I have to fire someone that I care about personally

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guitarguy
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I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by guitarguy »

EDIT:

Almost 1000 hits on the thread and very few are focusing on the issue at hand.

Please, all, we have discussed and evaluated the decision to make this personnel change over several months. It's not something we're taking lightly. We have worked on coaching, made constructive suggestions, evaluated ways to keep this person in the band in a different role which were not met with a positive attitude, on and on. And on. And on. AND ON. It's not going to work, and it's not why I posted this. I posted the background because I thought it might be of interest, but it has stole the focus.

I'd appreciate it if we could focus on the part where I have to fire someone that we hired to do a job, has become a pretty good friend over 3 years, but has not lived up to expectations and shows no signs of changing that.


So my band is taking big steps forward into the corporate market and we're in talks to sign an exclusive deal with a talent agency...very exciting and big news that we all believe will lead to great growth for the business. Unfortunately however, this is also going to mean replacing a member of our group that has been with us for almost 3 years now.

She is always on time and generally comes prepared, is a nice person and a team player, and has a great voice. All important things. However her looks and even more importantly her lack of stage presence are honestly the weakest link in the group right now. Before anyone gets angry at this...remember we're talking about the entertainment business here. People that spend thousands of dollars on bands like mine for single date performance "hear with their eyes" and we need to have dynamic personalities and good looking performers at every position, hers probably most importantly, or the fact is the band will get beat out for the job nearly every time. Without getting too much further into it, everyone in the group, and also the talent agency looking to sign us, is in agreement that replacing her with a stronger performer will make the band the best it can be and lead to the substantial growth steps we're looking to take.

If we keep her on, I basically know for certain that we'll remain stagnant. Which isn't horrible of course...I mean we like playing together and are generally happy overall. But as we our now in our low 30s, we recognize we have maybe 10 "good" years left doing this before we're past our prime. If we're going to take this step up to the next level, now is the time.

But man...in addition to being colleagues and bandmates, everyone in our group genuinely cares about each other and gets along..we're all friends. It's not a Slash and Axl Rose thing where as soon as we leave the stage we hate each other. We travel together (for bookings), hang out together, and have a lot of fun. My bandmates are like my second family. My stomach is tying itself in knots as the time is approaching where we're going to have to let her go...and as the bandleader I'm going to be the one doing it.

It will be very unusual to ask to meet in person for coffee or something like that, so I'm thinking a phone call will be best.

EDIT: Thank you all for the advice on this. I will figure out a way to do it in person and not over the phone.

I'm not sure if we should say "we're letting you go at the end of X month" or something like that? Financially I do know she's at least somewhat dependent on our income which I feel absolutely horrible about leaving her without on short notice. I suppose we could give her the option to stay on for a bit so it's not an immediate hit...but how awkward is that going to be on stage after she's been let go. Ugh. Cringe worthy. Either way we have to protect ourselves and prepare a fill in singer in case she bails right away and refuses to perform anymore after she gets the news. I'm just not sure how to go about this.

Any advice on this tough situation would be helpful. I hate that we have to do it. But honestly it's a step that needs to be taken to grow the business and make the band the best it can be.
Last edited by guitarguy on Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.
sjt
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by sjt »

Is this a real question - because it seems like the plot of a movie or something. I guess you need to decide for yourself what's more important to you. Staying true to your music and your friends, or money / fame / greed / selfishness.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by Sandtrap »

guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:57 am So my band is taking big steps forward into the corporate market and we're in talks to sign an exclusive deal with a talent agency...very exciting and big news that we all believe will lead to great growth for the business. Unfortunately however, this is also going to mean replacing a member of our group that has been with us for almost 3 years now.

She is always on time and generally comes prepared, is a nice person and a team player, and has a great voice. All important things. However her looks and even more importantly her lack of stage presence are honestly the weakest link in the group right now. Before anyone gets angry at this...remember we're talking about the entertainment business here. People that spend thousands of dollars on bands like mine for single date performance "hear with their eyes" and we need to have dynamic personalities and good looking performers at every position, hers probably most importantly, or the fact is the band will get beat out for the job nearly every time. Without getting too much further into it, everyone in the group, and also the talent agency looking to sign us, is in agreement that replacing her with a stronger performer will make the band the best it can be and lead to the substantial growth steps we're looking to take.

