Fired.

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When The Suits say it’s not you, it’s them.  It’s you.

I’ve been fired.  Axed.  Booted.  Canned.  Discharged.  Dropped.  Given my marching orders.  Received a pink slip.  Handed my walking papers.  Let go.  Sacked.  And officially terminated.

This pleases me (it was time… and I have something to blog about).

Several months ago, I was contacted my an educational magazine (that I’d never heard of… but I don’t get out much) to see if I would be interested in having my blog posted once a week on their website.You Represents Me.

After little or no thought, I said yes.

That was a mistake.

I was lured in by the prospect of no-fame and no-fortune.  I forgot the fundamental thing that makes blogging interesting.

I can write whatever I want (within certain moral guidelines and my day job expectations) and post it within seconds.  And much to my surprise people occasionally read it (this is the part I will never understand).

It’s that simple.

No editors.  No publishers.  No Suits.

I answer to no one (other than the PrincipalsPage lawyers).

If I find the subject matter interesting or funny, I blog about it.  No deadlines.  No pack of Suits sitting around a conference table deciding if a topic qualifies as magazine worthy.

Just me and Larry the Laptop.

Now, I understand that’s both good and bad.

It hurts me to say this, but sometimes I’m not as interesting as I think I am.  But that’s okay because it’s all part of blogging (they can’t all be winners).

To be honest, I should have jumped ship about a month ago, but I made a mistake.  I didn’t trust my gut feeling.

If there is a lesson to be learned, it’s always trust those feelings.  They’re almost never wrong.

Why we don’t follow these feelings 100% of the time I will never now.  Even in the heat of the moment, we tell ourselves to follow our gut and yet we still don’t.

That’s what I did.  And now I am magazineless (and I had a chance to be the dumper instead of the one getting dumped… and now I’ve forever lost the power of the pre-emptive break-up).

A few weeks ago the young lady who “hired” me left for a new job.

My immediate reaction was “Ruh-roh!” (we have been watching a lot of Scooby Doo at my house).

I don’t have a lot of experience with corporate America, but I know when the person who brings you in leaves, you may well be next on the chopping block.

And I was.

I’m not sure the new Suits understood what the blog is about.

Which is nothing.

That’s got to be a hard concept for simple Suits to understand.  The blog is about education, school administrators, and nothing.

It’s not high-concept or low-concept.  It’s no concept.

Maybe they just wanted to go “in a different direction.”  Which is of course code for “your blog stinks.”

Actually the official “Your Dead to Us Email” was nicely worded.  It said, “Unfortunately, we will not be able to continue publishing posts for PrincipalsPage the Blog”. 

I was getting fired. 

Actually that’s not true.  I was fired.

What’s worse is they paid me little to nothing for the blogs.  Yes, that’s right… I got fired from volunteer work (how bad do you have to be when The Suits decide you’re not even worth zero??).

What a special moment in a blogger’s life.  If I had emotions (don’t forget I’m a dead on the inside school administrator), I might have cried.

The worst part is they didn’t even replace me with another blogger.

I’ve been replaced by a “Jobs” section.

Buddy the Dog references have been given away to an Assistant Superintendent Opening in Windham.  I’m not going to lie, that hurts.

Not for me so much, but Buddy.  He has feelings after all.

The good news is this isn’t the first time I’ve been fired (wait a second… that may not be good news).

What I’ve discovered through these slightly tragic moments (more on these later in the PrincipalsPage Book I don’t have coming out) in my career is things always work out for the best.

Getting fired only hurts for a second, especially when you realize it’s an opportunity.

One door being slammed in your face generally leads to another one opening (usually a better, much larger door).

That’s what I’m hoping for in this case.  Maybe a larger publication I’ve never heard of will hire me to blog about nothing (or maybe I can direct a movie… because doesn’t everyone eventually want to direct??).

Now I just have to sit around and wait for the next big thing to come along.

And of course comfort Buddy.

He’s taking this really  hard (I am so glad he doesn’t know that at my job I AM the Suit…).

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18 Responses to “Fired.”


  1. Pat
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 9:16 am

    Sorry about your joblessness (or is it bloglessness?). But hubby and I still enjoy reading your blog over breakfast! (and we enjoyed watching Buddy yesterday!) The sad part is – does this indicate that we don’t have a life? LOL

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Pat, Yes. Yes it does.


  2. pdxMelinda
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 9:57 am

    I am saddened by this news because I had placed you on a pedestal for being an administrator who got it. Your twitter comments have been an important part of my inspired-as-an-educator resurgence. Those of us who blog and tweet understand that this is our moment to change to an inquiry and constructionist based learning model.

