January 30, 2012

How much should I say about getting fired?

Filed under: How to Say It, Interviewing, Q&A, Readers' Forum

In the January 31, 2012 Ask The Headhunter Newsletter, a reader asks what to say in a job interview — if he got fired previously for doing something wrong:

I was fired for a minor policy violation. How much should I tell prospective employers about it? Everyone I’ve spoken to has agreed that my indiscretion did not warrant being fired, so in interviews do I tell what happened and hope for the best? Or, do I make up a story to cover it up? Should I refuse to speak about it at all? How much can my old employer say, or shouldn’t I use them as a reference even though they’ve agreed to do it?

Here’s the short version of my advice: (For the entire column, you need to subscribe to the free newsletter. Don’t miss another edition!)

My Advice

Do not lie if you’re asked why you left your last job, and do not offer made-up stories to cover up the past. However, I believe the only ethical responsibility you have is to disclose anything that you believe would materially affect your ability to do the job the way the company wants it done.

Why not just ask your old boss what kind of reference will be given? (The policy violation was not “minor.” It was major enough to get you fired. This would be a good time to apologize, if you haven’t done so already.) If you know what the company is saying about you, you’ll know better how to handle it.

You can also research the reference indirectly. This is an aggressive approach, but if you do it without any misrepresentations, I think it’s legit… (This part is only in the newsletter… Don’t miss next week’s edition. Sign up now! It’s free!)

More important, you must line up at least two good references at your old company. Their words will count a lot, even if your ex-boss says something negative.

If you’re asked in an interview, respond candidly. Admit you made a mistake but keep it in context. Demonstrate your self-confidence, and make a commitment.

How to Say It
“My references will tell you I’m very good at my work and I’m trustworthy. You’re getting a talented, dedicated, hard-working employee who has learned a lesson, rather than someone who has yet to make a mistake. I won’t let you down.”

That last sentence is a very powerful commitment. You must live up to it.

Some companies will decline to hire you. Others will hire you based on what they see and hear. Then it’s up to you to prove they made a good choice.

Have you ever been fired? How did you deal with the facts in a job interview? Did it even come up? If you’re an employer, have you ever hired someone who was fired for doing something wrong? Why did you take a chance on the person? How did it work out?

What advice would you give about the situation in today’s Q&A?

: :

35 Comments on “How much should I say about getting fired?”
By Kerry
January 31, 2012 at 4:02 am

Even if your previpus company or direct manager are not able to provide a glowing reference, if you have worked well with fellow colleagues, there will be others who are prepared to give a personal reference.

By Henry
January 31, 2012 at 6:09 am

It’s going to be a problem, no matter what. Even if you were fired (e.g., “laid off”) for reasons unrelated to performance, hiring managers will infer that there were other hidden reasons for letting you go, thus putting you immediately at a disadvantage. It’s the reason why a common first or second question is, “Why did you leave ?”.

Unfortunately, you may find even your friendliest former coworkers are reluctant to issue any kind of tangible reference in this environment. I know some firms enforce their bans on any kind of feedback on a former employee (good or bad) with implied threats.

I think Mr. Corcodilos’ comments are your best bet generally. However, if it was for cause and there’s a way you can turn it into an example of something you’ve honestly learned from, redemption is something a hiring manager can relate to.

Finally, how you find your next job could affect how your situation is perceived. If you’re just responding to a posted ad along with everyone else, it will hurt more than if you find the job through personal references or your own prospecting. A personal reference obviously helps counter the negative impression and hiring managers tend to be impressed with knowledgeable, proactive folks who find them before they have to wade through wads of resumes.

By John Zabrenski
January 31, 2012 at 7:52 am

I have to disagree with Henry’s first statement.
There is no shame in being laid off for economic reasons. Happens all the time in this depressed economy. A vice president I interviewed with stated this when I was searching for a new position after being released from my old job in the first wave of layoffs that ultimately ended up with a 50% reduction of personnel.
Only, an ignorant hiring manager would discriminate against someone who as let go because business was slow.

By Nick Corcodilos
January 31, 2012 at 9:58 am

@Henry: Your last point is a very important one. A person who’s been fired needs to take assertive steps — more assertive than sending in a resume. Get someone to recommend you to the employer before you make your approach. Get the kind of personal recommendation that flies in the face of your getting fired. This speaks volumes to the new employer.