If we keep her on, I basically know for certain that we'll remain stagnant. Which isn't horrible of course...I mean we like playing together and are generally happy overall. But as we our now in our low 30s, we recognize we have maybe 10 "good" years left doing this before we're past our prime. If we're going to take this step up to the next level, now is the time.

But man...in addition to being colleagues and bandmates, everyone in our group genuinely cares about each other and gets along..we're all friends. It's not a Slash and Axl Rose thing where as soon as we leave the stage we hate each other. We travel together (for bookings), hang out together, and have a lot of fun. My bandmates are like my second family. My stomach is tying itself in knots as the time is approaching where we're going to have to let her go...and as the bandleader I'm going to be the one doing it.

It will be very unusual to ask to meet in person for coffee or something like that, so I'm thinking a phone call will be best.

I'm not sure if we should say "we're letting you go at the end of X month" or something like that? Financially I do know she's at least somewhat dependent on our income which I feel absolutely horrible about leaving her without on short notice. I suppose we could give her the option to stay on for a bit so it's not an immediate hit...but how awkward is that going to be on stage after she's been let go. Ugh. Cringe worthy. Either way we have to protect ourselves and prepare a fill in singer in case she bails right away and refuses to perform anymore after she gets the news. I'm just not sure how to go about this.

Any advice on this tough situation would be helpful. I hate that we have to do it. But honestly it's a step that needs to be taken to grow the business and make the band the best it can be.
By our own words it has to be done. So that's a non-issue.
However, IMHO, you owe it to your friend and "yourself" to part company on the same terms as when you lst met as friends. You do it "right" for yourself because you have to live with it. How your friend reacts is not your burden because you have no control over that. But, knowing you did your absolute best is the priority. Trying to make it easy or comfortable for yourself, trying to make it not "hurt", should be thrown out the window. It's supposed to hurt. IMHO you owe it to your friend to have a face to face in a good setting, and delivered with kindness, empathy, and compassion. And, taking the time, as long as it takes. However, you have to be prepared to lose a friend, to create and enemy, etc. That's unavoidable. This is no different than firing a friend in a workplace in some respects. You run a business.

I have had to fire many a "friend" in the business world. There is nothing pleasant about it. And, the more principled and moral and nicer guy you are, the harder it is. There are types of people (there is a better name for them) that love to fire others, stomp on them, feel powerful, enabled. But you are not one of them, thus a tough decision. You will have to fire many others in the future. It does not get easier.

I hope this is helpful and actionable.
Good luck.
j :D
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SpaceCowboy
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by SpaceCowboy »

Tough situation and it's good that you care. Most difficult thing you have to do in management.
Don't do it over the phone. This needs to be done in person. Have another person there as well both as a witness and just in case things go awry.
Treat her as a person and how you'd like her to be treated. If possible, give her severance or pay after she's fired even if she doesn't perform with the band.
Don't pull the trigger until you've started the process and potentially even hired her replacement.
Just my 2 cents.
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buccimane
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by buccimane »

sjt wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:07 am what's more important to you. Staying true to your music and your friends, or money / fame / greed / selfishness.
I wouldn't say doing what's best for the band's future success is connected to not staying true to his music. It sounds like this is a main stream of income for at least some of the band members, in which case it should be treated like a business. That being said, having a lead singer performing after you terminate her seems problematic. You may be able to get away with it if she were the bass player, but as a audience member I feel like it would be obvious the lead singer's head isn't in the game. I wouldn't get rid of her until you have a fill-in, and I would not include her in any future performances post-termination.
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bloom2708
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by bloom2708 »

I would just go with a 3 fund portfolio. Stick with low cost index funds.

Oh wait. Harder question. Whatever you do, do it in person. A phone call or text is not how you deal with someone you care about.

Have you discussed her upping the ante on her stage presence? I can't tell if you are going from small town band to not as small small town band or if you are moving record label, full contract, produced image.

This may not be the right forum or right environment to fire someone based on look/stage presence. I would think some more about this.
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guitarguy
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by guitarguy »

sjt wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:07 am Is this a real question - because it seems like the plot of a movie or something. I guess you need to decide for yourself what's more important to you. Staying true to your music and your friends, or money / fame / greed / selfishness.
On the contrary it's a very real question.

We're not an original band...we don't write music, hang out in the studio, and dream about being rich and famous while staying true to ourselves, the music, and our art. All that is nonsense to us.

We play cover songs that other people wrote, smile put on a good show that makes people have fun and feel good, and make piles of money doing it. We help people dance at weddings, and help corporate companies have fun Christmas parties and ribbon cutting ceremonies. Simple as that.

