Friday, March 13, 2009

Fire Me!

Have you ever wondered what delicious fun you could have if you weren't trying to hang on to your dead-end job, but instead were trying to get your boss you? That's the premise behind my first Casablanca release, coming out in May: Fire Me: A Tale of Scheming, Dreaming and Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places.

It probably seems crazy to think about letting a job go in these economic times, but who hasn't wanted to shout "take this job know" when things at the office become too much to bear? It's a fantasy everyone has probably cherished at one moment or another.

It's a fantasy that Anne Wyatt gets to live when, on one fine spring day in Washington, DC, she goes into work determined to hand in her resignation to her business quality guru boss, Mitch Burnham. She has a spanking new job all lined up thousands of miles away and is eager for a fresh start. But she changes course when she learns that the wild and unpredictable Mitch (who happens to be her former love) is going to lay off an employee by day's end. Anne decides she'd like the severance package that goes with that bad news, thank you very much, so she spends a day engaged in hysterical hijinks trying to earn her boss' wrath.

Anne gets more than she bargained for in this epiphany-filled twenty-four, though. She's lit with the spark of new romance from her co-worker, graphic designer Ken, finds new friendship with competitive colleague Sheila, and ends up reevaluating precisely what it is she wants from life....and love. By the end of this raucous day, she's rethinking everything--from whether she really wants that new job, to why she wasted so much time on Mitch, to how she can salvage a relationship with Ken that's just in the early bloom of love, as soft and sweet as the warm flower-filled spring bursting out in the nation's capital all around her.

Fire Me was a terrific ride as I thought of ways someone would try to get fired. It's not as easy as you'd think--Anne has to come up with activities that immediately make an impact on her boss without giving away her strategy.

The book itself grew out of a conversation I had with a very dear friend who was contemplating whether to stay at her job or leave at the end of an assignment. We started brainstorming things she could do to take the decision out of her hands and place it in her employer's! That is, if she messed up enough, she wouldn't have to be the one leaving. She'd be asked to go.

I've written four teen mysteries (as Libby Sternberg) and one other romance/women's fiction novel, but Fire Me is my first step into real comedy.

I'd love to hear from others on what strategies they would use if they ever found themselves in Anne Wyatt's position--wanting to grab the pink slip. Let me know!


  1. With no subsequent job lined up, I did say "I quit," because of the Boss From Hell. It was one of the sweetest moments in my life.

    Getting a nice severance package would have been nice, but the lack of a good reference wouldn't have been worth it---so I gave 6 weeks' notice and when the boss said I should leave (how DARE I quit on him! - shows you the ego), I walked out with that "severance" package.

    Definitely worth it, though this was many years ago when the economy wasn't in the state it's in.

    The book sounds funny! I can only imagine the things she comes up with!

  2. I love it! I absolutely love it! This sounds like the BEST book.

    I've been self-employed so long, most of my experiences with a boss are lost in the mists of time.

    However I did get fired once. The experience led to some productive soul-searching, and I realized I wasn't good at taking orders and never would be. I was better off working for myself.

    BUT the economy was in a down-turn. Until I could get my ideas off the ground, I had to take the job from hell, and stay there.

    It would have been more fun than I can say to have courted being fired. :-)

  3. I keep hoping they'll fire me, but they never do. *sigh* Guess I'll be working two jobs until someone decides to give me the boot.
    Great premise! Looking forward to reading it!

  4. Thanks for the good wishes. I had a BFH (Boss from Hell) once myself and kept a resignation letter in a file folder in my drawer, at the ready. When he pushed me too far one day, I fetched it, handed it over and probably gave him the surprise of his life!

  5. Hi Libby,
    Welcome to the Casa blog. Your book sounds like a fun read! I've had the same job for almost 14 years, and have been very lucky in the boss department. Prior to that, I had a couple I would've liked to have had the "take this job and shove it" conversation with, but I usually loved the jobs enough that I put up with the crappy bosses.

    I feel very lucky to have my day job, especially since I work full-time from home. It's still fun 14 years and nearly 60 issues of the magazine I edit later.

  6. Welcome, Libby!

    The book sounds fabulous. I can't wait to read it.

    I had the boss from hell too. He ended up firing me because he was going to Poland to start a new democracy. God, could that have been 20 years ago? He went to Poland where they told him thanks, but no thanks, came back, and last I heard he was serving hard time after getting nailed by the SEC for doing funny things with his client's money.

    I had a great time following the story.

  7. Hi Libby! The book sounds wonderful. The last time I had a BFH was in high school, and there wasn't much I could do about it. However, he did get fired about a year after I left, and the schadenfreude was sweet:-)

    Can't wait to see how...and what... your heroine does!

  8. It would be fun to hear BFH stories. Here's one from me: my boss was irritated with someone who dealt with the organization's database and was looking for examples of why this database handler was no good.

    So the boss is looking at a list and complaining when he doesn't see some names on it. I point out to him that the folks he's mentioning are no longer alive and their names were culled from the list. Without missing a beat, he looks up over his glasses and says with obvious disdain, "Oh, so this list only has people who are ALIVE on it."

  9. Hi Libby! Welcome to the blog! You know I've read your book, and I LOVE IT! I think your first real dabble in comedy was well done--it got me through a day of sitting around in a jury duty waiting room!

    As for BFH--well, I haven't had too many bosses yet (I know, I know, I'm the baby around these parts), but I did my fair share of babysitting for mothers who were so overprotective and pushy and INSANE, I could go on for hours. That book The Nanny Diaries? Yeah, I can relate to the girl in them...

  10. Sounds neat! And a lovely counterpoint to the world around us. I never really got to quit - just had kids and took on a different kind of career. But I did work part-time for a while and got outsourced - then I had to train my (cheaper) replacement.

  11. What a great post, Libby!

    I was fired for selling my first two books, but I figure I had plenty of payback. She did me a favor and I know it galled her because when my dh ran into her several years later he told her what I wanted him to, basically to thank her for firing me because I wouldn't be where I was if she hadn't.


  12. Welcome to the blog, Libby!

    Great to have you here and your book sounds like a ton o' fun! Yes, I've definitely had a few BFHs but was never in a position to walk out of the job. :-P It'll be fun to live vicariously by reading your book!


  13. Welcome Libby! We are so happy to have you aboard. Your book idea sounds hilarious! Can't wait to read it.

    I have had my fair share of irritating bosses but nothing too horrible, thank goodness. For me it is more the drama and politics of the medical profession - amen Cheryl? I wouldn't cry for too long if I did not have to deal with that stuff any more!

    Great introductory post!