    I’m a veteran teacher and my perspective is that melding technology into education seems to be stuck on functioning printers in the building. Nationwide, this rut seems to have more to do with leadership’s lack of vision than anything else. This coming Wednesday I am scheduled to attend a district sponsored, introductory class on obtaining Administrative Certification, because of you. Now, I don’t know…

    Please know that there are many of us who will want to hear your voice continue.


  3. Porter Palmer
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 9:58 am

    Love your blog! Read EVERY post in Google Reader, EVERY time you post.


  4. sarahwww
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 10:23 am

    My Super told me about your blog and I have really enjoyed it. I bet you find some way to continue to share with us… This stuff has to find a way “out” or you might explode. You are worth at least twice “zero.” :)


  5. joseph thibault
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 11:08 am

    Their loss.


  6. Lyn
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 11:21 am

    I am a lowly second-year principal who just embarked on the blogging journey and have been inspired and entertained by your posts. Your readers will follow you wherever you go! :)


  7. Liberty Rose
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 11:46 am

    I am so very sorry. Is it me, or are school districts becoming more and more paranoid, scared, paralyzingly mediocre?
    I considered your blog to be a bit like Seinfeld episodes. Lots about nothing, but so very meaningful and truthful about human nature in general.
    I will continue to read you as I am very interested in your journey.
    I got hit over the head with a giant 2X4 yesterday and will be following my gut after my cranial wound heals.


  8. AllanahK
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 11:51 am

    I am shocked and saddened by your devastating news. Did they offer any severance pay?

    Why is it we still care about print media. I recently got a write-up in the local newspaper- no hyperlinks, no feedback able to be given, no comments to read. I much prefer the internet version of news but I still got a buzz from seeing my name in print- on the fourth page of a paper that fewer and fewer people read.


  9. Charlie A. Roy
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 2:12 pm

    Sorry to hear of your termination. I’m sure good things are right around the corner…. and if not you still have enough of your crazy followers to read your wonderful posts. Be well!


  10. Mamacita
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 3:58 pm

    The good ones are always the first to be let go. The bad and mediocre ones never die, and they greatly fear anything remotely innovative.

    I’m sorry this happened to you, but you’re not alone. This won’t make you feel any better, but at least you’ve got company in the unemployment line.

    Darn good company, I might add.


  11. Tim
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 5:19 pm

    I just canceled my subscription to their rag!!! You know, the “free” subscription that I never read… Anyway… Good riddance, you didn’t need them anyway. I look forward to the book you are not writing and the movie you may or may not direct, but until then I am perfectly happy taking in PP.com The Blog and the Buddy cam which is mostly an empty chair and a clock that is two hours ahead of mine… Godspeed to you!!!

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Tim, Funniest comment yet.

    Buddy is normally available 8:00 am – 3:00 pm Monday – Friday… don’t get discouraged.

    I seldom have time to watch a movie, so I doubt I will be directing any time soon.

    Godspeed to you…


  12. Dianne
    on Nov 15th, 2009
    @ 8:29 pm

    OMG. I was afraid you meant fired from your job! Thought maybe you had included a photo of yourself in a distant land with a beer in your hand. (You are of drinking age, right??) That is what happened to a teacher (whose students excelled) in Barrow County, Georgia. Teachers here in Georgia are deleting people and photos from their facebooks and blogs in great fear. (Unless the teacher and sanity prevail and she wins the lawsuit!!)


  13. Harry Grzelewski
    on Nov 16th, 2009
    @ 6:42 am

    Sorry to hear the news, but, like you said, other doors are opening. Can’t wait to read your first post from the new post. Best wishes


  14. Fox
    on Nov 22nd, 2009
    @ 10:56 am

    I love this blog. I can’t believe you are a school superintendent.

    I am definitely bookmarking it as well as sharing it with my friends. :)


  15. Mariss
    on Nov 23rd, 2009
    @ 1:37 pm

    My school district has been a long-time subscriber to Converge magazine. We are telling the rest of our colleagues — and we are publishing a blog post to our district Web site — about that unethical publication! Honestly, they post hardly any “original” content. They steal it from other places! — including talented and funny bloggers.
    Education is destiny, indeed.


  16. Patty
    on Dec 5th, 2009
    @ 11:22 am

    Ouch. On the bright side, sounds like you don’t need them.

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While this site operates with the knowledge and awareness of the Tuscola CUSD #301 School Board, Tuscola, Illinois, the content and opinions posted here may or may not represent their views personally or collectively, nor does it attempt to represent the official viewpoint of Tuscola CUSD #301 administrators or employees.