And it's not about being greedy or selfish, it's about growing our business from making say $100k annually, to projected closer to $250k annually or more. The way to get there is to procure the best talent we can and that means replacing someone that's become my friend over the years since we hired her to be in the band.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by nedsaid »

No way for you to lay out all the facts here, we can only go on limited information. I suppose you are making the right decision from a business standpoint and I hope you have a replacement that will be compatible with the remaining band members. You have made the call, you just haven't delivered the news. I think Jon Bon Jovi made a similar decision. The Beatles replaced their drummer. So what you are doing is not unprecedented.

I will say that long term friendships are not easy to make and not easy to keep. The chemistry that makes a team is not easy to create, sometimes it is there and sometimes it is not. You are running a risk of losing a good friend and perhaps losing the chemistry of your band. But what you have been decided has been done before and done successfully.

I am pretty shocked at the lack of loyalty in today's society. I was taught to be loyal to your family, loyal to your friends, loyal to your school, loyal to your team, loyal to your employer, loyal to your country, loyal to your church, and loyal to your spouse. I have mentioned the value of loyalty and longer term commitment in job interviews and the reaction I get is that I am the biggest moron that has ever lived. It just isn't valued much anymore, and when it exists, it is one sided. The employer expects passion and commitment and fire but the first minute somebody can the job a penny an hour cheaper than you, you are history.

People should think more of how they will be remembered when they are gone. When our days here on earth get to be few, we should think about our regrets and what we should have done but didn't.

I will also say that successful business does require a certain amount of ruthlessness. There are times when the correct decision is heart wrenching. You are probably making the right decision, if it is right, your friend will realize it too. There are times it is time to move on. So this is a difficult situation.
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beezquimby
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by beezquimby »

lets cut to the chase, the girl can sing but you want to fire her because she's ugly.
guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:57 am So my band is taking big steps forward into the corporate market and we're in talks to sign an exclusive deal with a talent agency...very exciting and big news that we all believe will lead to great growth for the business. Unfortunately however, this is also going to mean replacing a member of our group that has been with us for almost 3 years now.

She is always on time and generally comes prepared, is a nice person and a team player, and has a great voice. All important things. However her looks and even more importantly her lack of stage presence are honestly the weakest link in the group right now. Before anyone gets angry at this...remember we're talking about the entertainment business here. People that spend thousands of dollars on bands like mine for single date performance "hear with their eyes" and we need to have dynamic personalities and good looking performers at every position, hers probably most importantly, or the fact is the band will get beat out for the job nearly every time. Without getting too much further into it, everyone in the group, and also the talent agency looking to sign us, is in agreement that replacing her with a stronger performer will make the band the best it can be and lead to the substantial growth steps we're looking to take.

If we keep her on, I basically know for certain that we'll remain stagnant. Which isn't horrible of course...I mean we like playing together and are generally happy overall. But as we our now in our low 30s, we recognize we have maybe 10 "good" years left doing this before we're past our prime. If we're going to take this step up to the next level, now is the time.

But man...in addition to being colleagues and bandmates, everyone in our group genuinely cares about each other and gets along..we're all friends. It's not a Slash and Axl Rose thing where as soon as we leave the stage we hate each other. We travel together (for bookings), hang out together, and have a lot of fun. My bandmates are like my second family. My stomach is tying itself in knots as the time is approaching where we're going to have to let her go...and as the bandleader I'm going to be the one doing it.

It will be very unusual to ask to meet in person for coffee or something like that, so I'm thinking a phone call will be best.

I'm not sure if we should say "we're letting you go at the end of X month" or something like that? Financially I do know she's at least somewhat dependent on our income which I feel absolutely horrible about leaving her without on short notice. I suppose we could give her the option to stay on for a bit so it's not an immediate hit...but how awkward is that going to be on stage after she's been let go. Ugh. Cringe worthy. Either way we have to protect ourselves and prepare a fill in singer in case she bails right away and refuses to perform anymore after she gets the news. I'm just not sure how to go about this.

Any advice on this tough situation would be helpful. I hate that we have to do it. But honestly it's a step that needs to be taken to grow the business and make the band the best it can be.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by Broken Man 1999 »

Is it her looks or stage presence/voice?

I could name lots of members of bands who are butt-ugly, men and women. As well, single performers who wouldn't be judged very highly in the looks department, yet are wildly successful.

