Terminated Illegally (5)? Filing for Unemployment

For those looking to file for unemployment, the Internet can be a handy tool. Though requirements and procedures may not be identical between states, the fundamental application remains consistent.

Taking David’s lead, he went to Google and searched “filing for unemployment in Florida.” No doubt you can do the same for the state you are in. Once there, he noticed the first few choices were exactly what he needed. After clicking “State of Florida.com / Florida Unemployment,” he was taken to the “Florida Unemployment Guide.”

Once there, review the options. I suggest you take advantage of the resources and read all you can. The following options are readily available:

  • Am I eligible
  • Submitting a claim
  • Unemployment benefits
  • Additional benefits and assistance
  • Help finding a job
  • Claiming weeks
  • Appealing denied benefits

According to the Florida Unemployment Guide, in order to be eligible for Florida benefits, several criteria must be met:

  • You must have lost your job through no fault of your own, so you must not have quit for personal reasons or been terminated for malicious misconduct (poor job performance does not disqualify you).
  • You must be totally or partially unemployed.
  • You must have a minimum amount of wages earned in what is called the “base period,” which is the first four complete quarters beginning 18 months prior to your claim.
  • You must be able to work, available to work, and actively seeking work. This includes being able to get to a job and have child care if necessary.

Naturally if you or someone you know has been fired, examining eligibility is a first step. To decrease stress and frustration, make sure you are eligible. Given this is a time of great hardship, you don’t want to become even more frustrated with the process.

Unemployment can be devastating on a multitude of levels. The psychological stress, the financial hardship, and the family pressure can be an overwhelming trauma. On this note, before detailing the actual unemployment claim application, it may be in David’s best interest to review the job-loss grieving process most people follow. We’ll notice David reacted classically to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s “Five Stages of Grief.”

For those who have been a difficult grief enhanced situation like being terminated, I believe you will find similarities.

Good news is, you are not alone.

If you have any questions or would like to add to the journey, contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how I can help you. Be sure and have your peers join in on the conversation and adventure… they may thank you one very difficult day.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

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Terminated Illegally (4)? Should I beg or should I bolt

Truth is not defined by others.
Truth is defined by you.

When faced with an employment termination, there are two basic reactions: Begging for your job back or accepting the fact you have no job – leaving the area with dignity (or not). Being in an executive positon for over a decade, I’ve had the displeasure of terminating more than a handful of employees. Though lesser appear to be shocked by the event, most know (at least on the subconscious level) their days are numbered.

Last submission we detailed what happened during David’s firing, today we’re going to return to the shark tank as we look at the final few minutes…

David: “There I was, Bertha held out my final compensation (minus 32 outstanding hours), making it clear my stay was no longer welcomed. I placed the few pieces of paper into my briefcase, thought for a moment, and stated ‘I am going to leave professionally because that is who I am.’”

Danny: “Did you think about apologizing or asking for reconsideration?”

David: “Throughout the 15 minute harpooning, the open wounds Bertha and Mr. Farris poured salt into went too far, too deep, too painful to allow another opportunity. I knew from the moment of walking into the office, a decision was made and rebuttal would be futile. Plus, I knew I was much better a person than the two bottom-feeders circling me.”

Danny: “Were you asked to sign anything? Were you given paperwork?”

David: “Did not sign anything. Was not asked to sign anything; besides,what value is there in a signature of a broken soul? I was given Mr. Farrris’ business card, a copy of my original application of employment, my final check, and a copy (signed by Bertha) of a Notice of Trespass Warning.”

Danny: “Can you summarize what a notice of trespass warning is for those not familiar?”

David: “Sure. The Notice of Trespass Warning given to me detailed how ‘I was NOT (all caps—an intimidation strategy?) authorized, permitted or invited to enter or remain on the property located at…. And went on to further advise that if I trespassed on said property, Chity College intends to pursue criminal charges through the State Attorney’s Office for Trespass. Any previous authorizations for you to enter or remain on the premises are hereby revoked… signed by Bertha.”

