Paul Downs: Firing People

Paul Downs: Firing People

We’re continuing our series with guest writer, Paul Downs, author of the book Boss Life: Surviving My Own Small Business


The most distressing duty I have, as a business owner, is firing people. I’ve had to do it for a variety of reasons: sometimes the employee’s fault, sometimes mine. It’s always difficult for everyone involved.  When I sat down to write about it in 2012, I decided to explain the mechanics of my process. I had tried to write a broader post about what it feels like to fire someone, but couldn’t make it work in the blog format – the stories are too personal. In my book, Boss Life, I describe two discharges in some detail. The book format works better–I can take the time to describe the complex events involved, and show how the act of firing affected my ability to do my duties as a boss.

But that’s the book, which I hope you read. Here’s more immediate gratification. It’s another two-parter, as the first post elicited a large number of comments.

How I Fire People

The Balance of Power Between Bosses and Workers

Paul Downs

Paul Downs started making custom furniture in 1986, shortly after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in engineering. Downs has only one line on his résumé but he has a wide variety of skills gained in twenty-four years of running his business. His clients range from individuals and small businesses to Fortune 500 companies, all branches of the military, and foreign governments. Downs lives with his wife and three sons outside of Philadelphia.