How to lose your fear of being fired


Last year, my friend Jakob got a job he really likes in a medium-sized IT company. His boss is a great guy, his co-workers are competent and fun and his clients are all terribly nice people.

There’s only one fly in the ointment: Jakob’s boss’ boss (one of the VPs) is… less nice. He tends to summon all his employees to meetings and chew them out collectively and loudly for whatever problems he sees. He’s abrasive and unpleasant, always complains and never acknowledges his people for the good work they do. His emails to his underlings are a case study in rudeness. And, of course, he’s known for summarily firing people who cross him in any way.

Now, while Jakob likes his job, he doesn’t need it. He’s independently wealthy and so skilled he can always go out and get another job, and therefore has zero fear of being fired. Where other people in the company feel they must watch their tongue for fear of the consequences, he feels free to say and do exactly what he thinks is right.

And here’s the thing: When Jakob stands up to this VP and tells him that he won’t stand for his unpleasant approach and exactly why his abrasive style creates problems for the company, he listens. Nobody has ever told any VP at the company these things before, and for the first time the company has an employee that is totally unafraid of doing so.

The result: This particular VP is slowly changing his ways. And he certainly pulls none of his usual attacks on Jakob, who he knows simply won’t stand for it.

The risk of being fired is the biggest axe a company or a manager holdes over employees’ heads. It’s a mostly unstated, but well-known fact of working life that if you as an employee get too far out of line, you’ll be fired. Or terminated/axed/given the chop – don’t you just love those terms, with their unsubtle flavor of death?

And of course we have tacitly accepted that being fired is a terrible thing and should be avoided at all cost, which is why many of us will accept bad conditions at work and otherwise go to extraordinary lengths to keep our jobs.

Do this, or else…

People who live in fear of being fired tend to:

  • Take crap from management
  • Follow unethical or immoral orders
  • Stand for bullying or harassment
  • Go along to get along
  • Mask their real personalities
  • Hide their real opinions
  • Accept too low or unfair salaries
  • Kiss butt
  • Avoid complaining about any problems they see

Wanna bet how many people at Enron had a sense that something was wrong long before the company was exposed, but kept it to themselves out of fear of losing their jobs?

So I say it’s time we take the stigma out of being fired. If you can rid youself of that threat (or at least reduce it greatly) then you grant yourself much wider lattitude at work. Trust me, our workplaces will be better and happier for it.

You say I’m fired like it’s a bad thing…

And when you really think about it, what’s so embarassing about being fired? Here are some of the most common reasons people are fired, and why that doesn’t reflect badly on the firee:

  • Personality mismatch – So you didn’t fit in at that one company. Guess what, there are millions of others. There might just be one somewhere that is a good match for you. Besides, who says you were the problem?
  • Skill mismatch – So you tried out a job, and you didn’t have the skills for it. Big deal. Again there are millions of other jobs.
  • Refusing to go along – I say good for you. If that’s why you got fired, be proud.
  • Downsizing – Thousands of people are downsized every day.
  • Unreasonable – If you were fired for being pregnant or any other unreasonable excuse, then there’s certainly no reason to be ashamed.

The exception is people who’re fired for harassing or abusing others or people who are repeatedly fired over the same problems. These people need to take a closer look at themselves!

Make being fired less of a problem

Of course being fired can create problems, but you can deal constructively with many of them, and thus reduce or eliminate the consequences. Here are some typical problems of being fired and how to mitigate them.

Economic uncertainty
This must be the biggest problem that results from being fired. How will you pay your bills, your mortgage and your kids’ college savings.

There are two ways to reduce the financial problems of being fired. You can increase your employability and make it easier for you to find a new job. This is a matter of keeping your personal and professional skills up to date and of cultivating a good network.

The second way is to keep your private expenses low, so that you’re not 100% dependent on that pay check every month. I love this approach myself, and wrote about it in a post called The Top 10 Advantages of Low-Rent Living.

Trouble explaining being fired to next employer
But how will I explain to my next potential employer that I was fired?

If you believe that being fired is embarassing and that it reflects badly on you, then this will come out in your CV and in your job interviews. But if you hold your head up high and explain exactly what happened and why you’re not ashamed, then this will help convey the impression that “Yeah, you were fired, so what!”

Some employers will care, some won’t – provided you explain it right.

Many people feel a deep shame at being fired and at being unemployed. Thus being fired from your last job is typically not something we mention in polite dinner conversation with strangers. But why not? Why must being fired or being unemployed be so darned embarassing? It doesn’t need to be! You decide for yourself whether you need to be ashamed or not! Don’t let others force shame upon you, if you have nothing to be ashamed of.

Loss of relationships
For many people, their closest relationships are with people at work and losing them can be painful. The best way to mitigate this is to have many positive relationships outside of work also. And of course increasing your employability lets you quickly find a new job and new relationships at work.

