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Employee brings ‘emotional support clown’ to redundancy interview

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Being made redundant is typically a sad and sombre affair but one employee in New Zealand has bucked the trend by bringing along a clown to his termination interview.

Joshua Thompson suspected the worst when he was called for a meeting at the Auckland-based advertising company where he worked.

Thompson had been told earlier by his then-employer FCB New Zealand – where he had worked as a copywriter since April – that he could bring a person such as a friend or family member for support in case he receives bad news at the meeting.

“Sensing the bad news,” said the perceptive Thompson, “I decided I’d need the best support person available, so I spent $200 (US$126) to hire a clown,” – adding that he needed the extra emotional support to help him get through the traumatic time.

Photos of the now infamous meeting were sent to The New Zealand Herald, showing three people and the clown sitting around the desk. According to the newspaper, the clown made a number of balloon animals throughout the meeting and “mimed crying when the redundancy paperwork was handed over” to Thompson.

Thompson apparently decided the clown after he received an email from his boss informing him that “we’re having a meeting to discuss your role”.

“I thought it’s either a promotion or worse. I thought it’s best to bring in a professional – I mean I did get fired, but apart from that it was all smooth running,” said Thompson.

“Although it was rather noisy him making balloon animals so we had to tell him to be quiet from time to time,” he added.

“Basically he was, I assume, one of the best clowns in Auckland. They were getting a free service, they were also getting the entertainment from Joe the Clown,” quipped Thompson.

FCB has declined to comment on the matter “out of respect for those involved”.

But in a case of all’s well that ends well, Thompson has since found employment at a rival firm.

Image: The New Zealand Herald

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