The Business of Love

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Firing your CEO

Search "CEO fired" in Google and you'll see companies like Boeing, Gucci, Radio Shack, and Audi firing their CEOs for the following reasons: an affair with a coworker, disloyalty, lying on a resume, and criticizing a business partner. So, if I consider myself Handsome Inc., who is the CEO? I submit that my girlfriend is the CEO.

CEO = Significant Other?

Now some of you may be wondering how I can say that I'm not the CEO myself. Without getting into corporate organization too deeply the CEO is chosen by the owner (that is the stockholders for large corporations, but for Handsome Inc. there is only one stockholder; ME). So I am the owner and I choose my CEO by entering into a committed relationship. But this isn't the point today. Today I'm talking about the dreaded process of firing the CEO, aka Breaking Up.

Why Break Up?

If you look again at the reasons that CEOs were fired from large corporations they seem exactly like the reasons to end a relationship.
#1. An affair. Pretty simple I think.
#2. Disloyalty. Relationships can't work without both parties being loyal in thought, word, and deed.
#3. Lying on a resume. Your resume is how you initially present yourself to your significant other to enter into a relationship. Lying at that stage will kill most relationships because it destroys trust.
#4. Criticizing a business partner. She bags on your friends and/or family and it's time to go Donald Trump on her and say "You're fired!"

Firing your CEO: Quick and Painful

Since the CEO held such a high position of authority and is privy to sensitive information, this process must be handled correctly to avoid a PR nightmare. The following steps are recommended for most situations:

1. You must be 100% committed to firing your CEO. Waffling will only cause hurt feelings.
2. Be painfully direct. This is like pulling off a Band-Aid. You know it will hurt so the quicker you do it, the quicker you can start healing. Keep sugarcoating to a minimum.
3. Move on. CEOs help companies grow and improve. Go and find the CEO who will make you better.

*Cautionary Notes*

Former CEOs can be powerful allies or powerful enemies. A proper firing usually can avoid making an enemy, but even the best executed firing may not get you an ally. Remember that "hell hath no fury as a woman scorned."

Avoid listing a myriad of reasons for breaking up. If she accepted the job as CEO she should trust you when you say "I'm just not feeling it." Yes that's hard to hear because you want to know why, but I've seen both ways.

Firing a CEO will not be pleasant. Just accept it.


  • At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    While I found your comparisons interesting, you should probably know that there is a major contradiction in your argument. You say that a man could end a relationship with no better reason than, “I’m just not feeling it.” However; arbitrary or emotional reasons can hardly be considered grounds for termination for ones employment. Any employer who let one of his employees go on the grounds of “just not feeling it,” can expect a lawsuit on his hands.

    You may have a valid point about the reasons official CEOs were fired, i.e. being secretive or disloyal. However; if an employee should be given reasons as to why his or her employment is being terminated. Based on your reasoning, the same practice should be followed with a termination of your personal “CEO.”

  • At 9:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Know what you want and move forward for Pete's Sake! You know what you're doing Rob ;-)

  • At 3:31 PM, Blogger Handsome said…

    In response to the first comment; of course you have to review the reasons for firing an employee. That's the only way to avoid a lawsuit. However, in relationships my personal experience has been that a list of reasons too often turns into a blame game when blame isn't necessary.

    As for the second comment, while knowing what you want is hard, finding what you want can be even harder.

  • At 12:07 PM, Blogger christianna said…

    yes, the finding what you want is the hard part.

    i think we already largely know what we want, but too often we set that aside thinking that either (1) we are wrong, or (2) we won't find that so we end up "settling" for what we have found. neither one is a good position to put yourself in.

  • At 11:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Even though this entry is about "firing your CEO," I have to mention the subject that seems to be the main focus to this particular response page.

    Yes, it is hard finding want you want, and yes, it is hard knowing what you want, but if you were to look at the situation of finding the one for you, you might want to consider that you need the courage and hope to actually go through with it. If you knew that this person was the best match for you and actually got to know him or her the best way you could (which can lead to the decision of marriage), then having faith in your decision should be satisfactory. Now, I know that in some instances, this is not the case and breaking up the relationship is necessary. However; it is important to realize that in making this decision with BOTH heart and mind in unison, should rarely bring doubt or fear for us to be either being wrong or settling for less. And if fear and doubt are present, then think about where those thoughts are coming from. These emotions are human nature, and should not be used as the answer to your choice, but rather if, after careful consideration and a period of time, this “declaration of love” does not make sense in your entire being, then again, breaking off the relationship may be necessary.

    Now, you are probably thinking “Who this person to tell me this?’ Well, I have seen both successful marriages and failed ones, and they all lead back to not using this method properly. If used correctly with humility and a desire to love this person with all of your heart, mind and strength, then the outcomes can be of complete happiness.


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