Hopefully you all have given more weight to her skills than her looks. Truthfully if it is her talent that is lacking, then that is a legitimate reason to cut her.

Obviously you know her best and can use any metric to let her go, but I would just be sure to let her go for stronger (IMHO) reason than looks, though that is certainly you and your band's prerogative.

Any chance she could remain with the band in another capacity?

Tough choice, and I can see the difficulty you are having.

Best of luck with your seemingly improved musical prospects!

Broken Man 1999
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by mortfree »

So you see absolutely no possibility that this person could turn things around with the right training and coaching?

is the person even aware of their lack of stage presence? or is it more the overall appearance that can't be changed....
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by chisey »

guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 10:57 am I'm thinking a phone call will be best.
Probably a wise move if you value the current arrangement of your facial features. People typically don't respond well to the ol' you're-too-ugly-to-be-useful-to-me-anymore line. Especially from a "friend."

Good luck!
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by btenny »

Given your age I suggest you find a new person before you tell her she is being replaced. Finding a "personable good talent" for a band that is over 30 but not wanting her own band with her name and control will be really hard. I bet you cannot find someone who will fit. Finding and fitting the puzzle pieces together is really hard. That is why so few bands "make it". Schedules and $$ and life get in the way of people wanting to be in a band. All those late night shows and drives to the next show and then all those practices makes it hard to have a life unless you are young and driven.

I watch all kinds of bands every summer 2-3 times a week and talk music a lot. Those bands are in two categories, young 20 something groups trying to make it big and and older people (35-70) just having fun playing music with friends but not too worried about $$ or making it big. The older groups all have main jobs and kids and a outside life. But they are still very good musicians. And they limit the number of times a week they play vs the young kids who want to make it and want to play every night and "tour the country".

So look around carefully... Good Luck.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by dbr »

mortfree wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:24 am So you see absolutely no possibility that this person could turn things around with the right training and coaching?

is the person even aware of their lack of stage presence? or is it more the overall appearance that can't be changed....
I agree. Make sure before you do something you might regret. From here no one can tell the extent of the issue.

I would sure rather have a difficult conversation about things that need to be worked on than just get rid of someone. Even issues of physical appearance can be ameliorated with the right aids regarding grooming, dress, etc. It is also possible some compromises regarding your market would be acceptable. I am having a hard time visualizing what is really the problem.
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guitarguy
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by guitarguy »

bloom2708 wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:15 am Have you discussed her upping the ante on her stage presence? I can't tell if you are going from small town band to not as small small town band or if you are moving record label, full contract, produced image.

This may not be the right forum or right environment to fire someone based on look/stage presence. I would think some more about this.
We are a regional band in the Midwest. Although not a record label, signing exclusively with the talent agency will put more emphasis (more, because we already do focus on this and have an established image and brand) on having a produced image, and we will be under contract.

We have thought about it over a fairly long period of time already...several months. This decision hasn't been taken lightly.

We have discussed her weaknesses and I personally have brought it up that she needs to improve here, and she has flat out not come through. She was a backup singer in her previous group and we hired her to be up front. Unfortunately as valuable as she is, if I'm being frank she is not cut out to be a front personality in a band of our caliber. A local bar band? Sure, she would be fantastic. But we've grown beyond that.

We have mentioned in passing the idea of her sharing the female vocal duties when another female vocalist approached us about joining without us even looking. This would mean her continuing to be a valuable member of the group but just more as a role player...which if I had a choice I would've wanted over any other option. Her response was not very inviting to that idea at all, to say the least.

Someone above mentioned this akin to firing a friend in the workplace. That's *exactly* what this is. We hired her to do a job, hoping that she'd continue to grow and evolve, and she just isn't living up to expectations.
investing1012
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by investing1012 »

Can you post a picture for us to give you solid advice?

This post is not appropriate for this forum. But you’d be a weasel to fire someone on the phone instead of in person. Also if she’s truly a friend then you should give a severance payment.
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guitarguy
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by guitarguy »

btenny wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:29 am Given your age I suggest you find a new person before you tell her she is being replaced. Finding a "personable good talent" for a band that is over 30 but not wanting her own band with her name and control will be really hard. I bet you cannot find someone who will fit.
We will have a line of about 10 female vocalists to audition. I'm very confident we'll find a suitable replacement.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by guitarguy »

investing1012 wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:35 am Can you post a picture for us to give you solid advice?

