Welsh / There’s no easy way to say this…

Former Canberra radio personality MIKE WELSH may have resigned from his last job, but he still knows how it feels to get the bullet…

IF you have ever been fired or terminated or punted or dismissed, it’s likely the initial shock momentarily muted the words used to convey the message that your services were “no longer required” or whatever limp-wristed, lily-livered line the “executioner” employed.

Mike Welsh.

Mike Welsh.

In the wake of the recent mass sackings at Sydney radio station 2UE and 4BC, its sister station in Brisbane, I experienced some mildly traumatic, but mostly amusing flashbacks of being sacked from radio stations (but not my last one, I resigned).

There is no easy way to tell someone their livelihood and, likely, their identity is about to vanish. It is not a good idea to begin with: “There is no easy way to say this”. Many still try.

Telecommunications giant Nokia reportedly once used the phrase: “We are freeing you up to meet new challenges” when sacking a bunch of people.

In my industry, they say you aren’t a genuine player unless you’ve “pink slipped” at least twice.

It was a Friday and I had just wrapped my breakfast slot, broadcast mostly to dairy farmers, and the manager of the small station that had employed me for three weeks before wanted to see me. He wasn’t happy. Earlier, a listener took affront to a tasteless joke I told and rang me to have whinge. I was a bit busy so I gave the caller, on air, a bogus home number for the manager who nearly cut his throat shaving.

“What you did this morning was totally reprehensible,” he told me. I instantly recognised “reprehensible” as probably not good.

Mr Manager also was uninspired by the music I chose to play. Apparently it upset the output of the milking cows listening to the program. My fate was sealed. Ostracised by cattle and unemployed, but at least I left with an enhanced vocabulary.

In the mid-’90s, I was called to a meeting just minutes after coming off air. Another of those ominous Friday morning meetings.

A scrum of five grim-faced, grey-suited men filled one side of the room. Four sycophants stood silently around the one man who was sitting. The seated one delivered the news that I had been anticipating for weeks.

It was 20 years ago, but I’ve yet to hear such an original, yet massively weak, mealy-mouthed management method of sacking someone.

Seated Management Type: “Mike, good news, we have a new and exciting format starting on Monday and we’ve thrown a lot of cards in the air. Unfortunately, when they came down your name wasn’t on any of them.”

I was offered some pathetic “casual employment” options, but I belligerently demanded: “Just give me the cheque”.

A simple, “You’re fired!”, would have done.

Mike Welsh is the afternoon announcer at 2HC, Coffs Harbour.

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