Terminated Illegally (8)? Commitment to Persevere

Without seeing who you can be tomorrow,
you will never be more than who you are today.

It’s been a rough few weeks for David as he is still coping with the emotional and psychological trauma inflicted upon him last month. I’ve reached out several times to him over the past week but found only echoed silence. Fortunately he was able to pull up his bootstrap and continue highlighting a journey many have traveled.

Before David discussed additional elements leading up to the date of his firing, we took a few moments to examine his mental state of mind and a few techniques proven to strengthen self-confidence and motivation.

David: “Like I said, I just don’t get it. I worked hard, gained respect of my peers and those being mentored, and still it wasn’t good enough. I feel like a failure.”

Danny: “Losing your job will dent esteem and motivation; that’s no secret. But there are things one can do to get out of that temporary funk. For instance, what do you think about before you go to bed and when you first wake up?”

David: “What do you mean before I go to sleep? I think about how rotten it was being fired and how wrong Chity College was in so many ways. I think about this going to bed and it remains to burn my mind’s sunrise. And when I wake up, I just want to lay there, to not even get up and try. Keep thinking about ‘once a failure, always a failure.’”

Danny: “David, you have the power to control confidence and motivation. One technique proven to be effective is before going to bed one should think about a positive event completed during the day. It could be something simple like making a great meal or working on a project or being patient in heavy traffic (without raising blood pressure). Research is clear, what one thinks about as they go to bed impacts the quality of sleep and morning attitude.”

David: “You’re saying think positive thoughts and the world will be a better place? Sounds like a load of crap to me.”

Danny: “Not saying that at all. I am challenging you to think of something positive completed during the day each evening. And when you wake up, make a commitment to yourself that the day is going to be a good day, that you are in control, or that you will succeed. These commitments you make are often referred to as affirmations and can be quite powerful. Rather than dwelling on a hurtful past, center your concentration on a positive future.”

David: “Telling myself does not make it real. What’s the purpose?”

Danny: “True enough, but in order to change, to become more confident, and to ignite motivation, there must be a goal. Affirmations are the first steps to change from being a victim to being the champion you are meant to be. From affirmations, picture in your mind the day how you will feel. Begin with small and easily attainable goals, we’ll work our way into more challenging ones soon.”

David: “Fair enough, I’ll try this commitment thing. I’ll think about a positive before I go to bed, even think about a goal I want to complete once awake. And this affirmation thing, will give it a try.”

Danny: “To be clear, you are not going to dwell on the negatives, only on the positives. You will make positive affirmations when you wake up. I will ask you to write your daily affirmations in a journal as well. By writing affirmations on paper, the breath of life enters their soul.”

David: “Whatever.”

The power of personal commitments and affirmations can be significant and life-changing. As with David, I suggest each reader develop their own affirmations.

To share a bit about myself, my morning affirmation over the years has been (and continues to be): “I am the master of my universe, and I am the power.” Yeah, a bit corny and he-man cartoonish but it helps me recognize that if I want things to change, it must first come from within me; no one else.

I encourage you to share your affirmations over the week by sending them in through the comment page or directly to me. Next time we’ll go one step further with David by taking affirmations into the visualization stage.

As promised in previous submissions, we will detail the cognitive dissonance David had been experiencing over the past 18 months by highlighting external pressures and value-marginalizing techniques forced by Bertha. But first we need to get David back on the right track before the rabbit hole engulfs his confidence and motivation. For those in similar situations, no doubt you understand the reason for the detour.

If you have any questions or would like to add to the journey, contact me directly at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how ECS 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
Blog site: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Terminated Illegally (7)? Refocus the Loss

Last time we reviewed the five stages of loss many encounter during the grieving process, including los of a job. Unfortunately, the effects of being illegally terminated can leave a bruise lasting a lifetime, let’s hope David is able to find acceptance before too long.

Today’s submission takes a curve as we look deeper into YOU (while concluding behind David’s reflection). For those who have suffered a loss, any type of loss, the grieving process can prove to be a difficult path to eventual emotional recovery. With this said, look in the mirror, open truth, and recognize that person looking back is defined by you, no one else.

Your turn: Using the list of stages previously reviewed, explain a career loss you suffered, how it made you feel, and how it affected your personal/family life.