Wrap -up

Reduce your fear of being fired and you increase your freedom and happiness at work. At the very least, you can stop being ashamed about something that happens to hundreds of thousands of people every year, is perfectly natural and which may not be your fault at all!

I’m not saying that companies should never fire people. Some people fit in, some people don’t, and companies need to say goodbye to those people who are not contributing or learning. In fact, for some people, being fired from a job turns out to be a great thing, that allows them to move on to a job where they become much happier.

The important thing is, that we as employees should put ourselves in a position where being fired is not a terrible thing. That way we rid ourselves of the fear of being fired and grant ourselves new freedoms at work.

Are you going to do that, or are you going to spend your work life going along with just about anything, simply to hang on to a job that isn’t good for you in the first place?

If you liked this post I’m pretty sure you’ll also enjoy these:

130 thoughts on “How to lose your fear of being fired”

  1. I love to tell people: “It’s a wonderful thing to be fired for being reasonable.” Talk about liberation and validation! If you are kicked out the door because you are good at your job, uphold your principles, and refuse to kowtow—how fantastic is that?

  2. @Shiloh,

    Cute, but not always true. Yes, there are people who end up in positions that maybe they are not qualified for or who’s personality doesn’t quite mesh. If Jakob’s VP was used to getting results by that method than he will continue his learned behavior…..Look at Steve Jobs who is not known to be the best person to work for. Just a thought….

  3. Well said. To be honest I went off on a rant with my boss the other day on the way the company (big corporation clearly) are trying to push everones peformance marks down when we are working harder than ever etc – I have a ton of savings and see myself as pretty employable and didn’t think twice of giving my opinion – if I really really needed the job it could well have been a different story!

  4. The other option is to make yourself valuable enough to the company where you can’t be fired. I was in that fortunate position at one company, and took full advantage of it, going head-to-head with the CEO and with several VPs. It was particularly gratifying because other people who were in vulnerable positions came to me with issues they were having that I could then raise with upper management. I’m not saying management listened (partially because I was too abrasive in my approach), but at least we could say that we warned them about the downfall of the company long before we finally went bankrupt.

  5. Here in the Netherlands you can’t just fire people. You have to build a very strong case against them and get the court’s permission. The employee is given a payment, the height of which depends on how much the employee is to blame (the more the blame, the less the money of course).

    Although this sounds great, I really don’t think it contributes to happiness at work. Some people tend to simply slack, which creates a negative atmosphere. Some people are just surfing the internet without doing their jobs because they know they’ll not get fired anyway. This is just plane frustrating for the people who do want to do a good job.

    It’s also bad for unemployment. Many small companies are affraid to hire people because if the first few employees are bad, there’s no way to get rid of them and you could go bankrupt.

  6. I got unjustly fired a couple of months ago, and for better or for worse, wrote a detailed account of it in my blog. I must say that I certainly wasn’t afraid of getting fired, but I also didn’t think that something like that would ever happen to me. There was a period of going back and forth between being pumped up and self pity, but now that I’ve moved on it’s all but forgotten.

  7. Thanks for all the great comments people!!!! I’m really enjoying the perspectives that come to light here.

    Robby: I could not agree more. I say wear it like a badge of honor.

    Fred: At this particular company, being this way is the ONLY way to get promoted or hired into top management. It’s this way from the CEO on down. The problem is, that in traditional management thinking, this is what “efficient executives” are like. Luckily, more and more people are realizing just how toxic these people are, and are starting to promote leaders with radically different approaches.

    Shiloh: You’re cracking me up, here.

    Jason: Exactly. And because these people tend to spread some fear around them, they rarely learn the true impact of their ways. They need more unafraid people around them, but don’t realize it themselves.

    Stephen: Excellent! And imagine if many more employees had the freedom and the will to do what you did.

    Eric: Way to go – and excellent also that you also raised other people’s issues! And of course you’re right, making yourself indispensable is another great way to reduce your fear of being fired. I don’t know why I forgot that in the post :o)

    Yvette: I agree completely and fortunately we don’t have the same problem here in Denmark (though I hear Sweden does). Creating a culture where it’s too difficult to fire people doesn’t make us happy either.

    Shig: I read your story and MAN that sucks. As you said, being fired because there’s not enough work and because you’re the newest hire is… tolerable. Unsubstantiated claims of “bad reviews” are just stupid and unfair.

  8. Pingback: Tdenham
  9. What about if you are a minority, and it’s obvious that your neo-con co-workers don’t care for your homosexuality?

  10. This is my first web job out of college. I’ve been doing this for close to 9 months now. I’m a webmaster in an highly understaffed, underpaid television newsroom. I have to admit, I was absolutely horrified of the idea of being fired during my first 6 months. So much so that I was the exact poster child for the above article. I barely even spoke to other people at the job, so insecure I was. I walked around with my head down, as if I wasn’t worthy to be in the presence of the people I worked with. I let people tell me what to do and talk to me any kind of way…that was until I discovered that I work for a bunch of egostical-racist-sexist morons.