By Peter
January 31, 2012 at 10:14 am

I believe honesty is the best policy. You’re starting a new relationship, and it’s best not to start it with a lie. Your ethics communicate a lot about you. Whether they find out or not, its knowing that you lied to get where you are that matters.

Many, many years ago, I was fired for tardiness. Driving home, I thought to myself, “I should be upset about this”. The truth is, I wasn’t challenged by my management position. Even though I typically worked beyond my scheduled hours (Retail), my work ethic and dedication was not a consideration for Management. I understood their reasons and felt no ill will towards them. Turns out it was the best thing that could have happened to me. I got an interview with another company that day (Friday) through a friend and ended up getting hired the following Monday for more money as regular staff. I’ve realized things happen for a reason and its better if you try to look as things in a positive way. Now I’m out of retail and work for a boss who gets me. He knows I’ll get the job done and doesn’t have an issue if I’m running late in the A.M., as I’m not a clock watcher and often work beyond 5 to make sure my work is completed on time. I love what I do and I count myself very fortunate.

This is your opportunity to focus on getting a job that you enjoy and offers future growth opportunities.

Best wishes on your career and stay positive.

By Bill
January 31, 2012 at 10:36 am

As someone who was fired many years ago for cause, I have to say that sticking one’s head in the sand and hoping for the best does not work. In my subsequent job search, I was repeatedly courted, and then dropped somewhere in the process of my employment verification. Don’t be naive to think that only your dates of employment and salary information are the only information shared. My advice is the same as Nicks; apologize to your former boss, not only to blunt his reference, but because he deserves your apology for breaking his trust. Your old boss wanted you gone, but unless he’s vindictive, his goal isn’t to make you suffer forever. And get some positive references from former co-workers inside the company to speak to your abilities.

By Steve Amoia
January 31, 2012 at 10:41 am

The fired reader could always cite Billy Martin of the New York Yankees. He was fired and rehired five times by George Steinbrenner. One of those sacks came for a fight with a marshmallow salesman. Martin also was traded by the Yankess as a player after a fight at a night club. I would imagine that in both cases, fighting/improper conduct was a violation of his contract.

http://www.todayinbaseball.com/cms/102810-martin

Actually, the sports analogy for this issue might be good to raise depending upon the circumstances of the firing. Try to name one professional coach who never found work again after being fired? There are not many.

By Chris Walker
January 31, 2012 at 11:06 am

When you are one of hundreds (or thousands) in the candidate pool for a posted position, you are not involved in a hiring process. You are involved in an elimination process. HR isn’t thinking about hiring until the very end when they have narrowed the field to two or three. Until then, they are focused on eliminating people. They will jump at any easy eliminator a candidate offers (fired, felony, unemployed, made to much money or any wild idea they can come up with). This is why it is so important to focus one’s job search on specific companies and hiring managers rather than rely on postings. If I have met you and talked to you, I am much more likely to overlook some trivial shortcoming that would be an eliminator in the game of resume roulette.

Regarding how to talk about a termination, we have all seen many court room dramas where the witness swears to tell ‘the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth’. Here we want to leave out the middle one. Tell the truth and nothing but the truth, however all the grisly details aren’t required.

By Larry Kaplan
January 31, 2012 at 11:22 am

I have been fired twice, but neither time for cause. In both cases, I was the executive director of a non-profit and fired by the board of directors because they wanted a change in leadership. People who are familiar with my field understand that this happens often, and does not mean that I am incompetent, but simply that there were differences in approach. Therefore, I am pretty open about it all.

By How to handle being fired in your next interview?
January 31, 2012 at 11:43 am

[...] It was major enough to get you fired. This would be a good time to apologize, if you (…read more on his blog) Filed Under: Applicant Resources, News & [...]

By Nick Corcodilos
January 31, 2012 at 12:42 pm

I’m so glad to see people advocate making a clear apology. But don’t do it “to get by.” Say it and mean it. Then stop. Don’t offer explanations and rationalizations, which erase the apology.

We see it in our politicians. They do something stupid, bad, or wrong — and they offer a carefully-crafted statement that is no apology at all. It’s an explanation wrapped in a rationalization — but the message is clear: Heh-heh, I’m not really apologizing, I’m just don’t what I need to, to get you off my back.