Danny: “And you were there for 18 months without incident? Were they afraid you would suddenly turn into a monster?”

David: “I don’t know what they were thinking other than the total annihilation of any resistance. Definitely felt like bolting out but thought twice about it. I wanted to be the professional, not the piece of dirt they were trying to label.”

When it comes to being fired, the tendency to lash back is fairly common. Problem with that: burnt bridges and it proves nothing. One can yell, fight, argue, and call the other names, but for what outcome. Truth is, you still will not have a job, no matter how loud you scream. The other option, walking out proudly, with head high, and dignity your companion, you prove yourself to be the professional in all ways.

David: “They tried to define me… to present their rationalized truth as reality. But their truth was filled by bias, by a sense of ignorance, and by a sense of what they wanted the truth to be. This way their illegal behavior could be justified and perhaps they would be able to sleep at night.”

Danny: “So you walked out professional, respectfully. That shows a great deal about character and who you are as an individual as well as a testament detailing the level of shallowness Bertha and Mr. Farris possess.”

David explained how vulnerable he felt as he stepped out the two front glass doors. A sense of confusion still intoxicated his mind. How could this be happening? What was he going to do next?

Next segment we’ll find out David’s next step and what actions are available.

If you have any questions or would like to add to the journey, contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how I can help you. Be sure and have your peers join in on the conversation and adventure… they may thank you one very difficult day.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Terminated Illegally (3)? Once a loser…

An individual’s character is not determined by the stumble.
An individual’s character is determined by the ability to stand back up.

We often accept self-characterizations bestowed by others without even realizing it, allowing negatives a room of their own within our very psyche, allowing the shove to prevent the stand.

During times of struggle, conflict, and termination, the tendency to grasp at old habits fuel an immediate journey to attain emotional safety… where comfort is found below the line of social visibility. Think about the time(s) you’ve been emotionally dismantled… how did you cope? Did you hide? Did you run? Did you stay down? Being fired from your job affects layers upon layers of that which defines us. I’m not saying terminations are not a necessary evil; I’m saying the process can lead to abuse.

Employee empowerment is not part of the equation during a termination. Strategic nonverbal communication, subjective semantics, and blatant crushing are an often used tactic patterned by management. As David shared more morning events, time for you to take a step back and remember the last time you were fired (or had done the firing).

David: “Bertha closed the door immediately after I entered. She followed me a few steps, marching all the way like a stiff combatant readying the ambush. A chair was leaned my direction; choices were stolen instantaneously while Mr. Farris sat in a predatory power pose two feet away.”

Danny: “Once the process began, were you given the opportunity to defend yourself or was fate tied by the two in control?”

David: “Like soul-malnourished sharks, the two attacked, suffocating any breath of resolve. I was a loser, they made sure I knew it, they made sure I believed it, they made sure I lived it.”

Danny: “The strategies of showcasing total control are common when it comes to employee terminations. Too often those taking charge push the intimidation role too far. Can you share the types of nonverbal messages being sent?”

David: “Bertha said little, she mostly stared blankly at the attorney. Her ability to look at me was limited either by of her lack of belief in the process or lack of belief in the cause, or so is my opinion. When she did speak, her tone was uncomfortable, matching eyes void of compassion or commitment. She sat without curve, simply robotic. Mr. Farris, on the other hand, performed as if he strived on the scent of blood, eager to seize. With a leaning forebode, he overshadowed any counter resolve. His mind, body, and soul strived on the powerless… the losers of the world. His tone, aggressive and cocky, drove one way, his way… resistance was futile.”

Danny: “Sounds like you being invited was meant to break your will, nothing more. I’m trying to understand, as you mentioned last time and the inviting email from Bertha where you being referred to as ‘silly’ comes into play. Perhaps it was the element of surprise on their part so you would be ill-prepared to counter any form of defense? Another typical offense by the home team. Anyway, what was going through your mind?”