    The strangest thing though, I graduated at the top of my class and was just as good as anybody else. But I didn’t see it that way. I still don’t and I have to make a conscience effort everyday to feel that I can run with the best of them.

    A couple of months ago at my 6-month mark, I kind of stressed out and my body starting to feel the physical effects of overwork and exhaustion. And that’s pretty much all she wrote. That was a turning point. Now, I could give two shakes of a rat’s butt in a mambo sequence about being fired. It wasn’t an overnite change, but something that gradually happened to me. I know that a certain level of insecurity when you first break out into the field is normal. (Not to the extent that mines was). But I also understand that your relationship with your job can be kind of like an abusive relationship in a way.

    If you feel you’re worth nothing and that you deserve to be treated that way, then people certainly will. Like I said, it’s not an overnight realization, it’s a process and you have to work hard everyday at it.

  11. Katrina: In that case, where there is a fundamental mismatch between you and the company’s or co-workers’ values, the only viable option is probably to get out of Dodge,.. What do you think, can they learn to be more open and appreciative towards people who are different from themselves?

    ubuskabu: MAN, that’s scary. Do you know if it’s real or fictional? It seems almost too wild to be real.

    pix-pusher: Thanks for that excellent story. I like the way you think, and it’s great that you’ve come to this realization! Some people never get to this point and spend their whole work lives in fear…

    And a special thank you for the phrase “I could give two shakes of a rat

  12. Pingback: ????????
  13. Alexander: I’m not so sure that the right option is always to walk away from those who are prejudiced and bigoted. But will I ever lose the fear of being fired? Unlikely. They’ve tried it once already because I was “running an unauthorised screen saver”. Needless to say, I won that case, but it took me a year to pay off the lawyer’s fees.

    However, I no longer care too much. One thing I have learnt from the experience is that you have to ignore other people’s hang ups and just be yourself.

    I wonder if I’ll ever get promoted :-)


  14. Kat: Running an unauthorized screen saver? Yeah, I can see how that is a firing offence :o)

    Leaving tje bigots behind may be precisely the wrong thing to do in many cases.

    But I have to wonder if maybe, somewhere in your immediate vicinity, there is a company that would appreciate you for who you are and the talents you bring. Where being yourself is an asset, not a liability.

    A friend of mine once said, as she declined to participate in a boring meeting: “I shall dignify it with my absence”.

  15. regards steve jobs, saddam hussein, ballmer, trump, et al “successful”: why assume they’re there because they “get things done” better than most other people? why not consider that they’re there because they got there more effectively than most other people.

  16. Hi,
    I worked for a corporation that would give employees that left a bad review. When good employees are leaving or have left for another job and when the new prospect corporation are calling for an evaluation of the new employee this old corporation would give a bad review in fact this corporation would make it possible for that person not to be hired.
    Is there a firm that can look into this corporation?

    I hoped I explained this good enough.


  17. What country are you in? In Australia the Department of Fair Trading would upset this crowd big time.

    If you believe everything that the Australian Prime Minister said, then you can walk out of your current employment and into another position the same day, no problem?? Yes!! sure and the tooth fairy lives in Kings X, NSW also!

    Unlike the top executive of Companies who even having done a very poor job walk away with a very handsome parting cheque.

    There is plenty of paid positions seeking and hunting for good employees as long as you are happy to work 40 plus hours per week for AUS$14.00 per hour. No wonder the Australian Economy has a AUS$17.3 Billion (that’s corect Billion) surplus. But don’t mention unerfunded, poor hospitals, understaffed schools, not enough police and the list goes on.
    The Federal government are not passing onto the States their actual entitlements but that doesn’t stop Mr Peter Costello (The Treasurer) crowing about what a great job he is doing.

    SORRY I think I got off the topic at bit. But it does reflect the point the the current Australian Federal is doing NORTHING for the worker on AUS$40,000 per annum.

  18. I’ve been feeling afraid of being fired for a while now.

    A year ago I drastically cut back on my expenses, eliminated all of my debt and started dumping lots of money into an emergency fund. It’s at about 3 months of living expenses now and I’m working hard to get it to 6 as soon as possible. I’m a geek, so 3 months should be plenty, but I want it to be bigger.

    I also started to update my skills, so that in the event I do get fired or more likely laid off, I’ll have up to date, high demand skills, with a dozen years of experience.

    What I find weird though, is that my fear of losing my job has gone UP not down. I think that when I HAD to have my job I tried harder at it, but now that I know I’ll be OK if something goes wrong, it has me more worried, which I don’t understand.

    My job is a dream job for most people. Technology, well paid, work from home, very flexible schedule, a boss who lets you actually take vacation. Really the only problem with it, is that 1) it’s for a company that I don’t share values with(HUGE MEGA Corp that only wants to make lots and lots of money, with little regard for rules or people) and 2) my boss spends too much time being a friend and not enough being a manager. As you said in another post, geeks don’t like BAD management. He may be TOO hands-off.