Apologize with grace. Keep it short. Make it honest. Then don’t make the same mistake again.

By EDR
January 31, 2012 at 12:50 pm

“If your former employer says things to intentionally hurt your ability to earn a living, you need to talk to a lawyer.”

Anyone been in this position? Did you talk to a lawyer? Try to fix it yourself? What was the outcome?

By Amy
January 31, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I’d be interested in a column about how to handle getting fired for no legitimate cause.

Example 1, I was fired as a way for him to get even with my Significant Other. I know this because I was fired by the Managing Director, who never worked directly with me, without the knowledge or consent of my immediate supervisor, who worked with me closely and told me after she found out that she didn’t approve of the firing. Also because he phoned said SO, who worked at a different company in another city over an hour away, to let him know that he’d fired me minutes after it was done.

This was in my early-20s so I handled it by being honest, naively believing that other people valued honesty as much as I did. This didn’t serve me very well. :)

Example 2, I was fired for going to chemotherapy. No lawsuit because they were a start-up and had too few employees to fall under FMLA — though I don’t suppose a lawsuit would have helped me in a job search, if I’d been open about it. They were fully informed of my diagnosis, treatment, prognosis, and potential pitfalls prior to starting chemo (hard to hide something like that anyway). At that time I was informed that I “wouldn’t be penalized for being sick.” A couple months later I was told I wasn’t spending enough time in the office — chemo was one day every other week, but I was otherwise at work as scheduled, although certainly not as up to snuff as when I was healthy, which I’d told them to expect — and fired.

That I handled by being vague: “That job ended due to a family emergency.” I still don’t have any good ideas for handling a revenge-firing, though, nor firings with no reason given.

By Nick Corcodilos
January 31, 2012 at 4:54 pm

@Amy: Whew. Those are two tough stories. Keep in mind what the objective is: not to deal with getting fired, but with getting the next job. I think it’s all about offsetting negative comments and references. Offsetting means having alternate, positive references. Sometimes it helps to have someone who knows the players who caused the problem – and deftly “putting them to bed” when talking to the prospective employer.

I once placed a candidate whose former boss viewed anyone who quit as a traitor. The boss had nothing but venom for people who no longer worked for him. He was the only bad reference in the bunch. I had no idea what was really going on. When I checked another of the candidate’s references — someone who also knew the former boss — I figured it out. This reference told my client that the candidate was a great worker, etc. Then he added this gem: “By the way. I know the candidate used to work for Boss X. Have you talked to Boss X yet? No? Well when you do, put on your flak jacket. He hates everyone who ever worked for him. The guy is a bit psycho. Don’t be surprised at anything he says. But it won’t be positive.”

My client talked to Boss X. Boss X trashed the candidate. My client hired the candidate.

Sometimes you have to work a bit harder to get the whole story out.

By Don Harkness
January 31, 2012 at 9:47 pm

Honesty is the best policy. Get calmly on the table. Treat it as a piece of relevant history, present the facts and move on. As Nick said this isn’t about why you got terminated, but what you can deliver.
You don’t want to blindside anyone. If you get traction, you’re gaining advocates, most likely the hiring manager, who in turn works for someone. They need to know what they are dealing with, as they know their jungle way better than you and will know how to play it. If it jumps out of the woodwork later, as it most likely will, you’ve set you & them up for a fall. It’s something akin to withholding relevant info from your attorney. They plan a strategy based on what they know, & if they don’t know everything, the strategy is toast.
I’ve been laid off, and I’ve been fired under the guise of a layoff. Nothing too ugly.
But as a recruiter I’ve run across it several times. The last was almost word for word as the person said who reached out…for something rather minor in his view, but serious enough to get him immediately terminated. How can that reconcile. Union shop, and he did something that hit into a zero tolerance space..in this case opened a sealed electrical panel. He was with the company for decades. I’m sure his boss did not want to fire him. But literally had to. He was up front about it, calm, understood the company’s position. I moved him forward. He didn’t get hired because he wasn’t a cultural fit. No one had a problem with his termination.
If you want a more character building exercise, try job hunting when you worked for a guy/company the feds shut down, tossing your former boss in jail..all very public. His hands were clean as he got out as soon as he figured out it was a dirty operation. Nevertheless, people do believe where there’s smoke there’s fire. Wisely, one of his references was the FBI agent in charge of the bust. He still struggled and eventually said the heck with it and started his own business & is doing well.
Sorry for the long winded/cursored contribution, the sum of which is getting terminated for cause isn’t the end of the world, unless you make it the end of the world.