This post is not appropriate for this forum. But you’d be a weasel to fire someone on the phone instead of in person. Also if she’s truly a friend then you should give a severance payment.
Haha no.

Maybe I should've left out the back story and got advice solely about how to go about firing someone that you need to let go, but don't really want to.

I will heed the advice about the face-to-face meeting, and will consider figuring out some kind of severance package.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by goblue100 »

No chance she could improve her weaknesses enough to keep her on? A professional makeover can do wonders in the looks department. If you(the band)talk to her about your concerns and give her 6 months to do what it takes to improve it might be more fair than just letting her go.
I certainly think she is owed a face to face meeting rather than a phone call.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by chevca »

guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:16 amWe play cover songs that other people wrote, smile put on a good show that makes people have fun and feel good, and make piles of money doing it. We help people dance at weddings, and help corporate companies have fun Christmas parties and ribbon cutting ceremonies. Simple as that.
When I've been at events like this, the looks of the band have little to nothing to do with the fun being had. Folks know it isn't your music and you're just playing other peoples' songs. But, they're good songs and the music gets everyone pumped up... along with the usual booze. :sharebeer

Are you sure you aren't placing too much importance on this one member's looks? She was singing when the band got noticed enough to take on a larger role, right? Why would she and her looks hurt you now? Is it something she can work on.. is she overweight? What if finding a replacement proves difficult and someone has the look, but just doesn't jive with the band?

Either way, if you must let her go, I would imagine this sort of thing happens often in the music world. Do it in person and be honest. That would be my advice. Have you even started looking for a replacement yet, or do you have someone in mind? Or, are people approaching you guys wanting to sing with you? Maybe you're in a better spot than I realize there, but letting her go first seems odd.
NotWhoYouThink
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

If you had an engineer, accountant, or sales rep who was not pulling her weight maybe you would get a more sympathetic response. The job of an entertainer is to entertain, that's pretty clear. If you hired her and can hire a replacement, you can fire her if she isn't working out.

It will hurt, she won't like it. No one likes to work hard and do her best and have it not be good enough. But if you have to do it, do it in person, get it over with, and move on. Ripping the Band-Aid off fast is usually best.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by guitarguy »

mortfree wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:24 am So you see absolutely no possibility that this person could turn things around with the right training and coaching?

is the person even aware of their lack of stage presence? or is it more the overall appearance that can't be changed....
See my post above. No, I don't. And we've tried. Multiple times. Over almost the course of a year.

It's not just her looks. I figured this would yield backlash...I should've just left it out. :annoyed

It's hard to explain if you've never performed on stage, but certain people either have "it" or they don't. Great performers can own the stage and the room, the whole damn building, and they make people feel good when they sing. Our lead male vocalist is like that. Our lead female that we're looking to replace can't keep up. He's in another league.

Anyhow...I'd like to focus on the having to let someone go part. Respectfully, the decision has already been made.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by bloom2708 »

I've never been in a band, but wouldn't it be easier to have a "band meeting" and discuss the change of lead singer?

Make it a "band decision". Not a 1 on 1 type of thing.

Just find the next 22 year old Stevie Nicks and you are golden. :wink:
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chevca
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by chevca »

guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:42 amIt's hard to explain if you've never performed on stage, but certain people either have "it" or they don't. Great performers can own the stage and the room, the whole damn building, and they make people feel good when they sing. Our lead male vocalist is like that. Our lead female that we're looking to replace can't keep up. He's in another league.

Anyhow...I'd like to focus on the having to let someone go part. Respectfully, the decision has already been made.
Well, that makes more sense when you include that part.

I would simply tell her the band is moving in another direction with the female vocals part of things. No need to tell her she stinks and can't own a room.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I've seen plenty of threads on Strat Talk and TDPRI about this situation. Maybe search there for more "band centric" info about letting a member go.