    Anyway, I’ve been doing what I can to make myself better prepared for losing a job, but it’s only made me more fearful.

    Maybe it’s not fear. Maybe it’s me telling myself that the job ISN’T that great. Who knows. It’s weird.

  19. Hi Bind,

    What a situation? However in Indian context “fired” is still a taboo. People do get fired at some point of time in their career but still try to keep under wraps. In fact there are more such cases in the top management/sr. management cadre.

    There is a big divide in two verticals of “government jobs” and “private jobs. In government jobs, there is a similar law as Netherlands where there is a proper process and orgs. have to abide by law and rules of the government policies. Whereas in the private domain, firing is there but still not so popular beacause: a) Orgs. do not like earn a reputation of firing and unstable organizations and b) still there is a humane touch so instead of firing or handing over “pink slip” they ask the potential firee to tender resignation and move out smoothly so that his/her public face and network is protected and at the same time org. get rid of under performer.

  20. Managers tend to have their own way to reach goals, thus, employees should take care of themselves, insulate their personal life from work. Being at peace with yourself will take away your fear of being fired. I believe that what Jakob did shows that he achieved inner stillness in his mind, and not because he does not need the job. Inspiring for everyone! Keep up the excellent word.

    Love and Gratitude,
    Tina Su – Think Simple. Be Decisive

  21. Dear

    I am depressed because I have been fired from over probably 30 jobs including temporary assignments. I am 31 and have so much to offer, I dont know why I cant keep a job but it may probably be that I find it hard to work in teams. I find it hard to establish friendships and people make me nervous. I am feeling very sad and knw that I can sell to the snowmen if given the chance but I am always afraid of being fired which has happened way to many times. My longest job was nearly 3 years but towards the end of my job I was being bullied and made fun of nearly every day including talked about. Now i am to scared to get back into the workforce.

    Yours sincerely


  22. Anne,

    You would have to be an American. Wasting all of your spare cash & hours laying on your Analyst couch. 30 sackings and still only 31 years old, wow what is the problem.

    Have you a target painted upon your forehead seeking abuse?

    I think that you should be writing to Doctor Phil?

  23. hello
    i am working as an expatriate in another company and fortunately found a new job in my last week of visa ma family and friends expects too many things from me and praise me for getting such a good salary and job.its just been the 2nd week of my work and all of a sudden i started feeling the FEAR of job lost.i thought that my boss is thinking to fire me glands are ommiting too mush volume of adernaline into my blood stream.
    i feel being evaluated by every person even the office boy.

    as far this article i found it informative.

  24. Please send me emails with inspirations on how to deal with being fired and how to survive financially when you get fired

  25. I was fired three years ago, the first time ever from any job, and in retrospect it was the best decision made for me that I can remember. At the time I felt anger because it was my actions that caused it and that turned into acceptance. What I did with the time between work was contract work and spent the next 6 months searching for a better job which I found!

    What I didn’t know at the time was two months after I was booted, half the team (5 people) quit or moved on to other opportunities. The department was downsized and the other half of the team laid off as responsibilities transferred to a parent company a year after that.

    I’ve never been happier where I’m working now and my enthusiasm is infectous to the rest of the team who look to me as their leader.

    Being fired should be looked as a valuable learning experience not to be taken for granted. It helps you to reevaluate your priorities and gives you an opportunity to learn what to look for if you are going into business for yourself or working for someone else.

  26. I have always loved my job and everybody says that I should be thankful for it because it’s near my house, the salary is ok (considering the bad times we’re in), and the company treats me ok, and I get along with my co-workers. However, my immediate boss and I do not see eye to eye on a lot of things, and had shouting matches, which ended up in my transfer. However, he still is in charge of a lot of the projects and work that I am doing, and certainly he has a hand in decision making, where my department is concerned.

    Just the other day, I learned that they will be hiring someone who shall hold similar position as mine. Although our top honcho had assured me that I shall remain, but I can’t help but wonder if I will be fired soon, because of the personality clash with my immediate boss.

    I find your article comforting, maybe, just maybe I can see being fired in a different perspective—as a way of learning, a way to something better. Or less stressful, in my case.

    Like Masood, I haven’t given the axe (yet), but I felt uneasy and worried about being jobless the next day. Maybe it’s time to map something in my life—a Plan B, perhaps?

  27. Since working for my current company, my naivity over being hired and fired has gone out of the window. I’ve been there nine months and so far over half of the office has resigned (including the boss), half of the company’s offices have been shut down and the remaining staff in my office have been threatened with the sack over the smallest of things. Part of me is hoping that I will lose my job as I absolutely hate it, but the other (more realistic) part of me knows that it will be difficult financially and even more difficult to find another job due to the state of the economy. I agreed to this job in the first place because I could not find a job in art/design (which I love) and needed to save up to go back to university and take a degree. At present, there is no way I could afford a degree, no way to get a job in the field I want without a degree and little chance of keeping my current job or one that pays a similar wage. The major problem I have is my lack of work experience. I am 23 and after a gap year and finishing A Levels at college, I could not find a job straight away. I gave in and started temping at various places in very low rung positions, with big gaps of unemployment in between where there were simply no jobs available (albeit plenty of interviews)! This has been my first proper full-time job and the thought of being kicked out so soon is scary. I already know what to expect on my review as ex-employees were given terrible reports for very minor things! So I can definately sympathise with other people here.