David: “Oddly enough, being terminated was not what was going through my mind. What was going through my mind was the process. Why the drama? Why the rooster-stance? Why the complete destruction of another person’s character? My mind, without intent, ventured back to childhood and how my grandfather told me how I was a loser. My grandfather hounded that once a loser, always a loser. That’s what I thought about… his words ‘once a loser, always a loser’ elevated into the morning’s memory.”

Danny: “How could something like a simple termination loosen those memories?”

David: “Not sure why, they just did. Seems like my life details the life of a loser… when a good thing came my way, those in power always found a way to snub out hope. I’ve lost a great deal in my life, much more than most. For years our apathetic society defined me as a loser, of an individual not worthy of success or belief. Times like this morning confirm what my grandfather believed many years ago: ‘once a loser, always a loser.’”

Danny: “I’m sorry you had to endure this, no doubt the intent was not to terminate, but to intimidate you into total submission. My advice to you is that your willingness to stand up, open yourself to vulnerabilities, and not accept what your grandfather claimed, is what defines you… not the other way around. How did the discussion conclude?”

David: “I was given a direct command that if I ever stepped foot on this campus, the police would be notified and I would be arrested. I was told never to make contact with any staff (was told this several times) or students. Bertha then stated that my final compensation was enclosed in an envelope (she then handed me the envelope). I asked if this included compensation from month’s prior that was never paid out. She said no but would get with Jay.”

Danny: “They gave you a final check missing compensation? And you left simply hoping the money they owed would be paid at a later date? After the termination?”

David: “Yes. Then I was told an escort would show me the way out and to my vehicle. Nice, not only dehumanized within the office, I was showcased as a trophy, pumping the shark’s ego even more. I left, never looking back, was disallowed too.”

David’s grandfather may have believed “once a loser, always a loser,” but I do not subscribe to the motto.

If you are ever terminated, recognize it is NOT what defines who you are. You are the master of your universe, no one else. We’ll travel more with David next time when we ask the question “Should one beg or go (during a termination process)?”

If you have any questions or would like to add to the journey, contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how I can help you. Be sure and have your peers join in on the conversation and adventure… they may thank you one very difficult day.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services
Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Terminated Illegally (2): Come on in…

Being called into the office to be fired is rarely positive; yet many of us have had the (dis)pleasure of the experience. How does one react with the scheduled event and devastating news?

During these most uncomfortable meetings, your supervisor typically will not be alone. The reason: fear of a “he-said / she-said” situation. Given the amount of stress, no doubt you understand. Think of it this way, if an individual is getting terminated by the opposite sex, unfounded accusations are often claimed. Thus, don’t be surprised at a tag-team mentally… it is for their protection, not yours; accept it.

Taking a moment for David’s situation, here’s how he was notified via email from the boss, Bertha: “Hi David, Could you come meet and talk before class on Friday morning at 8:30 a.m.”

David replied: “Not a problem about Friday prior to class. Would you like me to bring anything?”

Bertha’s final reply: “You don’t have to bring anything except yourself silly. See you then.”

Notice the tone of the email invitation from Bertha was not indicative of an illegal termination. If you are called into the office, don’t always assume negatives are forthcoming. Hopefully your next office visit will be for the promotion you recently inquired. Needless to say, recognize what’s going on and be prepared for the most unexpected. During our discussions with David, I did ask how he psychologically felt about the email.

David: “At first I thought nothing of it. Then, after reading it for a second time, I felt marginalized by the use of the term ‘silly.’ I would refer to the main boss as silly. Feeling degraded, I began to get an uneasy feeling about the meeting. The night before, Thursday, I had a horrible feeling and could not sleep. How dare her call me silly.”

