If you’ve ever gotten fired from a job you really cared about, you know how tough the situation can be.
It often blindsides you and leaves a sinking pit feeling in your stomach. One New Zealand man saw the writing on the wall when his bosses at FCB New Zealand sent him an email about discussing his role.
In the email, he was told he had the right to bring someone with him for emotional support. While many people choose a union representative, colleague, or friend for these situations, Joshua Thompson had a different idea. He hired a clown for the occasion.
Josh showed up to the redundancy meeting with his emotional support clown, ready to hear the bad news. As the meeting went on, the clown did his thing, including making balloon animals. An employee at the company who was surprised by the sight of it sent a photo of the bizarre scenario to the New Zealand Herald.
Getting fired can be a pretty surprisingly traumatic situation for people, especially when it’s a job they care about. The anxiety that comes from a meeting about “the future of your role” is about as anxiety-inducing as a “we need to talk” text.
In certain parts of the world, employers figure that you have the right to have someone there with you for emotional support when this happens. It’s often a union representative, colleague, friend, or family member.
One New Zealand man decided to go a different route when he received such an email. Joshua Thompson was working as a copywriter at FCB New Zealand. He started the job in the spring of this year.
Josh got an email saying “bad news, we’re having a meeting to discuss your role” early last week, he explained to the New Zealand Herald. He was entitled to bring a support person, and he knew the perfect one for the job.
Josh decided a clown would be the best person to offer him support at that time. “I thought it’s either a promotion or worse. I thought it’s best to bring in a professional and so I paid $200 and hired a clown,” he explained.
When Josh showed up for the meeting, other people in the office were taken aback. It also didn’t help that the meeting was held in an office walled off by glass. One employee even took a photo as the meeting was going on and sent it to the New Zealand Herald.
As Josh got the bad news, the clown sat there, quietly making balloon animals, including a unicorn and a poodle. “It was rather noisy him making balloon animals so we had to tell him to be quiet from time to time,” Josh added.
According to employee reports, when Josh was handed the redundancy papers, the clown mimed a crying face. “I mean I did get fired, but apart from that, it was all smooth running,” Josh noted. He does think he provided the executives with a little something extra during the experience.
“Basically he was, I assume, one of the best clowns in Auckland — they were getting a free service, they were also getting the entertainment from Joe the Clown,” he explained. He said that his bosses “could see the humorous side of it.”
FCB wouldn’t comment on the bizarre meeting. The company referred to a policy where staff cannot comment on individual employment matters out of respect for the individuals who are involved.
Josh couldn’t believe that the story found its way to the Herald, let alone that it was top news. He shared his disbelief on his Facebook page, along with the article. “A while ago, I got a job. A short while later, I lost it,” he began the post.
“For anyone who hasn’t been fired, what happens is they schedule a serious meeting and advise you to bring a ‘support person’,” he continued. “Sensing the bad news, I decided I’d need the best support person available, so I spent $200 to hire a clown. Today, somehow, it’s the top story in the New Zealand Herald.”
Luckily, Josh, who also fancies himself a stand-up comedian, has landed on his feet. Following the layoff, both he and his creative partner were hired by DDB New Zealand, another popular ad agency.
When Josh’s bosses prepared to sit him down for the meeting, they could never in their wildest dreams have imagined what he had in store for them. Letting someone go is awkward and unfortunate, but everyone at that meeting left with a story they’ll never forget.