By Kate
January 31, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Some good ideas here for handling difficulty separations.

I found though that if the employment was short-lived (under 6 months), best to just leave the job off the resume if you’re certain that you will not get a good reference. Otherwise you waste time banging your head against the wall trying to find ways to counter the damage. One of my former bosses at a large law firm would trash his former employees when called for a reference, making it almost impossible for them to get a new job. After five months in the position there, it was clear it was not a good match. We agreed to terminate the relationship.

After losing several very good job opportunities over the next few months, it became clear to me what the problem was. I decided to take control from that firm over my fate by removing the job from my work history.

There was no point in suing in the firm; it had a superior labor & employment practice.

A poisoned pool spills only poison.

By Dave
February 1, 2012 at 10:47 am

I’m going to go with the “Me Too!” post.

You need to be honest and get to the point. You need to own up to the fact that you where fired and what you may have done wrong. And what you have learned from the ordeal.

By kathleen
February 1, 2012 at 2:34 pm

Many years ago, I was fired when a new, inexperienced manager took over. We totally butted heads. Also I was arrogant.

In interviews, this was what I told the interviewer, and added that I hoped I had learned some humility. I never felt it hurt my chances in the interview.

By L.T.
February 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm

@EDR: I worked for a employer for about a year who (a) enjoyed firing people, and (b) relished giving bad references so that they’d “never work again”. I couldn’t tell you to this day why I was let go (the explanation was made by a PhD in Philosophy who had retired from the local college and was on the board), but together they had skipped over the part in my resume where I had summarized some extensive paralegal experience.

The Rolodex was not too dusty, and pretty soon the law firm of Dewey, Cheatum & Howe, was calling for a reference. Shortly, Mr. Howe’s notice of representation was on his fax machine, and amazingly thereafter anyone who called was given a “name, rank and period of service” reference.

Eventually (shortly) they dropped off the work history, which if you network properly, isn’t even required.

@Amy: You needed a lawyer for number one. You won’t get the job back, you may not see any compensation, but you will make a point that you are not to be trifled with, and it will be great fun watching people squirm in depositions. (High quality entertainment if there ever was any.)

@Steve Amoia: Only one disagreement with your sports analogy. In the sports world, you are dealing with professionals who have focus and goals. Only rarely so in business, and generally not in anyone who uses HR to screen and eliminate candidates.

By Karsten
February 2, 2012 at 4:18 pm

I guess it depends on why one is fired. Layoff – bad luck happens to everyone. For cause – convince prospective employrer one has learned the lesson. Not for cause, or because of some stupid, irrelevant regulation in the Big HR Book – may be time to sue the previous employer? However, how to explain to a new employer that one disagrees with the termination, without bashing the previous comapny too much?

By marybeth
February 2, 2012 at 6:55 pm

Yes, honesty is the best, and then emphasize that you LEARNED from the experience and won’t do it (what got you fired) again.

But sometimes what “cause” is to employers varies. Cause might be stealing/embezzlement, might be using company information for personal gain, might be having an affair with a co-worker, might be doing drugs, coming in drunk (or not coming in at all). Or cause might be hanging your coat on the outside of your cubicle, laughing when your boss tells you that another employee made a complaint with HR about you for parking next to him in the parking lot (you both drive the same make, model, and color car, and it confuses him when you park next to him), it might be refusing to obey your boss when she denied you a day off to go to your father’s funeral.

Many states are at-will employment states, which means that your employer can fire you for any reason or no reason (except for being African-American). And it means you can quit for any reason or no reason. It means your boss can fire you because he has decided that he doesn’t want “inherited” staff (as one of my former bosses did to all of us), because you have blue eyes and he hates blue-eyed people because the girl of his dreams has blue eyes and she keeps turning down his offers to go on dates. There are other laws on the books that offer some protection to other groups (women, religion, ethnic groups, age, pregnancy), but most employers are very sophisticated these days and can get rid of you while making it look like you’re incompetent or stupid. Sometimes the employee is incompetent, and sometimes the employer wants to get of the employee but legal tells him not to tell the employee that she’s being fired because she’s pregnant, or because he’s Jewish. Employer will often move employee into a new position, provide no training, tell other employees not to help, then let employee fail. Or will make the environment so hostile that the employee may decide to quit. Courts are very pro-business and pretty much let employers do whatever they want….provided that the employer isn’t being stupid (like refusing to hire African-Americans because of their race) about it.