According to David, setting up the termination meeting processed as follows: Friday morning came along and her office door was open. After a “come on in,” I entered to notice an individual dressed in a power suit, sitting smugly, and eager to pounce. Bertha remained seated, silent, and bearing a squid-like facial impression.  Once he introduced himself, we’ll call this gentleman Mr. Farris, an attorney, the level of anxiety became overwhelming. Within seconds, I knew…

For those who have ever been in this situation, you know it can be quite challenging. For those who have never been in this situation, congratulations. Prepare yourself for the inevitable… throughout one’s career life cycle, you most likely will be sitting on one side of the table before retirement.

Summary and upcoming: How should one react at the moment of being fired? Do you become angry? Is this the time to lash out or sit quietly? Do you beg for your job back? Do you play the blame game? No doubt for each his/her own, but there are established rules of conduct, even during an illegal termination.

Next time everyone will “come on in” as David takes you by the hand during the illegal termination presented by Bertha and Mr. Farris.

If you have any questions or would like to add to the journey, contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how I can help you. Be sure and have your peers join in on the conversation and adventure… they may thank you one very difficult day.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Terminated Illegally? The Process Begins

Over the weekend, I received a call from David who informed me of his termination after working with an academic institution for over 1-1/2 years. Needless to say, we chatted the afternoon. Feeling lost and abused, his story reflects a growing trend and is worth repeating to a mounting base of individuals who have been terminated without due process.

The methodology or our epic story will be presented in a question/answer series (as well as taking advantage of proven techniques) while promising to take the reader beyond the superficial. A piece of non-fiction, names of individuals and educational institutions involved in this “incident” have been changed to protect their identity.

Reader value: If you’ve ever been terminated unjustly or know of someone who has, this step-by-step publication will Educate, Empower, and Encourage you to stand up, proudly. On this note, I strongly recommend you invite others to take part by following this adventure as it unfolds.

Key Players:

* Chity College (CC): Academic institution
* David: Victim of the illegal termination
* Bertha: Leader, voice of Chity College
* Jay: Recent arrival, second in command
* Dr. Road: Original player not to be confused with the Beatles” album, Abbey Road

Initial Conversation:

David: “I was told a few days ago that I was fired and now want to know what options are available? I remember your presentation at a national conference, which is why I am reaching out to you. What are my options?”

Danny: ”

David: “I want the world to know and that is why I am asking for your assistance. Can you help me understand how a huge corporation can do anything they want without recourse?”

Danny: “First of all, I am not an attorney (though worked with attorneys as a legal clerk) and the suggestions made are backed by many years in the career management field. I have worked with thousands of individuals, many disenfranchised, with their career strategies. As a certified career coach, certified professional resume writer, and certified professional interview professional, I am confident you and our viewership will learn a great deal, not only about the process, but also about our key players.”

David: “I know you’ve spoken nationally and regionally multiple times, mostly about protecting the rights of those with a challenged past, but I am hoping your guidance and advice will prove advantageous to my specific situation. By the way, within this termination I will be uncovering a number of issues I believe to be sensitive. I’ll talk about racism at the top level, manipulation of grades and attendance in the name of profit, and even a few sexual favors along the way, just to mention a few less appealing topics.”

Danny: “Wow, sounds like a twisted novel plot. Maybe we can work together on a major project?”

David: “I’ve kept tedious notes and plenty hard copies to back it up. And yes, a tell-all novel will be forthcoming.”

Looks like there’s more to the termination and CC than at first glance. Follow the complete story and let others know to follow as the adventure countdowns launch.

Our next session reviews the day of David’s termination… don’t miss it.

David mentioned my national presentations covering employee rights, specifically those with a blemished background. For those interested in getting a head start, you can purchase “Overcoming Employment Barriers: A Career Guide to Assisting Challenged Job Seekers (Former Felons, Substance Abusers, and Others) at our website mentioned below.

Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how I can help you.

Danny Hufman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Don’t be afraid to change your career

DSC_0003Satisfied with your career?  Do you find it hard to get up in the morning with a positive attitude?  Are you considering a career change?  You’ve spent half your life, countless hours and tons of money mastering skills to further enhance the career you always wanted, but are you happy?