  28. I find it very ironic that your “Now What” picture is of a middle-aged man, and your “So What” picture is of a kid just out of college.

    Yeah, when I first got out of college, I didn’t care, either. Jobs were plentiful. I had my whole life ahead of me. No kids, my wife worked, no house payment. Now, I’m divorced, 44, and I’m faced with a downsizing – and possible layoff – in the worst economic climate since the 1930s. I have 4 kids (and pay child support for 3), a house payment, and a new wife. I’ve tried broadening my skill set, but my job has no opportunities to exercise it, and when I try applying for jobs elsewhere, I’m usually turned down in favor of college kids (like your “So What” example) who’ll work for 50% less than what I require.

    Point being, I think your approach is a little on the Pollyanna side. Walking around with a “I-don’t-give-a-s**t” attitude is wonderful, but knowing when and where to pick your battles is smarter. Don’t shoot yourself in the foot just because you don’t like how your toenail looks, know what I mean? There will days ahead when the situation will change, and you’ll be able to be more open.

  29. At my last company, I finally got so fed up with the poor excuse for management, that I stopped caring about getting fired, and stood up to my CEO and VP about their poor behavior and management practices. It was incredibly empowering, and even when I got laid off a month later, it left me feeling better about my career than I had in a long time. I landed a much better job, and have no regrets!

  30. Newt I like the choice of name that U are going by today?? very funny. But Bosses & Management alike do not appreciate people like yourself pointing out the errors of their ways to them. U felt good but got laid off anyhow. It is a brave person to stand up to poor management. I am glad that you good yourself a god job.

  31. chiefscribe, I think you’re missing the point. At some point in a job you lose your fear of being fired because getting fired is a better alternative than continuing to work under existing poor conditions. It’s a crap shoot; either management is mature enough to take criticism constructively and things get better, or you get laid off and find a new job, in which case things also get better. :)

  32. Pingback: Dish
  33. OK, but you have to work. Anyone work in Healthcare in the USA? In many circles, if you speak up you are weeded out. Nursing, believe it or not, nowadays is a very cut-throat field.

    People know others and I believe the general feeling to those in or outside of healthcare is that if you are let go it must be because of issues of competency or safety or something crazy, like Charles Cullen antics. 99.9% of the time, that is NOT the case. So those of us in nursing and healthcare tend to live in fear of being weeded out–functioning under an old and often capriciously applied doctrime of At-Will-Employment. Seems like a good thing on the outside. Not so much for the employee–mostly it works in total favor of the employer. Only Equal Opportunity Employment Issues have half a chance of being heard.

    It’s funny. In our current economy, people are going back to school for nursing, and they really don’t have any clue how utterly cut-throat the field can be. And that is insult to injury in an already scary and demanding profession. You have to be uber careful. If you lose X thousands of dollars for a company that is one thing. If you kill or injury someone, not only is the devastating to the client/patients and families and everyone involved, you could lose your license and be sued. On top of that there are mounds of regulations and excessive paperwork issues because of outside agencies and their accreditation, etc for hospitals. It’s a nightmare. I love the field, but really don’t think people know what they are getting into. X amount of months out of nursing school, they will be pleading for that office job again.

    It’s a very intense and demanding field. Brutal and extreme (cut throat) office politics has not place in nursing and healthcare, yet there it is. Stronger than ever.

    What’s more, hospitals have slashed openned positions and are not bragging about their hiring freezes. They keep a few slots open so they don’t have to claim a hiring freeze; but nonetheless, that is what it is.

    There are all sorts of cut backs in healthcare nowadays. These reporters need to stop claiming that this is such a safe and protected and recession-proof field. It just isn’t so.

    Truth is, no one is safe in this economy. So you really need to think about all the factors of what you are getting into, before you make the commitment to nursing school. Today, there is a reason many haven’t stayed in it if they can help it. It has nothing to do with the work per se. It’s more about the social dynamics and the insult that is added to any already injurious profession.

    I wish it were not so. I long to try to help things change for the better. I teach as well, and I try to encourage those that deeply want to pursue an education in nursing. But it is wrong if we are not realistic with folks. People have to be given more of a clue as to what they are getting into. And no. There are no guarantees about having a position in nursing–even if you currently work at a facility or hospital that has a strong nursing union. You are at the mercy of the economy and a whole lot of very harsh internal politics.

  34. Don’t worry world is yours.The competent person will get another one
    If you know to get a thing done or to do things opportunites will come to u.