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ofckrupke
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by ofckrupke »

Since the decision has already been made, just know how this ends (and indulge our small advance schadenfreude):

a) before long, the new talent dumps your group for something bigger, and with the worst possible timing. Wariness over the instability paradoxically makes it harder to fill the spot.
b) YOU are the new weakest link.
c) (related to b) bassist Harvey Logan challenges you to a knife fight for leadership of the band.
d) you start losing gigs to the fired member's new band, Hell Hath no Fury.
chisey
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by chisey »

chevca wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:40 am When I've been at events like this, the looks of the band have little to nothing to do with the fun being had. Folks know it isn't your music and you're just playing other peoples' songs. But, they're good songs and the music gets everyone pumped up... along with the usual booze. :sharebeer
This. The people attending these events couldn't care less what you all look like, and most of them couldn't tell A-level talent from C-level talent. I know you've made up your mind that she's got to go, and if this is your career then I can see why you'd take it seriously. I just don't think the end customer cares nearly as much as you do.
guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:42 am Anyhow...I'd like to focus on the having to let someone go part. Respectfully, the decision has already been made.
It's hard to separate what you need to do from the reason you need to do it, and I'd expect her to see it that way too. So don't expect to keep any kind of friendship, IMO. This actually makes it easier . . . you're no longer firing a friend. Just do what's fair in terms of notice/severance.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Seriously, does she also play an instrument? Jen Ledger from Skillet absolutely kills it vocally, but does it from the drum throne. It's a way to keep a great talent while using the frontman (who's also playing bass) and the front lineup (guitarists) to do the physical entertainment.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by Mr.BB »

The Beatles fired their drummer Pete Best, in late 1962, just before they started shooting up to stardom.
I remember in an interview Paul McCartney said the Pete was a better drummer than Ringo, but Ringo made for a better Beatle.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by topper1296 »

Like it or not, looks and stage presence matter a lot if you want to make it in the music industry in today's world. I may have missed it, however is she a backup singer or a lead? Would hiring a stylist and performance coach (yes, this exist) help any? That may work if she is a backup singer.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by mouses »

Two words for you, OP. Mama Cass. Well, two more: Susan Boyle.

She's apparently a great musician, so I would work on her stage presence. Or at the very least, find her another job with your group.

I'm not seeing why you're so determined to get rid of her, when people are suggesting ways that might not be necessary.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by bloom2708 »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:53 am Seriously, does she also play an instrument? Jen Ledger from Skillet absolutely kills it vocally, but does it from the drum throne. It's a way to keep a great talent while using the frontman (who's also playing bass) and the front lineup (guitarists) to do the physical entertainment.
I think if Jen Ledger was fronting his band, the OP would no problems. She has "it".

My grandpa used to say "that is like putting mag wheels on a manure spreader..." He used that in a whole bunch of scenarios. Tough decisions.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by guitarguy »

chevca wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:40 am
guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 11:16 amWe play cover songs that other people wrote, smile put on a good show that makes people have fun and feel good, and make piles of money doing it. We help people dance at weddings, and help corporate companies have fun Christmas parties and ribbon cutting ceremonies. Simple as that.
When I've been at events like this, the looks of the band have little to nothing to do with the fun being had. Folks know it isn't your music and you're just playing other peoples' songs. But, they're good songs and the music gets everyone pumped up... along with the usual booze. :sharebeer

Are you sure you aren't placing too much importance on this one member's looks?
Ha, absolutely. Booze always helps. And this holds true...once you're performing at the event...sure. You've already won.

The issue is getting to that point. Many of our clients...meaning the people who actually decide to hire us...have never and will never see the band perform live until we show up at their event. Instead, someone somewhere in the corp ladder sees us perform at a club or their friends wedding, gets our band name on a list that's shown to the boss, or more often committee that hires the entertainment, and then they choose from a list of 10 bands, all of which have 30-90 seconds of YouTube video to sell themselves. Or in the case going forward, the agency we're working for gets 100 calls a week from companies, wedding clients, etc...sure we have 10 bands we can offer, here's their website info so you can see their videos, and boom...we're back to that same 2 mins to sell ourselves.

At this level all of our competition can sing well. There are certainly different levels and skillsets, but it's not a competition on The Voice TV show. It becomes about being an entertainer...not just a singer. We need to *instantly* in that 30-90 seconds of YouTube video...becoming the smiling faces with the intoxicating energy that oh YES this band will make my event or wedding a night to remember. I want THEM. Our male lead vocalist has this natural ability to make you feel great within the first 10 seconds of watching him sing. We need a female that can compliment that.