@Amy: oy vey. I’m so sorry. I don’t think there’s anything you could have done about the first one, especially if you worked in an at-will state. Re the second one, that’s terrible how you were treated, but probably not illegal (back to the at-will employment). People undergoing treatment for cancer are not a constitutionally-recognized protected class (like African-Americans), so you probably wouldn’t have had any recourse.

I remember something that my business law professor in college told my class: the purpose and only, sole purpose of a business is to make as much money as possible for its owners. Repeat as often as necessary. It is about making money for the owners. It does not have to serve a greater good (do good things for the community). It does not have to provide a decent salary or benefits for its employees. It must make money for the owners. This idea, taken to its next step, would find that how the start-up treated you was perfectly fine, perfectly appropriate, and to be commended. They had determined that you were not doing your job (whatever it was) that contributed to the purpose of the business, which is to make money for its owners, so they fired you. Logic, compassion, or empathy have no role in business. Anyone who is not producing, making money for the owners is out. That means someone who works for a company for 30 years but who can be replaced by a machine, by someone making 1 rupee per month in India, or by a kid making significantly less than you will be replaced because the money not spent on your salary represents a greater profit for the owners.

I remember being appalled at the time, as were most of my classmates. We were told that this is business, and business doesn’t have to be fair, it has to make money for the owners. If you want justice or to make a difference, work for a non-profit or the gov’t.

@Steve Amoia: I’m not sure I entirely agree with your sports analogy either. Coaches, particularly at the professional (e.g., NFL, NBA, etc.) level are not a common commodity. Even coaches who have been fired often find work again easily because they probably had winning seasons prior to the latest (bad) season. There’s a track record of winning seasons, and you can always think that the coach, given a different team, different owner and manager, healthier team, will have a better season.

The question I have is how do you handle this issue if the “cause” is so niggling, so stupid? True, the boss didn’t think so, but let’s say that you got fired for going to your father’s funeral after your boss denied your request to have the day off (and yes, you told her that your father died, that his funeral was on Wednesday, and you need to take Wednesday off). You showed her proof (death certificate). You don’t want to trash your former employer/boss (knowing this is career/job suicide). So when you’re asked why you were fired, how do you handle it?

It’s along the lines of Amy’s second job example (fired for undergoing chemo/taking a day off every other week). Dumb reason to fire someone, but in the employer’s eyes, serious cause enough.

By Dave
February 3, 2012 at 1:07 pm

@marybeth –

Two points:

I would agree that the primary reason for business is to make money. But, that entails empowering your employees (especially in “services”) and keeping your clients happy. If you’re firing employees over “little” stuff, morale will suffer, nothing will get done and clients suffer.

Regarding your examples…

Amy should tell them she had breast cancer and had to take time off and the company wasn’t covered under FMLA (or other applicable laws). I think any decent human being can identify with her situation. If they can’t – it goes back to the question – are they worth working for in the first place?

In your death example, again I would tell the truth and have all your documentation in order.

I think in both these instances, you need to be prepared to show you can do the work and be trusted. Also, you should have vetted references who know the situation and your work ethic refer you. It also helps to bypass HR/run of the mill recruiters/HH’s.

By marybeth
February 4, 2012 at 6:26 pm

@dave:

Oh, I agree with you 100%. Amy was not treated decently, as a human being. I was thinking the same thing–any company, even a start-up, and start-ups often have a reputation for being squirrely, that treated her that way would have me seriously thinking about what kind of people I was working for. If they did it to her, they’d do it to me, and to anyone else, and shows a lack of understanding and lack of compassion for others.

And yes, common sense says that if you’re the kind of employer who fires people over little things, or who doesn’t want to make even reasonable accommodations (such as Amy’s being absent one day every other week), then morale will suffer and clients suffer in the long run. I question whether companies even think that far down the road.