  35. I’ve been fired so what…begging is always an option!!!

    A sarcastic comment…Sorry i don’t mean it. Just coudln’t stop myself after seeing the pic.

  36. With unemployment touching 10% in the Land of the Free & the Poor (the USA), one has to kept their head down and arse up to be able to survive. Those of you that are brave enough to take on Management at any level to prove a point…I hope that you enjoy eating “Humble Pie”!!!!

    Jeez am I glad that I don’t live in the USA.

    It is the latest Country in the World to become a third world state & a “Banana Republic”!!

  37. i agree with the main message of this, but can we really make being fired sound like a good thing? if it’s a job which you want to be rid of anyway, surely its better to resign?

  38. @transitvans: If you want to quit a job, you should resign. If there is a disconnect between what you believe is your contribution and what your organization sees as your value, than it’s a good thing that someone steps up to end the relationship. After all, you don’t want to work somewhere if you aren’t genuinely valued as a member of that team.

  39. This proverb from Zanzibar – “To lose the way is to learn the way” – summarizes what job loss means to me. I had wanted to be a writer but thought I needed a job to pay the bills so I could fulfill my dream. The loss of the corporate job was challenging, but it sure helped me to learn the way to do what I love and fulfill my dream with a book (Lifelines: The Black Book of Proverbs) due to be released in November 2009. Joy in what I do keeps me healthy and happy, and the bills get paid.

  40. I once let a termination – what some people see as a huge problem – work out for me. The skill sets and attitude did not fit the job and the termination helped find a new position that suited those skills. Here can read more about turning termination around.

  41. Hello everybody,
    Thanks so much for your comments here. It does make me feel better. I work for a Financial Institution….I have been working for 2 years for this organization and my boss treats me like I am a waste product. There is so much “favouritism” (and my boss hates the word) that it has driven some of my colleagues on the verge of committing suicide. The Code of Conduct for the company states that no department could have 2 people (either a family member whether close or distant or a friend) working together. And that is exactly what is being practiced here since the boss has his own niece working under him (under cover) , and as if that is not enough, he “authorized” her to dictate us in a very condescending way. I have generated over 40 million dollars in a year in one type of investment prouct alone for the company and what kind of performance appraisal do I get? Insult, constant bullying and verbal threat to provoke fear of being fired…..not to mention the “double edged sword technique” they use on me. I remember this particular “niece” complaining about the same boss in the past and now she is a public enemy (to employees I mean). People have been demoted from supervisory levels for no genuine reason and women from a particular ethnic background have been given authorization to command unethically to colleagues of THE SAME RANK. Could someone please advice because I cannot bare the burden of being stressed everyday for it goes home with me and my family life has become a major disaster.

  42. IN the economy of late 2009 a good number of people will endure a ‘challenging’ job, or should I say hang on for dear life to one they can barely tolerate; just because they know how difficult it will be to find some other job…starting over from scratch.
    It does not make things less stressful to be overworked because co-workers are let go, and still the plate of tasks persist for the remaining employees. As for anyone working for others to survive, there will be tough times somewhere in the mix every 30 to 80 years when the economic cycles head “south.”

  43. Being fired can be a blessing in disguise – you get a leave a job you didn’t like (or people you didn’t like there), you might get paid off and you get the kick up the backside that forces you to look for something far more interesting and challenging. Just make sure you’re always in the market for a new job – keep your skills, industry knowledge and contacts up to date – having something up your sleeve never hurts!

  44. Pingback: Quitting time
  45. I love this post! Fantastic. I love being fired. Its exciting, opens up new opportunities and means that a new adventure has just begun. Nothing like a good termination meeting to add a bit of excitement to your life!

    Getting fired means I get to focus on MY life again. My projects, my family, the things I love to do. It means I am forced to get resourceful, creative and inventive with my finances and getting fired also provides the perfect opportunity to subtly force me into starting some business ideas I may have been procrastinating on.

    I love getting fired! And so should you!


  46. Wouldn’t be nice to be able to fire the boss, literally? After all, many managers or supervisors are hired at that level with no prior experience and therefore have not always earned the rank and privilege. I see power and authority as illusions outside of the military because it can be taken from you by the owner of the company, who is really then only one with real “power” at a business. At least in the military, the generals and admirals have earned their ranks through many years of service, and therefore the authority and privilege that goes with it.

  47. Ahh, yes, it sounds like a great idea to be able to fire a boss! But alas, no, that doesn’t seem too likely. In my HR course that I’m currently taking, we briefly discussed why some bosses remain, even though no one likes them and they cause so many problems. The reason, being, that that individual, is good for the company in one way or another, whether it be in generating profits, or due to political alliances, or whatnot.

    In regards to the original prompt of “losing fear of being fired,” its a difficult situation, but I agree that we can’t always be worried about getting fired. I’m sure everyone worries about how “being fired” will be explained to future employers, but i’m pretty sure that being fired just once won’t entirely destroy an individual’s career.