And no, it's not ALL about looks, but it plays a big part. All else being equal...or even close to it...the bride and groom or the corporate committee will hire the better looking pretty faces. Every. Single. Time.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by barnaclebob »

I completely understand the looks issue. Its a fact that people respond more positively to attractive people in general, doubly so in the entertainment business. Sure there are exceptions like Suzan Boyle but that doesn't break the rule. In fact Susan Boyle is arguably only well known because she is so objectively ugly.
Last edited by barnaclebob on Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by financeidiot »

I'd reach out to the management/talent company you're working with. I imagine they have some experience with this and could possibly handle it for you. Was listening to a Freakonomics podcast and Tom Petty had his manager deliver bad news to the Heartbreakers on his behalf when it became clear he should be getting paid more than the rest of the band for songwriting. Better to hear bad news from corporate delivered well than bad news from a friend delivered poorly.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by rxtra8 »

The decision has been made.

This is a business; you are the manager/boss; you hire and fire; now it is time to fire; not fun but part of the deal if you are a business.

I would do this in person and possibly add one band member. Simply mention that you have had discussions in the past about issues previously discussed and there has been no resolution. Your and the band feel that things are not working out. That is it Discuss only the issue at hand and not try to sweeten things with telling her that she is great BUT.....

Good luck...as long as this is a "business" then that is how I would proceed.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by John Laurens »

Cass Elliot, Ann Wilson, etc. I would tell the agency off. Your looks, guitar playing, stage presence, and singing must not be good enough to overcome the “deficiencies” you and the collective others see in your band partner.

Regards,
John
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by guitarguy »

John Laurens wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:20 pm Cass Elliot, Ann Wilson, etc. I would tell the agency off. Your looks, guitar playing, stage presence, and singing must not be good enough to overcome the “deficiencies” you and the collective others see in your band partner.

Regards,
John
Ahh the know it all judgemental guy. Thanks for chiming in. Comparing 2 legendary singers, and brilliant songwriters by the way, carrying 10 extra lbs, but having such strong personalities, charisma oozing out of them, and extraordinary voices that their looks didn't matter. How about Hilary Scott and Meghan Trainor while you're at it? Keep em coming. If you honestly believe these are legit comparisons to what we're trying to do then with all due respect, you are ignorant to this subject. Which, by the way, is not the area I'm looking for advice on.

And for the record...I did tell the agency off. A year and a half ago when they wanted me to fire her. That's the only reason we didn't do this deal then.

I thought to myself...let her grow a little. We'll coach her up. We'll progress on our own and show you guys. She can do it!! Just needs time. She can sing...that's most important. The rest will come along. Looks and stage presence won't matter...people will pick us anyway! She'll grow into the lead role. Etc.

Well, all this time has past and it hasn't panned out like I hoped it would. Turns out professional talent agents that make their money on oh...I dunno...evaluating talent...might know a little bit more than me about whether someone will grow or not.

Like I said...this decision hasn't come lightly people.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by Billionaire »

I would kick her out of the band. I'm in a community band and pretty much anybody and everybody is welcome to play with us. We also perform in front of audiences. What I've discovered is that no amount of coaching or advice, no matter how thoughtfully given, will be taken by most (not all) performers. For example, some of our members rely on a sheet music stand. Instead of making eye contact with the audience, they spend the show staring at the sheet music, because the are unable or uninterested in memorizing simple chord progressions/lyrics.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by guitarguy »

financeidiot wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:12 pm I'd reach out to the management/talent company you're working with. I imagine they have some experience with this and could possibly handle it for you. Was listening to a Freakonomics podcast and Tom Petty had his manager deliver bad news to the Heartbreakers on his behalf when it became clear he should be getting paid more than the rest of the band for songwriting. Better to hear bad news from corporate delivered well than bad news from a friend delivered poorly.
Yeah...there was aTom Petty documentary way back when...they talked about it on that too.

But I flat out could never do that to her.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by Sheepdog »

I read your revised post and understand why you are perplexed.
She is always on time and generally comes prepared, is a nice person and a team player, and has a great voice. All important things. However her looks and even more importantly her lack of stage presence are honestly the weakest link in the group right now. Before anyone gets angry at this...remember we're talking about the entertainment business here
I understand that in the entertainment business..looks is #1 or #2.

I have fired persons including managers because of inefficiency.....not because they weren't trying, but because they just didn't have the ability. I have fired professionals because of continued foul language (s..., f.... c...s... etc. These were good people, hard working, but were not appropriate for the positions. It IS HARD to do it sometimes, maybe even personally hurtful. But, you HAVE to do it. 1. Tell them personally and definitely not by phone or text!!. 2. Use words that are not too hurtful. Although i would have to be careful about "looks". That would be difficult. Give her positive comments. "Maybe that you just don't project to our audiences. You fit in so much better in others and you could be successful there." Give her positive comments. In the end, you just have to say "We must go in a different direction" Just be prepared for possible strong emotions from that person. Don't be too hurt if you do get that. You have to do what you have to do.
I understand. I cried once after the person left the office, but I had no regrets.
Last edited by Sheepdog on Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by barnaclebob »

guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:44 pm Yeah...there was aTom Petty documentary way back when...they talked about it on that too.

