What I learned from being fired 3 times

By Terrance Liu Source:Global Times Published: 2017/11/8 18:08:39

Illustration: Luo Xuan/GT


"You are fired!"

I gulped a mouthful of coffee and tried to remain calm. "Well, that sounds not good," I thought.

It was the third time my boss had "fired" me. Don't get me wrong. He is a really nice guy with a good temper. Although he comes from a country where people are considered too serious, working under him is both interesting and challenging because he always brings the right combination of pressure and motivation.

But a nice boss could get pissed off as well, especially when you make inappropriate jokes. The first time he "fired" me happened during lunchtime. He was having a bad day because he was asked to work in Shanghai for six weeks, and he hates traveling. We were ordering together, and he told me just to get him something not spicy. My dish was served first, and I decided to play a prank on him. I told him that the spicy noodle was for him. He stared at me and said, "If you actually did that, I will fire you."

Suddenly I realized how lame my attempt at teasing my boss was. I started to be more cautious about the jokes I played since then, but people forget things too soon.

After he finished his six-week project in Shanghai, my boss returned to work in Beijing. He loves using shared bikes to cycle to work, and one day after a night of rain, he came to work with dirt on his shirt because the one he rode did not have a mudguard on the back wheel.

"It does not look that bad. At least they are in good shape." It seems I didn't learn from the last experience and made another inappropriate joke. I sensed a little embarrassment but forgot about it soon afterward.

Later that day, when he was about to buy a coffee, I asked him "Why don't you make one yourself?" There are three heavy coffee drinkers on my team, and two of us use plunger cups except for my boss. He has one as well but never used it.

"Well, I like cappuccino, and the coffee downstairs tastes better," he said.

"Or, you are just lazy," I replied.

How could I let those words slip out of my mouth? I hoped there was a way to undo it or that nobody heard it. But the awkward silence in the office proved I was wrong. I got "laid off" for the second time.

Recently, my boss was complaining about his boss because he was asked to do a 10-week project in Shanghai. Afterward he said, "Sorry, I shouldn't make fun of my boss."

"Recorded," I replied and waved my phone.

"So what? You are fired," he said.

So, here is what l learned. Despite the person's character and the less hierarchical working environment, do not challenge the authority of your boss. No matter how close you are, do not play jokes on your boss as you would on your friends, especially when the situation is tense.

This article was published on the Global Times Metropolitan section Two Cents page, a space for reader submissions, including opinion, humor and satire. The ideas expressed are those of the author alone, and do not represent the position of the Global Times.


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