Fired For Not Understanding About Archie Bunker

Question:

I’m working for a famous for profit university. Last week in lunch room the TV was on and we were watching an old “All In The Family” show with the Archie Bunker character. Someone wanted to changed the Channel but I asked him to leave it because I like Archie.

The university let me go because of this comment. I was not raised in the United States and did not know Archie is racial. What should I do now?

Signed,

Misunderstood


Answer:

Dear Misunderstood:

I’m sorry you lost your job! I think there must have been something more to it than you simply asking for a TV show to be left on! I hope you can figure out what that is, so you can prevent it in the future.

In a large company, such as the place where you worked, they usually don’t fire someone immediately unless there was a very serious work problem or a very serious racial or sexual comment or action.

It may be that there were other things that were problems and that situation was just one more thing. It could be the way you told the employee to leave the channel on was viewed as excessively rude.

I also wonder if the feeling was that if your coworkers told you a TV show was offensive to them, you should have let them change it, even if you didn’t fully understand why.

Or, perhaps the employees who asked you to change it, had already had some conflicts with you, and it was felt that you purposely were insisting on a show they found offensive.

I think you should either get any written material you were given about your dismissal, or contact HR at your former work, to find out exactly what rules or regulations you violated. Perhaps your former supervisor or manager will talk to you about it.

At this point, there probably is nothing you can do about the fact that you’ve been let go. I’m sorry for that and I know you must feel worried too. Hopefully your skills can be transfered to another job quickly.

If you have friends from your former country who have lived her longer than you, perhaps you can use them as tutors to learn some of the cultural issues related to race, religion, gender, age, and ethnicity here. Or, maybe a friend from your former workplace has an idea about what happened and how you could have prevented it. You may also find some people at a place of worship for your faith, who could provide you with some ideas for learning about these things.

I can imagine how challenging it all is. But, those areas about race, ethnicity, gender, etc. are challenges for everyone in every new culture. And, if you go to other part of the United States, there may be differences as well.

You will need to find another job right away. If you are asked why you were let go, you can honestly say that you had trouble with the style and culture of that large of an organization. Then, you could say that on your own you sought assistance to learn how to be most effective in your work and how to work as effectively as possible with others. Then, make that the truth by talking ot friends, coworkers or a advisor about it.

If you have the time and wish to do so, let us know what happens. I wish you the best of luck in the future!

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina Lewis Rowe

Tina had a thirty-three year career in law enforcement, serving with the Denver Police Department from 1969-1994 and was the Presidential United States Marshal for Colorado from 1994-2002. She provides training to law enforcement organizations and private sector groups and does conference presentations related to leadership, workplace communications and customized topics. Her style is inspirational with humor.