But I flat out could never do that to her.
You could at least foist the blame onto the talent agency partially. "Everyone in the band has decided to sign with the agency but they would only take us if we agreed to get a different singer" or something like that.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by buccimane »

guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:35 pm and brilliant songwriters by the way, carrying 10 extra lbs
Generous for Mama Cass :shock: but when it comes time for me to hire a band, I will almost certainly go for charisma and looks over musical talent. I could never tell the difference between an outstanding group vs good group.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by KlangFool »

OP,

1) You and your band had decided to kick her out. Your future plan does not include her.

2) If you believe that you can and should smooth her transition to a new work, offer her some form of severance pay.

3) You should include at least one more band member in the meeting. Or else, it may look like it is only you want her out.

If there anything else left?

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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by Mlm »

It's never easy to fire someone. Especially the first time. I know because I have been there, done that.
I would consider the follwing:

Let her know in the presence of another person
If you can offer some severence pay, do it
Rehearse the conversaton with someone ahead of time so that you can stay on point
Don't get into long conversations about why she is not working out.
Set the time and place then do it

Take a deep breath...move on.

Good Luck

Mary
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by NotWhoYouThink »

Firing her isn't ending her life, or even her career. She will have a future without you. Many successful people have been fired, and have bounced back, or have rebounded to places where they were a better fit. You have to be confident in the product you are selling, and you will be more confident with a different singer. She'll survive.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by guitarguy »

barnaclebob wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:50 pm
guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:44 pm Yeah...there was aTom Petty documentary way back when...they talked about it on that too.

But I flat out could never do that to her.
You could at least foist the blame onto the talent agency partially. "Everyone in the band has decided to sign with the agency but they would only take us if we agreed to get a different singer" or something like that.
Ugh...crush her self esteem totally. Which already is some of her issue. But it would give her something of an explanation at least.

I dunno. This sucks.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by guitarguy »

buccimane wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:51 pm
guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:35 pm and brilliant songwriters by the way, carrying 10 extra lbs
Generous for Mama Cass :shock: but when it comes time for me to hire a band, I will almost certainly go for charisma and looks over musical talent. I could never tell the difference between an outstanding group vs good group.
OK true haha...but who cares I dig the Mamas and the Papas!!!
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by jerkstore »

1) Absolutely do it face to face. This is the respectful and decent thing to to do.
2) Don't discuss it with others, or as few as people as possible, before firing that person. No one wants to find out later that everyone else knew before they did. This is also a matter of respect.
3) After you sit down, get it out in the first 30 sec., and offer no explanation. "We have decided to move in a different direction effective immediately, etc."
4) At this stage shock will set in, unless they saw it coming...so be prepared for a potential question or two. Such as "Is there anything I can change?...Can I stay on until you find someone?" Have a swift and clear reply to these basic questions. "No we've decided we need to part ways effective immediately..." DO NOT entertain rehashing the previous warnings this becomes an argument that no one wins from...the decision is made. A simple restatement of the decision and that nothing can be done, it's time to part ways and move on.
5) Offer to shake hands...with a thank you for the hard work they have put in.
6) Be prepared for any possible reaction, and definitely expect that you will no longer be friends.

I have fired dozens of people over the years...most I have cared about and knew I was seriously negatively impacting their lives, and their family's lives.

Go home and remind yourself that you run a business, and every business owner must be willing to make difficult decisions...or ultimately everyone loses.
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Re: I have to fire someone that I care about personally

Post by barnaclebob »

guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 1:01 pm
barnaclebob wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:50 pm
guitarguy wrote: Fri Oct 20, 2017 12:44 pm Yeah...there was aTom Petty documentary way back when...they talked about it on that too.

But I flat out could never do that to her.
You could at least foist the blame onto the talent agency partially. "Everyone in the band has decided to sign with the agency but they would only take us if we agreed to get a different singer" or something like that.
Ugh...crush her self esteem totally. Which already is some of her issue. But it would give her something of an explanation at least.

I dunno. This sucks.
Better to say "they think you suck" rather than "we think you suck"...
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