The Mooch was reportedly removed at the request of John Kelly, the new White House chief of staff
Updated: July 31, 2017
West Wing politics are office politics.
Anthony “Mooch” Scaramucci, the White House’s recently appointed communications director, has been removed from his position after barely a week on the job. According to the New York Times, President Donald Trump fired the ex-Wall Street financier upon the request of retired Gen. John F. Kelly, his newly appointed chief of staff. Scaramucci’s brief tenure will be remembered in large part because of an expletive-laden interview he gave the New Yorker, in which he insulted then-Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and chief strategist Steve Bannon in vulgar terms.
The Mooch’s appointment had prompted staffing upheaval in the White House. Press Secretary Sean Spicer reportedly resigned after refusing to work for Scaramucci and the former Fox Business Network talking head is believed to have also played a big role in Priebus’ departure. It isn’t clear if the Mooch will be given a new White House role or removed altogether, but the man who told the New Yorker he wanted to “fire every one” in the communications department has been canned himself.
While churn is normal in any White House, the turnover is especially rapid in the Trump administration. Other big name departures since January 20 include Michael Flynn, the disgraced former national security advisor, and KT McFarland, Flynn’s deputy and Trump’s nominee for ambassador to Singapore. You might not work for the President, but if you’re in a similar position, management experts say there are steps you can take to make life easier.
One potentially successful move is doubling down on work and spending more time with your boss. “This gives them the impression that they have your undivided loyalty and commitment,” says Roy Cohen, a New York career coach. “Just because the person’s a boss doesn’t mean they’re not human and needy. Sometimes, they just need a little hand-holding” to see that you’re an asset.
Indeed, many companies give employees at risk of being fired sometime to turnaround their performance. “You’re normally notified by HR that you’re being watched, so if you’re in the crosshairs, turn up the juice,” says management expert Debra Benton.
You can also take the Kellyanne Conway route. The president’s counselor has been ubiquitous on cable TV as a surrogate, but restricted her number of appearances a few months ago amid speculation she was being pushed out of the White House. She’s still there today. “She has a flawless sense of timing and knows when to pull back and let others take credit,” says Cohen, author of “The Wall Street Professional’s Survival Guide.” This is useful especially in large organizations, where change is constant. “Another issue may emerge and then someone else becomes the target,” he says.
Another helpful thing to do would be to discretely pave the way out. “Have a good story to tell people that doesn’t sound like you’re undermining the organization,” says Cohen. He recalls a client who was being forced out of a firm telling prospective new employers that he’d been with his old firm for 10 years and felt it was time to move on. “That’s a legitimate explanation.”
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One thing not to do is to become overly anxious. First of all, unless you get a warning from a higher up, you may just be imagining signs. Second, begging for your job after a decision has been made doesn’t work. “Pleading makes you look desperate,” says Cohen. “If the situation at your company is already dysfunctional, you’re just setting up yourself to be abused further.”
And finally, remember that even if you get canned, you can often negotiate your severance package. “There’s usually precedent for some compensation if you get fired,” says Benton, co-author of “The Leadership Mind Switch.” If you’re offered one, remember that you can ask for more. “What are they going to do? Fire you again?” she says.
This story was updated on July 31 2017 following a report of Scaramucci’s removal as White House communications director.
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