Annabelle Gurwitch got fired. Like most of us who have been fired, she was demoralized, saddened, and humbled by the experience. Unlike most of us, however, she decided to put on a play about it and create an independent film based on her experience as a tribute to all of the other people who have shared the same fate.
Fired!, which was written in the vein of Curb Your Enthusiasm and independently produced by Gurwitch, is an examination of firing and how it plays out in various professions in America. The protagonists are the quirky Gurwitch and her celebrity comedian pals, including Tim Allen, Andy Dick, Fred Willard, and Sarah Silverman, to name a few. In the film, Gurwitch examines her own firing by Woody Allen and the aftermath of this traumatic event in her life. A documentary with a humorous bent, Fired! runs for 111 minutes and sometimes feels like it; I grew impatient during the cuts between various people's stories.
While Gurwitch went through various phases, including depression, anxiety, and bitterness, after her "decommissioning," she turned the situation around by examining the experiences of others who had been fired and what it meant for their lives. In the process, she realized that what was once tragic to her became funny.
Based on the cases of many of her friends who regularly deal with rejection as comedians and movie stars, she found that sometimes getting fired can be the best thing that happens in a person's career. Andy Dick, for example, got fired and then found another job where he met Gurwitch's husband. This chance meeting propelled his career forward, landing him a spot on Ben Stiller's show and making him the success he is today.
A leader is someone who sets clear goals and maintains effective communication with employees by "passing on all bits of news, rather than just wide-sweeping company changes, welcomes open discussion from team members, makes time for employees and listens intently when they express opinions and concerns, and responds promptly to team member requests for more information."
However, getting fired can be demoralizing, as Gurwitch notes in the film. It can feel like you've been dumped—and can have similar confusing consequences. Think about it. Many aspects of the two situations are the same: the lack of notice, the thought that you could have tried harder to make it work, the feeling that someone just doesn't want you.
Statistics show that for men, being fired is worse than getting a divorce! The experience inspires that much emotion. This makes sense because when you're told your services are no longer needed, your pride takes a huge hit. You feel faulty in some way, even if it's not technically your fault.
In our culture, being fired can mean that somehow we have fallen short of expectations. A good example of this is what happens on The Apprentice when Trump's practically trademarked phrase "You're fired" is uttered. In the infamous "boardroom" of The Apprentice, it is not uncommon for participants to be accused of not meeting Trump's or the team's expectations. Often, contestants slink out of the boardroom to the limo that awaits them feeling duped and unwanted.
While firing (or booting participants out) is commonplace on reality television shows, it still stings when it happens to us personally. Gurwitch tries to encourage conversation about those feelings by commiserating with interesting real-life characters, including auto workers, a former White House chef, and economists, in order to learn about their employment experiences. What she learns is that getting fired today doesn't have the same stigma attached to it that it did 30 years ago. Also, getting fired doesn't mean it's the end; it means you have another chance to prove yourself to new employers.
In the documentary, Fred Willard says that he thinks firing is "God's way of telling you that you should be doing something else." Others view it similarly, considering it to be an opportunity. Walter Scheib, former White House chef for the Bushes, felt fine when he was let go. His outlook when he was fired was that he still maintained the skill set he had before he took the job. In fact, he now owns his own catering company.