Saturday, December 02, 2006

You're Fired!...

That's right...after more than four years of membership in my first crit group, yesterday I was shown the door. The reason: lack of performance. Every month, each member must complete a critique of another member's work or be tossed out on her ear. I did not do a crit in November. Thus, December 1st, my butt felt the boot.

So yes, technically, I was justifiably axed. But there are always two sides to each story. There was nothing new to crit until the last day of the month. Oh yes, there had been one new chapter up for about four days the beginning of the month... the two times of the month I am never home before 8 or 9PM from the job that really pays me.

And therein lies the crux of the matter. Why is a volunteer crit group run like the coldest corporation around? That is notifies a member of long standing that she's out via a "form" email... No personal email asking if there was something going on in my life that rendered me quiet for the month. No waiting until December 2nd or 3rd to see if the weekend allowed time for critique of the new chapter that arrived mid-day on November 30th. Just a swift "you're outta there, baby!"

Of course, I am not so naive as to not realize that I was "dismissed" not because I didn't do a crit but rather because the owner of the loop no longer wanted me there. If it was solely because I missed adhering to one of the "rules and regulations", the group would be a lot smaller than it is today.

Actually, I don't really care that I was unceremoniously unsubscribed from the group. It long ago stopped being beneficial to me or my writing goals. What saddens me is that the callousness of being dumped without a "personal touch" is so indicative of how our society is becoming in general. No longer do we care about the other person's feelings or situations; no longer do we take the time to lend a helping hand whether it's actually jumping in and getting dirty ourselves or with moral support... unless it helps our own cause.

Sound cynical? Perhaps. Is it reality? At the moment, it sure feels like it. But I am also enough of an optimist to hope it's just a passing phase.

Bottom line here: Usually when one is shown the door, it is the best thing that could happen to their career. I'd been hanging around mainly for sentimental's hard to leave one of your first groups. But it was way past time for me to make that move. Now it's one less personal email I have to compose and write. And more time for me to write...and clean...and play computer games...and sleep... and cause mischief in general!


well if you think about it, when you don't do your work in school.. you fail.. when you don't show up for work.. you get fired... and most of the times its not "we're terribly sorry, that you couldn't find a pair of matching socks this morning."

WTF? It's hardly the same. When you don't do your work in school for what amounts to one assignment, you may get a lesser grade, not expelled. When you don't show up to work on what amounts to one day, you take a sick day.

Even monolithic corporations usually do an exit interview so that there's no hard feelings.

I'm part of this group and the owner contacted me about the "firing" before it went down. are a few facts that you've left out:
1. Three of the members were let go because they did not perform a crit for at least a month and a half. The group owner contacted a few other members to discuss the issue and ask for our opinions on what to do. The decision to let you go was unanimous. 2. When the decision was made, there were four new excerpts from members looking for comments. In the six weeks since your last critique, you hadn't bothered to look into any of them.
3. In the past the group owner always asked members if there was a reason why they didn't do their monthly crit and if she could offer assistance or if you'd like to go on hiatus. (She'd sent you one of those emails once already this year when it had been more than 2 months since you'd done a critique.)But at the end of the summer she advised everyone that it would be their own responsibility to either do the crit or email her if they couldn't. She even had us sign an agreement to that effect. You signed it, so you knew this might happen.
4. You say in your post that the group "long ago stopped being beneficial to you..." Did you think other members didn't notice your indifference? And yet, you expected some kind of warm and fuzzy concern from the group owner in response?

I've known this group owner for years. She's generous, warm, and believe it or not, a big soft marshmallow on the inside. She didn't make the decision to let you go as easily as you'd like to think. She won't address your comments here, even though I shared them with her. It's a shame you simply couldn't accept that you were wrong and move on. But don't drag the rest of us down with you.

Give me a break! Name one publishing house that would allow you to consistently blow off deadlines without informing them why or when they might expect to hear from you. You think because this is a voluntary critique group you don't have to act with professional courtesy?

I'm in that critique group and I voted to oust you too. Why? Because over the last year you've done the bare minimum to keep yourself active. You couldn't do one brief crit in the entire month of November? If that were true, all you had to do was send the group owner an e-mail and none of this would have happened. But you were too busy being sentimental I guess.

Of course it was okay for you to act cold and callous in Atlanta to the very person you're complaining about now.

Instead of whining about getting a "form letter" from her, take responsibility for your lackluster attitude. That's what got you booted. The group wasn't beneficial to you? Well you certainly weren't benefiting any of us either. Good riddance.

Judging from the majority of the comments you're getting here, Brooke, I'd say you are much better off being out of that group. I've rarely seen this much immaturity outside of an elementary or high school - or perhaps a soap opera. I think you should be saying good riddance to this group, and tap dancing your way out of it!


I agree with FMD. Based on the self-righteous crap from your former crit mates, you are much better off without them. I hope it wasn't the same group I left, as they were a much better sounding group then.

Volunteer crit groups are just that. This is NOT REMOTELY work or school, but a place where things ebb and flow. Friendships are more important than meeting meaningless deadlines. Find a better interacting group who will accept you when you can contribute and just as much when you can't.