    If we’re always worried about failure, we won’t have the time and energy to shine. We’ll always be dragging behind… If we’re competent and have will, it might take extra effort, but there is a better future than always being worried about being fired….but then again, I might feel this way because I”m still young and unmarried and don’t have any kids to support… Basically, I’m not in a situation where I have so much on the line to lose… Perhaps its different for others…

  48. I am constantly afraid of being unemployed. So much so that I have caused it to happen by over-reacting. After reading this article I realized that I was also not happy on my present job, never have been, and I need to face it and move on.

    I went for the money and to be honest they couldn’t pay me enough to be happy on this job. The fear is so over-whelming it’s easy to have some ugly thoughts. This time I took a few days off to calm down and look at the situation and start looking for a new job.

  49. I was fired shortly after a company re-org, which occurred after being out for 6 weeks on medical leave, only to find that my job tasks were reduced by 50%. I should mention I left the department I was in to work for my close friend. For the 2 out of 3 years I worked there, she became distant and never gave me a moment of encouragement or support, in fact, it became a very bad situation and got worse as time went on. A week after I was let go, she decided to leave the company for another job. Lesson learned, never work for a friend. If you make one wrong move, or say anything, they take it as a personal insult and will make it their mission to get you away from them as quickly as possible. I am in my late 50’s and have no formal education, and live in a very remote area.The job situation is quite bleak. The good news is the 9 years I worked there, I socked a ton of money away. If you fear you might be fired, trust your instincts, stick it out as long as you can and pay as many debts off as possible. Hold your head up high, and pat yourself on the back that you gave it your all.

  50. I’m pretty happy in my current job, but the thought of being let go is plenty terrifying. I was let go from my last job, and it took me four months to find a new job. With a permanently disabled wife and a daughter and grandson in the house (long story), and four chronic diseases that *require* me to have insurance at all times just to pay for meds, even if it’s super-expensive COBRA, you can bet that all my savings vanished. If that happens to me again I’m going to be in the hospital with no idea how to pay for it, ever.

  51. Many Irish are going to Australia now 2011 because of their 5% unemployment. USA 10% unemployment is 2x as much. Go to AUstralia for a year or so until things get better. Can’t do that if you have debt holding you back.

  52. Getting fired is never good. Quitting a job is sometimes good tho. A-hole bosses get cheap thrills from firing hated workers who stand up to them. These dudes and broads have poor self esteem and hate criticism It’s a ego trip gone bad. I say don’t allow this to happen. Beat the reaper by getting the F out and into something better. I surprised one idiot boss that way and boy was he pissed. I re-located to a better situation and left him with a pile of work on his desk! F him! He got what he deserved. Pay back is a B-tch!
    That’s a Marine Corp saying. They got it right man!


  53. Pingback: L
  54. I got fired today, from Stop & Shop. I worked there for a little more than twelve years, mostly under a controlling whore of a supervisor. She used me as a convenient scapegoat for anything and everything. Her immediate superior proved to be no better. In the end, I stood up to an abusive customer, because I knew from experience that they weren’t going to stand for me. I have no regrets about standing up for myself, but was I naive to stay in that hellhole for as long as I did? These people pissed on and shit on me for so long, and never gave me any opportunity for advancement.

  55. This is an excellent guide to people like me becoming target of ‘boss-fire’ frequently for no good reason. Thank you and all who contributed.

  56. Keeping a positive attitude is very important no matter what happens in our lives. Even when we are fired from a job, we should be well prepared to take some key lessons from the setback. After all, who knows a better career opportunity might be waiting you just round the corner.

    The article makes some really interesting points!

  57. I work at a fast food place, and yes the word fast food means fast, immediate. If i try to be fast i get confused n do things wrong.
    I am doing the job right. its just the speed. and nowhere is it written that you have to constantly be at a specific superhuman mph speed.
    Just that you do it correctly.
    I hate this taylorism. They have the audacity to say hurry up or ul get fired. Its a shame what we employees have been reduced to.

  58. While we shouldn’t fear being fired, it’s always nice if you’re the one who gets to leave your job without them leaving you. If you are about to transition from one job to another, do not overlook an important part of the process, your resignation. There’s a company out there that helps those who are not always so good at explaining themselves. Visiting can help you during the stressful process of leaving your job. Take a look if you wish for some help, this company was started by people inspired by blogs like this.

  59. Good article. The fear of losing your job, regardless of performance can cause you to miss out on life. The time spent working extra hours, the time spent after work thinking and worrying about. All the hours add up.
    I think the only cure is the self confidence that you’ll always find a way to make it.
    That and a healthy dose of living below your means and saving up a 6 months of cash, just in case.