CC Connection Knowledge Bite:  According to Gallup’s 2013 ongoing study of the American workplace, out of approximately 100 million people in America who hold full time jobs, 50% of workers are NOT content.  (www.gallup.com)  Are you one of the lucky few?

If you are not one of the happy ones, do you start all over?  Beginning anew may require a lot more time, money, and energy.  Who’s to say you will even be successful at what you attempt to do or satisfied with the new career?  Perhaps you are thinking twice as you have an established job where you are prosperous.  If this is the case, what do you do?  If you re-boot, no doubt some will feel you lost your mind while others may commend you for your valiant endeavor.

If something is getting in the way to your career satisfaction, recognize there are many opportunities in today’s society to make just about anything possible. Why not go for it?  Truth is the main reason we don’t initiate change is fear.

Fear can be defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc., whether the threat is real or imagined.

As the survey clearly infers, many individuals go through life repeating the same task day in and day out wishing they had the opportunity to do something else.  Whether the reason is because of debt, children, health, failure, vanity, etc., they find an excuse instead.  People are afraid to make sacrifices and break out of their comfort zones.  Several people I know sit around discussing what they would enjoy doing while making more money, but never act on it.

Good news: There are ways you can control your fears when it comes to drastic changes.

  • One way is to change your daily routine in small increments. For instance, try waking up thirty-minutes earlier than you normally would.
  • Influence your mind by reading an inspirational quote or listening to a motivational speaker, enhancing relaxion.
  • Venture to new places alone each week; go to a movie, have a meal, or take a brisk walk in a park.

These three simple ways can help you resolve fears by building self-esteem while keeping a positive attitude to whatever may come.

If you are truly unhappy with what you are doing in your career and want a change, don’t let fear stop you.  The only one you really hurt is yourself.  If you continue to procrastinate because you are fearful, it will take you that much longer to achieve what you really want.  Don’t go through life regretting what may have been because it will pass by a lot faster than you can imagine.

Penned by
Caroline Kika-Smithwich
Your CC Connection

Interview Attire, The Sequel

DSC_0082A few days ago we reviewed professional attire for the ladies, now it’s time to shift our attention to the fellas out there:

Men, you do not have as many options as women when they are dressing for an interview.  You really have few choices on how to dress appropriately for an interview. These tips are for you and should be taken seriously if you really want that job.

  • Wear a suit, with tie
  • This includes a long sleeve dress shirt, white in color, or matching the suit you are wearing
  • Dress socks are a must
  • A belt adds to the professional look, even if you do not require wearing one
  • Dress shoes should be polished and shined
  • Hair should be cut neatly
  • Beards and mustaches must be trimmed
  • Nails should be cut short and neat
  • Briefcase, containing your portfolio

Next is a list of what should NOT be worn to an interview and applies to men and women.  If you find that you wear any of these items below, you may want to reconsider how you are dressing for interviews.

  • Jeans, t-shirts, shorts, or cut-offs of any kind
  • Tennis shoes, boots, or flip flops
  • Excessive jewelry, keep it to a minimum
  • Overpowering aftershave, colognes, or perfumes (notice deodorant is not included here)
  • Cell phones are NOT part of dressing for an interview, leave it in the car
  • Do not allow tattoos to show and if you have piercings in places other than your ears, take them out

Common sense rules that you should always apply, even though they are common sense sometimes people just don’t get it.

  • Prepare your outfit the day before
  • Do not go into the interview with chewing gum in your mouth
  • Do not go in carrying a cup of coffee or a bottle of soda
  • DO NOT BRING YOUR CELL PHONE INTO THE INTERVIEW

It would appear that this is a quite a bit of information to remember, but it really is not.  Once you have these basic tips down, the rest will follow.

CC Reflection: Think like a professional, dress like a professional, be a professional.

Meanwhile, as for my niece, she did finally get a job using the tips I had given her on how to dress, it is a starter job, but everyone has to start somewhere and the skills she will learn will help her in her future career.

Penned by
Sharon Parker
Your CC Connection