The Bright Side of Getting Fired
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People get fired from their jobs for a lot of reasons, such as a
company struggling in today's economy, poor job performance, corporate
politics, or even petty jealousies. Being fired is a real shot to the
ego regardless of the reason. The first question one asks is, "Why?"
Unfortunately, we don't always get the answer, maybe because companies
are afraid of possible litigation resulting from the dismissal or they
believe they are trying to let the worker down easily. Consequently,
employees are dumbfounded as to why they were fired or are left with a
fabricated excuse, which, to me, can be more damaging than the actual
Years ago, my father had to fire
someone who had risen above his level of competency (aka "The Peter
Principle"). He pulled the man aside, explained what he had done wrong
and let him go. Years later, my father bumped into the man who was now
working at another company. My father wasn't sure how the man would
react to their meeting. Actually, the man was quite warm to my father
and confided to him that getting fired was the best thing that happened
to him as he realized he was on a collision course with disaster in his
old job and my father's advice helped point him in the right direction.
In other words, the firing had ultimately benefited the man in the long
run and proved the point that keeping a poor performer does a
disservice to both the company and the person.
Aside from economic downturns,
employees typically get fired for a variety of reasons: incompetence,
inability to grow and assume responsibility, failure to adapt to the
corporate culture, excessive tardiness and absenteeism, bad attitude
towards work, illegal acts, etc. In this situation, it is about you,
the employee, and highlights a character flaw you may or may not be
conscious of. In this situation, you should resist the temptation to
become bitter, and try to learn from it instead. It must be something
you have done (or not done), or the perception of what you have done.
Either way, try to find the truth. If it is something concrete, that's
easy, but if it is a problem of perception, try to determine what the
cause of the perception is and try to correct it. For example, maybe
you were the victim of gossip or something misreported. Then again,
maybe there is something in your character that causes people to
perceive you as something that you are not. In other words, it's time
for some retrospection and soul searching. Regardless, do not dismiss
the firing as just the ravings of a nut job. Remember, it is either
something you have done, or the perception of what you have done.
This is why I'm a big believer of
regularly scheduled employee performance reviews, which many people
avoid as they feel uncomfortable talking about a person's character.
These reviews should not be taken lightly by either the manager or the
employee. They are invaluable for pointing out the strengths and
weaknesses of the employee, clearing up misconceptions, and formulating
a course of action to improve the employee. Some companies have a
policy of performing such a review 30 days from the first day of work,
others wait 60 or 90 days. They are then reviewed either on an annual
or semiannual basis. The point is, don't take your evaluation lightly,
try to understand what the manager is telling you and ask questions.
Otherwise you might find yourself totally surprised when the boss fires
Hopefully, the person doing the firing
will do it professionally. I have seen too many people stumble clumsily
through it thereby turning it into an ugly affair, benefiting no one.
This is why I wrote the paper "Firing Employees isn't for Sissies"
some time ago.
Bottom-line: Don't be
bitter about firings and reviews. You might not like them, but you
should definitely learn from them.
Such is my Pet Peeve of the Week.
Keep the Faith!
Note: All trademarks both marked and
unmarked belong to their respective companies.
Copyright © 2009 by Tim Bryce. All
About the Author
Tim Bryce is the Managing Director of M.
Bryce & Associates (MBA) of Palm Harbor, Florida and
has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He
can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Download Tim's new eBook (PDF), "Bryce's
Pet Peeve Anthology - Volume I" (free) DOWNLOAD).
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2009-05-28 15:27:08 in Employee Articles