  60. How do we measure success? In dollars and cents? Is good business draining ever nickel possible no matter what the offense? Finally, is good company leadership absolute, and handed down from a godlike figure beyond reproach? No way. Many of these dipstick managers have big empty holes were their sense, imagination, decency, and humor should be. I’ll never stand by sheepishly while my coworkers and I are oppressed. Don’t keep the “corporate silence.” May all those schmucks forever have painfully large bowel movements! Thanks Alexander, and all who’ve commented! P.S. I’m proud to announce I’ll be getting fired from Home Depot soon (terrible workplace) for doing a great job, being truthful, and not kissing ass!

  61. Hello, another point about accepting lousy working conditions: please take a moment and read a few bits of wikipedia’s “wage slavery” page. It’s shocking how deeply embedded, the oppressed lifestyle really is. The descriptions are all spot-on. Check it out if you have a few moments. We as people (the vast majority anyway) have become so conditioned to accept and comply. In print, it’s just so obvious, and disgusting.

  62. I recently got a job at a financial institutuion after seeking any kind of job for about 3 years. My current boss was very nice in the start and at random she went off on me and started siding with customers on issues and took their part in things. Example: One day a customer asked for my Manager by name over the phone. I said I cannot say weather or not such a person works here, but to my knowledge there is no one by that name here at the moment. That same cutomer called the next day and the Manager answered, the customer told her that I said after they asked for her that no such a person works there. I tried to explain what I said and that the customer was wrong, my Manager would not listen. She said I know what you said. She also does not inform me of what is going on that I am to be aware of, acting like I should know through our e-mails sent to us in the office. Not always do I find out, no. Example: There is a manditory training coming up and I am not informed at all of it. I have to attend, she printed an e-mail and gave it to me. Had I not read it, I would not have known about the manditory training. Another thing is she will vegily tell me how to do something expecting me to be able to use common sence on how to do what she vegily told to do. Excuse me, she should fully show/train me how to do something not vegily show me. She also did not show me how to find properly put a customers gross income into our computer making me figure things out by myself using my veg notes. What should I do? Any suggestions? This is seriouse!

  63. I would also like to add… Any one wh ois in my shoes as well, please hang in there. We know who we are as wrokers and we should not be treated badly.

  64. to corporate bosses or District Managers: What is your suggestion that I can tell the District Manager with out her finding out and getting on me once again?

  65. Her is my word edited. Please read this one. Do not have the fear of being fired. If your boss is hasseling you, then simply explain step by step, shortening the steps to get right to the point to your boss

  66. I wish I lived in the Netherlands. I live in Texas and I recently quit a job in order to take another job and was let go in four months because I was sweet but not a good personality fit.. I am hard worker, polite, lot of experience and I am attending college right now with great grades. To be honest I find employers basing decisions on personality a condescending insult to my hard work..

  67. I was let go after 10 months, did my very best at the job but was very uncomfortable with my new manager. I was picked on by her. I always got along with others at the office, was respectful to her, honestly had trouble with some of my duties and needed help. I even helped others when they were behind. I was cruely insulted at work as to my ability but was honest on my resume when I applied as to my skills. I made a $20 mistake when I was doing someone else’s financial (again, helping out). I was friends with people at work. My boss fired me for just cause (which still makes no sense to me) as I did my best and was always asking for help but not necessarily getting it. I am very sorry I didn’t quit when I had the chance but needed income and did the best I could. There was gossip going around like you wouldn’t believe and became so resentful that, after I was fired (and a few drinks) I would e-mail past managers, co-workers telling them what I know. That was very wrong and wish I hadn’t done so because it did not do me any good – just couldn’t help it. I am now getting help for this – I am older and getting work is very hard. I had a nice part time job before this opportunity (full time) came up. I wish SO MUCH that I had ESP and could forsee the future. When I was initially hired I had a very nice supportive manager who left after one month. Things would have been so different with her but I certainly don’t blaime her for leaving. I just want to put this position behind me. In response to an e-mail I sent to a not nice property manager she basically called me a delusional, stupid bitch and she would not hire me to clean her toilets and to not e-mail her again. I responded by saying I was sorry for the e-mail, should not have sent it (it was matter of fact and not abusive like her e-mail to me and wished her all the luck in the world. Also stated that, unfortunately, her opinion of me meant less than nothing to me. I initially really hurt myself by contact them (I no longer work there). I guess I still feel so unworthy subconscienouly which is why I’m getting help. The article about not being shamed about being fired does help me, however, my self-confidence and betrayal needs a lot of help.

  68. Great post and it quit true that there nothing shameful with being fired as long as we already try our best
    ….my work has less work and more people ……i feel insecure with this work and worry everyday ….but after reading this post i feel much better …..i will try to do my best with the job ….if i still got fired, i would consider this as new opportunity to move on to better place…so what if i have no money for a while ….thank

  69. This is written by somebody who has been highly successful, is obviously intelligent, likes his job and probably has not had severe mental illness. Most people aren’t so lucky to find a job they love. And being unemployed or underemployed is not an enviable position. Not everybody get the great jobs. Those are usually left for the smart ones, the fortunate ones, or the kids of wealthy people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.