When I was at Denny’s in City Line (yep–another one from there–do you begin to see why we called it City ‘Nam?) our district manager made a huge push to “restart” the unit. He hired a fifth manager to staff the place and we hired a slew of employees. We had a huge amount of training going on. We knew that a number of people would drop by the wayside in time, but we didn’t know who.

We had a huge meeting with all the employees in the back room with the district manager (Ed Grocholski) and the general manager, my boss Jim Mendez. They began a talk about new beginnings, and then Jim launched into an explanation that things had changed. Expectations were high. People had the chance to succeed or fail. He finished by summarizing his views: “If you don’t make it, I won’t fire you. You’ll fire yourself.”

Then Grocholski got up. “I want to contrast a point Jim made. He said he wouldn’t fire you, you’d fire yourselves. I’ll be even more clear. I wouldn’t hesitate to fire any one of you at any time. Got it? Good.” Silence. Everyone was in shock.

Maybe you had to be there, but it still makes me chuckle. Jim made sense, but Grocholski was dead on and taking no prisoners. Events proved him right, too. I had to fire a bunch of those people later, earning me the dubious nickname “The Terminator.” Hey, I’m not hard to get along with, but when you pull stuff like the grandmother/girfriend calling out sick for you, you tend to have a problem with me. Grocholski taught me that management isn’t personal–it’s whatever the business requires of you.