When Josh Thompson, a copywriter, received an ominous email from management about a meeting that would discuss his position at the company, he believed the writing was on the wall. The company’s human resources department was urging him to bring a “support person” with him, a sign that he was about to be terminated.
“I was working – because I had a job back then – and I got an email and the email said: ‘Hi Josh we’d like to meet with you to discuss some matters in regards to your role,'” said Thompson.
Thompson was working for a company in New Zealand when he received the email. In New Zealand, according to a report by the BBC, employers are legally required to allow employees to bring a “support person” along for termination meetings.
While most people would ask friend or family member to be by their side at a redundancy meeting, Thompson decided to go another direction.
Thompson spent NZ$200 (about $126) and hired “Joe,” a clown.
“Basically, I sensed that this was going to be a redundancy … so I thought I might as well try to make the best out of this situation,” said Thompson.
Joe came along to the meeting, during which he made a few balloon animals, though he was asked to stop when the squeaking plastic sound made it hard for the meeting participants to hear.
“Boy, oh, boy, are they noisy,” said Thompson.
When Thompson officially heard that he was being let go, Joe reacted accordingly.
“He nodded his head along when I received the bad news as if he was also receiving the bad news,” said Thompson.
“Professionalism at its finest, really.”
After going this route, Thompson said he would recommend bringing a support clown if anyone thinks they are about to be terminated.
“If you’ve got family, friends, step mums, step dads, step kids, bring them by all means,” he stated. “But if there’s a clown available, especially Joe, I’d definitely recommend it.”