TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — You’re Fired!

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was fired this week. Being fired in the Trump administration has become commonplace, but the means by which Tillerson was “let go” was new. Secretary Tillerson learned of his dismissal by reading a @realDonaldTrump Tweet. Seems a little distance for someone whose television catch phrase was “You’re Fired!”

I was fired only once, from a television job in Bismarck. The year was 1975. The time and place were a little odd. The news director had asked me to join him at a Mandan, N.D., coffee shop. It was about 10:30 on a Sunday night.

After more than two years on the air, I was told the owner of the station “didn’t like the way I looked.” That is a direct quote. I remember it as if it were yesterday. I didn’t particularly like the way I looked either, but what can you do?

Years later, a friend said, “You should have sued their asses. You could have owned the station.” I don’t know about that. But I don’t think that line, or that line or reasoning, would work today.

In light of the Tillerson tweet firing, I asked some Facebook friends if they’d ever been fired in any odd ways. Oh, yeah. A few examples follow.

As one story goes, once upon a time there was a television station manager in Fargo who fired reporters by taping dismissal notices to the windshields of their cars, which makes my TV firing kind of lame.

One Facebook friend was fired by memo.

After 10 years of employment, another friend writes he was seen on a date with another guy by a worker who immediately informed his foreman. He picks up the story. “The next night I was called to the office and told ‘your being fired for unethical, immoral, indecent and inappropriate behavior, and you, are violating my religious right by even existing.’ Then the man proceeded to out me to my welder co-workers, and my family, some who did not know.”

And yet, another. “I was fired from my waitress job at a piano bar. They took me off the schedule but no one told me. I went to work at my regular time and someone else was doing my job. Turns out I was fired for not sleeping with the bartender. I guess my replacement had lower standards.”

A large number of FB friends say they have never been fired. To which I would say only, sorry you missed out on so much of the “fun.”

Published by

Terry Dullum

Terry Dullum recently completed a nearly 40-year career as anchor, producer and reporter with WDAZ-TV in Grand Forks.  He was part of a newsroom that won a national Edward R. Murrow Award and an Upper Midwest Regional Emmy Award. He was the anchor and producer of WDAZ News @5.  More than eight hundred episodes of his popular video essay series, The Dullum File, aired on WDAZ and WDAY-TV in Fargo. A North Dakota native and a graduate of the University of North Dakota, he is also a popular speaker and emcee.

8 thoughts on “TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — You’re Fired!”

  1. Terry, another interesting and well-written column. Although, like some of your Facebook friends, I was never “fired,” I came darn close to that action. I usually spoke my mind when I thought things were being done wrong. That puts one in the danger zone. However, I was fortunate to leave before the ax came close. I sometimes wonder how I made it through a long career without being excised. Sounds like I missed the “fun” you mentioned.

    1. Thanks, Larry. If you like I could fire you, sort of like the opposite of giving you an honorary degree or something. You’re fired, Larry! There.

  2. Years ago I worked at a Hotel-Restaurant in Seattle where the restaurant manager didn’t have the heart/courage to fire anyone. So he would just erase their name from the new schedule that came out every week and let them figure it out.

Leave a Reply