Some companies and people do dumb things, like treat good employees badly. Sometimes, as Nick noted in his response to this week’s question, it is the employee’s fault, and he just has to own up to it, prove that he learned from the mistake, and move on. Sometimes, “cause” is so ridiculous, and it isn’t the employee’s fault (Amy is a good example). I don’t think Amy has a good cause with either case to bring to a lawyer; yes, the employers in both cases didn’t treat her fairly, but they’re not required to be fair. And lots of employers will just look at the bottom line (making money) and not even think about human beings working for them who are ensuring that they make those profits for the owners.

@Amy: I hope that you found a better job with more humane bosses.

By Crystal
February 7, 2012 at 6:10 pm

I’m going to throw in my 2¢. At one job I only lasted 3 months due to a psychotic boss. My choice was to be fired or resign. What did I do wrong? She told me she was ‘threatened’ by me (job wise not physically). I was never interested in her job but she has a few mental problems. So when it comes to a job interview, I lie about why I left. I make up something
innocuous; not a good fit, etc. When you work in an at-will state, you’re at the mercy of your boss.

By J_Mo
February 9, 2012 at 5:14 pm

Here’s my situation: I have not been fired–this question is more about the references piece.

What do you do if you do not feel you can trust your supervisors? I work under two supervisors who are TERRIBLE communicators, who have decided that I’m stupid, and who have decided that I’m wrong, no matter what I do.

I am looking for a job, and I am putting down a DIFFERENT supervisor (lead admin) as my work reference. I have also secured one reference from a coworker and am thinking about who else I can ask.

…But what do you do? People are crazy.

By Michelle
December 11, 2012 at 1:21 pm

I’ve never been terminated for cause, but I have hired people who were. I would say the most important thing to remember is this: as with most situations, if you fail to provide sufficient detail, many people will assume the worst. If someone told me they were terminated for a “policy violation” but declined to provide details, I would think embezzlement, sexual harassment, confidential information disclosure, etc. Maybe the letter-writer’s violation was much less serious than that, but failing to specify leaves things very open to interpretation. There is, of course, such a thing as too much detail, but there is also such a thing as too little. I would rather hear, “I was let go for violating company policies for securing equipment. Here is what I learned from that: (x, y, z).” If I don’t hear what the violation was, it’s going to be hard for me to get the worst-case scenarios out of my head, and I don’t think I’m alone in that.

By Theodore
December 11, 2012 at 6:04 pm

Crystal

I had a similar experience. Me and all of my fellow managers were far more competent and qualified than our Director, who was terrified of being shown up. Anyone who demonstrated any degree of success was quickly sabotaged and shown the door. In my case, the department I managed had grown 400% in the 2 years I was in charge. When we’d maxed out productivity per employee and needed to increase staff to meet demand, my boss stalled on hiring approvals, until our metrics began to suffer and I was fired. As soon as I was gone, I learned from former co-workers still there that he’d subsequently approved a doubling of staff.

Glad I’m not there anymore, but my explanation to future prospects is simply that my Director wanted to install one of his preferred managers in my role, which is true. The part I leave out is that the new manager was one that he did not feel threatened by.

By HDN
December 11, 2012 at 8:30 pm

I tend to agree with the honesty approach, but I’m wondering when to describe.

Here’s the brief situation:
I was informed with ample notice of my contract not being renewed and have been asked not to work while finishing out my contract. I have NOT been fired, and there isn’t even any clear cause for my dismissal; it’s much more of an ideological shift at my place of employment.

My problem lies in the fact that each job I apply for has probably 200 highly qualified candidates applying. There will then be a short list of 10-15, and 3 or 4 finalists invited for more through interviews.

I have not described my situation in the application (I am still an employee and have not been fired, of course), but I do feel like I should come clean at some point–I’m just trying to decide when: after preliminary interviews? at the final interview? Or do I try to avoid the topic at all cost? I don’t want to be dismissed from the first round because of a red flag, but I don’t want to get to the final stages and then have potential employers feel as if I’m breaking their trust.

Thoughts?

By Stu Heinecke
December 11, 2012 at 8:42 pm

Nick, I’m not looking for a job, nor am I contending with a firing in my background. But I found this article and took a look, thinking I would recommend it to a friend who has had such troubles recently. I just want to compliment you for your article and the commenters for their tremendously insightful input. Needless to say, I am sending the link to my friend as we speak. Excellent blog.

