It takes a special kind of employee to get fired on his first day at work, but Derek Erdman had what it takes. He started Monday morning as a receptionist at the Seattle-based record label Sub Pop, and by the end of the day he was packing up his things. What makes the story even more interesting is that his weirdly aggressive exit interview was published on Sub Pop’s blog. One choice question from his employer of less than one day: “You failed to mention you were such a dick. Why?”
Erdman’s terrible, horrible, no-good very bad day 1 began with a hand-written letter from a customer named Helen. She had written to Sub Pop to complain about the design of one of its CDs: She was annoyed that the album name wasn’t printed on the disc, and the inserts were “cutesy” and “rambling.” PS, she added, “I enjoyed listening to the CD.”
Erdman wrote a frankly dickish reply that is pretty much exactly what one would expect to get from a cooler-than-thou indie record label. “Thanks a lot for your letter!” he began. ”In regards to all of the pesky, unwanted information on the CD sleeve, we’ve included a handy cover sheet to place over any words that you don’t want to look at while listening.”
You get the idea. Then he posted the original letter and his response on Sub Pop’s blog. (Apparently they gave him carte blanche posting powers on Day 1?)
By the end of the day, he’d been fired. Sub Pop then twisted the knife and interviewed Erdman for the very same blog. An excerpt:
Sub Pop: In your cover letter, you mentioned “numerous” positions in your employment history where you dealt firsthand with customer service. You failed to mention you were such a dick. Why?
Erdman: Honestly, I wasn’t actually trying to be a dick, I was just trying to be helpful. How is it my fault that this person has such poor penmanship? The solution I offered her seemed like a good one to me. I swear I wasn’t being trying to be a dick.
Sub Pop: We were all really excited that you were starting with us here at Sub Pop, none of us thought that this was how our relationship with you would end. How did you see today ending? I mean, were you looking to get fired?
Erdman: No, I was ecstatic to start this week. Everyone was so proud of me for finally finding a job—even my mother called to wish me a good first day. I have no idea how I’m going to tell everybody that I didn’t even last a full day.
The blog post also included the sad photo of Erdman with his boxed-up belongings. Poor guy!
At least that’s how Sub Pop is telling the tale online. Obviously this could be a hoax, a publicity stunt, or inside joke of some sort. If that’s the case, I dunno, well played, Sub Pop, I guess? If it’s not a publicity stunt and Sub Pop really gave its receptionist the ability to post directly to its blog on his first day on the job, punished him for taking the wrong tone, and then somehow got him to agree to a humiliating exit interview before firing him after one infraction — well, then it’s not totally clear why an apparent twerp like Erdman wouldn’t fit right in at the company.
Photo: Sub Pop, who cannot possibly that cruel, right?