Access Terminated. Login Denied. Was I Just Fired?

With a few extra hours this week, I tried to squeeze in some extra contract work. I logged in to find something interesting.


Did I forget my password? I clicked the reset password button. A few minutes later an email arrived.

“Your Access Has Been Revoked”


Time for the truth. My headline is a bit over dramatic. I joined this company two weeks ago. My plan was to take on some small writing jobs when my schedule allowed. Yesterday, I logged in to grab my first gig.

I checked a few times before but found nothing worthwhile. Maybe that’s why they banned me? Did I break a sacred rule without knowing it? Did they change their business model? Maybe they changed their minds. Who knows.

Fast forward twenty-four hours later. I get an email from the guy in charge. Let’s call him Wally. It’s from his email address. The tone of it suggests an auto-generated email. Perhaps they do that on purpose. The coldness dissuades recipients from responding. It made me curious.

I replied to his email. I never did any work for this company. Still, I was curious. What happened? A part of me wants this to be something nefarious. Those experiences make for great stories.

I never got a response. Oh well. I will live with the mystery. Life goes on.

Don’t Be “That Guy”

Here’s the key lesson in this fiasco.

Don’t be That Guy. Don’t be Wally.

You know the type. They hide behind the veil of email. They dress bad news in corporate like statements. When you ask why, they deny you the courtesy of an explanation.

For me, this turned into an interesting story to write about.

What bothers me about it is this.

Is this how they treat someone who depends on this business for their livelihood?

Imagine it’s Sunday night. You get a cold email stating:

“Sorry. Sometimes things don’t work out. Your access to our system is revoked. Good luck.”

I should go easier on Wally. Maybe he has a different set of email responders for folks with a longer history.

I hate to pick on Wally. He's not the only one who exploits technology to deliver bad news.

Don’t Be Like Sara

A few weeks ago I received an email. This email came from Sara. That’s not her real name of course. I do business with her company. She runs the show.

She sent more of a childish email.

“Tim has been terminated.”

She listed the accusations causing his dismissal. Note the word accusation. She wrote:

“In the interest of transparency, we are telling clients the reason for his dismissal.”

Ah, transparency. The new tool to justify public humiliation. I wonder if Tim has legal recourse if the accusations prove false.

Here’s The Takeaway

Don’t be like Wally and Sara. Treat others with dignity and respect. Basic rules of human coexistence do not evaporate in business settings.

Someday Wally and Sara will be on the other side of things. That’s how life works. I hope their executioner treats them with respect and dignity as he delivers his blow.

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