By suzie
March 12, 2013 at 12:14 pm

I was fired after 15 years for doing a trivial thing, the mgr. said i put 2 days extra on some cups of cut fruit. I really only put the correct amount but the pt person had put to few days. He and the company are trying to get rid of all ft employees. So they used this to twist things around. I even told him that the men in another dept did the same thing ,and it is a logical thing for a dept. manager to do.

So now i am in a difficult position. I am not sure how to handle this but your site has given me some insight. To be frank i am at an age where it is hard to go to a new career. So i am working pt at my own web store. But this is not going to be enough so i will start looking soon.

As a side point that manager who got me fired is now gone from that company. He left right after i filed a claim with the eeoc. I think they told him he would have to leave or be fired.

By don
March 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm

@suzie. I don’t understand the details of your job & exactly the so-called infraction.
If after 15 years you were fired for something trivial then likely that was just an excuse for another agenda. I always advise people who were terminated to simply tell the truth.
In seeking other jobs I wouldn’t dive that far down in explaining what happened without the business context.
The “business truth”/context appears to be a change in their business model to maximizing part time staff over full time staff and you were caught up in the change. You don’t have to explain to another business, particularly to HR types that a movement in that direction is a cost cutting adventure, because with part timers they trim their benefits costs dramatically. They’ll get the picture. In your case you can’t afford a part time job. That’s what sounds like the truth to me anyway.
The offense you cite sounds contrived, petty,& silly and the kind of thing you don’t even write someone up for, just talk to someone about it. If you provide the context it will sound exactly that way, especially in light of 15 years service. They’ll get the picture.
As to the EEOC complaint, you’ve no need to dive that deep.

By FMLA Texas
May 21, 2014 at 12:11 pm

The obvious issue here is that if you are putting your prior employer as a reference or somebody who still works there as a personal reference then a fib about why you left might be easily discovered. There is an art to spinning why you were let go from a job.

By Allan Reich
October 7, 2014 at 8:28 am

If you think it was not your fault then try to convince employers that why you did that policy violation? What was the reason or what your situation was in doing so? My be you are able to convince them. Best of luck.
New York Workers Compensation

By Daisy Mos
October 23, 2014 at 9:56 pm

I recently lied to my employer. My husband was diagnosed with cancer at the beginning of this year. He has had many complications following surgery and then, just as we thought it was all over, the doctors told us they didn’t get it all, so he’d have to start radiation. I’ve missed work due to his health, obviously. Then this July, I had a ruptured appendix and spent 9 days in the hospital and was off work over 2 months. I was back to work 2 weeks or so but had to call in sick many of those days due to weakness, etc. I forgot to mention that with all this stress, I lost nearly 40 lbs. It’s taken its toll on me physically but I never felt I was depressed. Last week I was driving in to work and felt I was losing my mind. On the spur of the moment, I called in to work and said I’d been in a car accident, as I was so afraid to tell them of my declining mental state. My supervisor called me a few days later, and I could tell she felt I had lied about the car accident. When she asked me about it, I stupidly doubled down and told her I had indeed been in a car accident. Then she stated she wanted a police report. I knew I was screwed. The next day I attempted suicide and ended up in the hospital. When I saw my doctor today, he gave me a note for the days I’d been gone, but he obviously couldn’t cover my lie about the accident. I know when I go back to work, my supervisor will be asking for that police report. Do I tell her that as part of my declining mental state and attempted suicide, I lied about the accident because I was too embarrassed to tell her the truth? And if I get fired for this, how do I deal with potential employers and applications? What do I say? I’m so scared thinking about the future and losing my job. I could use some advice. By the way, I’m a nurse and I know no employer takes kindly to a liar. And if I tell the truth, I doubt they’ll want an employee who was mentally unstable at one point. Thank you for whatever advice you can give me.

By Nick Corcodilos
October 24, 2014 at 10:25 am

@Daisy Mos: This is far beyond advice about your job. I’m very sorry to hear about your string of bad experiences – I hope things improve for you soon. Please: Go see a certified counselor or therapist who can help you work through this difficult time. As a nurse, I’m sure you understand how important this is. Your mind and soul deserve just as much health care as your body. I know your job is important, but your success at work depends on working out the issues that are troubling you. A health care provider will give you what you need to deal with your overall situation much better than I can. I wish you the best.

Post a comment