That one time I was fired for smiling…

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I worked for a contract security company at the time and was a full-time student at Christ for the Nations Institute in Dallas, TX. I was a Control Room Operator (just under the shift supervisor) at a multi-million dollar high rise facility (7-11 National Headquarters, among other businesses — see picture below). Basically, I was the guy that controlled computer access/security throughout the whole building. And I got to monitor the campus’ 120-ish security cameras and dispatch officers, as needed, to perform various security tasks and duties.

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One day, after having just watched an emergency crew drive up on our property (police/ambulance/fire truck), the property manager, who oversees the security department, walked into the control room, saw the flashing lights on the monitor and asked me what was up. I smiled at him — probably with a smile like the one pictured above — and proceeded to tell him that I had immediately dispatched one of our officers to check it out and I would let him know what the issue was as soon as we knew. He had a conversation with my supervisor and left the building. I smiled and waved good-bye.

The next day my supervisor called me at home and told me that the property manager felt that I was “laughing” at him and making jokes behind his back because of the huge grin he saw on my face. My supervisor apologized profusely but said there was nothing he could do about it — the property manger wanted me gone, so they had to let me go.

It was crushing, especially since I really enjoyed working there and I had done nothing wrong. The company I worked for transferred me to another building further away from where I lived and went to school. It was a bummer, but at least I know in my heart that I had done nothing wrong.

Just spreadin’ the love…


Shawn Michael

Husband, father, musician, pastor, Internet junkie, and Foursquare District NextGen Rep for the Gateway District

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