Book review: "Creative Firing" by Chester Burger

Posted on January 17, 2010

In the current state of the U.S. economy, it's pretty difficult to avoid being laid off, fired or, for whatever reason, not having a job for a certain period of time. True, sometimes the employee is entirely to blame for his/her predicament, but more often than that, a company is trying to consolidate, move offices or, in general, save money against the bottom line. Many times, those doing the actual firing and layoffs have to make decisions they would prefer to ignore, yet they have no choice.

Enter Chester Burger's book "Creative Firing: Why Management Firings Happen - and How to Reduce Them." This book runs through the gamut of upper management decisions and how to maintain some control and honor throughout the endeavor. I've read many a business book, and even though this book was published in 1972, nearly every principle still applies.

It's amazing to me how much waste exists in the corporate world, and a lot of it is there because managers don't want to be the bad guys and get rid of people. Instead, they ignore the problem, sometimes by moving the person to a different department, but other times, just doing nothing. I have met very few people in various jobs that are completely worthless, and nearly always, a person could be moved to a position to be reasonably productive. I guess when you're stuck in a huge company, though, not enough time is spent on individuals.

At least "Creative Firing" gives us some perspective from the other side of the desk … not that it makes anyone's predicament of being out of a job any better.