It is uncommon for people to consider being fired from a job a positive thing. Unless, of course you hate the job and exclaim to your boss, “You can’t fire me … I quit!”


According to an article from The New York Times by Dan Lyons, some companies actually believe that firing an employee is a scenario to applaud. A software company called HubSpot considers firing an employee their “graduation.” Lyons, a former HubSpot employee, said that employees would receive emails from their boss saying, “Just letting you know that X has graduated and we’re all excited to see how she uses her superpowers in her next big adventure.”

Firing someone is not something to be referred to as a graduation. A promotion is something that could be considered a graduation because that individual is moving on toward a better future. Graduation is meant to be conveyed as a positive milestone. When you graduate college, you receive an academic degree because of the skills you have acquired. Then, you hopefully use these gained skills to achieve something greater, such as getting a job.

When a company chooses to fire someone, they are also choosing to let that person go off on their own. The company is not supporting the individual or helping them acquire another job. Instead, the employee must start over by using the skills that they had originally garnered to get their previous job and find a new one. The company should not make it seem like letting someone go is his or her graduation and that it is an opportunity to go and benefit from working somewhere else. If the company was really proud of the employee’s skills, they would have never fired them in the first place. Other companies who the employee applies to do not consider the individual to have “graduated.” During the hiring process, companies would only acknowledge the fact that the individual was laid off for a reason.

I believe calling it a graduation is the company’s way of making their actions seem less harsh. They want to make it seem as though firing an employee is a positive thing, as if there is no fault for their action of firing them. The company probably refers to firing as a graduation to cover its reputation so that other employees are not angered when their colleague is laid off. There is no sugarcoating firing an employee. If they were no longer meaningful to the company, then firing them should not be praised as a graduation since they were not considered versatile. If the employee was beneficial to the company, then you should not recognize firing a good employee as a graduation when they are not guaranteed the same success at another job.

Referring to someone leaving the company due to a promotion can be considered their graduation. The employee has built up their skill level so much that they have graduated and moved on to something better. Firing someone is not a graduation; it is throwing them out into the world and making them start over. Hopefully that individual finds a better company; one that does not consider firing them to be their graduation.

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