker. It had vanished.

So, I'm going out the clean the car again. I will take my usual complement of weapons, some of which you don't normally see used on car - a mop, for instance. I don't expect to find that bank sucker. I imagine that a thousand years from now, an archaeologist will pore over our ancient car using lasers and other futuristic crap. She will turn around to check on her daughter (in the future, kids are allowed to hang around lasers) and she will see her daughter contentedly working on that ancient bank sucker.

And it will still be fluorescent.