Now that the person looking back is the same person paying attention, continue introspection by responding to the following (only you will be reviewing responses so be honest by expressing the emotional impact the loss created)…

Your turn: I dealt with the above loss detailed by the five stages:

  • Denial:
  • Anger:
  • Bargaining:
  • Depression:
  • Acceptance:

Too easy to sweep emotion beneath the carpet, the cost of jarring pain far outweighs the benefit. It’s a huge relief to accept and grow after personal or professional loss.

Truth is, more often than not, how we react to hardships is within you. How do you think David is reacting to his hardship? I think he’s on the right track but he also expressed how the illegal termination will leave a psychological scar for the remainder of his years.

For the record: The emotional journey doesn’t always stop at acceptance; more work required.

During the course of conversation with David, I shared this thought: “Time doesn’t take away pain, only texture.” For several minutes David held quiet and then mentioned the following:

David:While growing up, my grandfather told me that ‘if nothing changes, nothing changes.’”

His lesson appearing obvious: If you are not where you want to be now, strap your boots on and do something about it.

Between stares and silence, I felt it was my turn to bring forth a saying: “The true definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

David looked away, his voice faltered, hid momentarily, and then revealed how he was finding it hard to get out of his depression because he felt he was used and tossed out the window of a speeding wood-paneled station wagon like a burnt out butt no longer breathing purpose. I asked why he felt that way.

His response was long-suffering, whispery, and haunted by smothering apprehension: “Bertha used me, I feel demeaned each time I remember the discussions and moments we had at the beach; we were alone to the world, just her and I… I listened, consoled, and as she leaned into me, the connection was paralyzing. I was hooked and by the next morning, she had me. I don’t think I’ll get over what I thought was warmth but was only self-serving deceit.”

David went on; detailing events of the evening and conversations during the business trip we’ll share as our journey continues. To say the least, as an objective author and outsider, I am shocked Chity College and Bertha terminated David with such malleolus abandon and without regard to the ripples, personally and professionally.

If you have any questions or would like to add to the journey, contact me directly at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how ECS 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


Terminated Illegally (6)? Five Stages of Loss

Being a victim of termination rarely ranks high on the list of pleasantries. For many, the psychological and emotional distress caused by the loss of employment manifests itself physically. For those on the wrong side of a termination, no doubt you feel me.

The common stages of loss (employment included) many people experience are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Let’s highlight the five stages and examine David’s distress:

Denial: Quite often, the first reaction to learning you’ve been fired or let go is to deny that it is really happening. It’s normal to do this; in fact, it helps you get over the shock. This stage is usually brief and is only meant to carry you to the next step.

David: “Prior to the termination meeting, I felt comfortable. Heck, the email invitation from Bertha did not appear threatening… truth is, I was sucker-punched, to say the least. Once the axe came down, I thought that there was no way this was happening. After all, I’ve had only positive feedback from students, staff, and Bertha herself. And then to be showcased out like an animal on display; the cruelty and total dehumanization presented by Bertha was evil; pure and simple.”

Anger: As denial fades, the reality of the situation often comes back in an emotional and fearful way. It is at this time the concern over how you can pay bills is most pressing.

David: “Though the money was marginal, it was counted on for diapers, milk, and basic necessities. Yes, upset and angry over the process remains weeks later, especially when I allow myself to think about the over-powering and poisonous level of immorality by Bertha, her non-emotional glare, and her sense of snugness. I am feeling better but can’t sleep soundly as I keep replaying the way I was treated like a roach.”

Bargaining: Anger often makes one feel helpless. In order to regain control, it is common to begin making deals and thinking of what could have happened. Thoughts such as “If only I didn’t show up late that one day,” or “If only I was nicer to my boss,” or “maybe if I had agreed to more hours,” toss around our minds and add to sleepless nights. Making up “if’s” is another step to coping with a tough situation. After the “what if’s” run through your head and conversations, most people fall into the next step without realizing it.

David: “I don’t really have too many “what if’s” as the ambush came to me as a total bombshell. I did nothing wrong, falling victim to a mentally instable reptile in disguise… a reptile inebriated by delusion.”

Depression: This occurs when the loss is hitting you the hardest. Loss is a difficult thing to cope with, especially when you realize there’s nothing you can do to get it back. Questions like “How am I going to pay my bills?” “Where will I find another job?” “What do I do now?” “How can I stay positive when all I get is rejection?” can take control of your thoughts. It is at this time that keeping busy and not giving into depression is extremely important.

David: “No doubt depression hits hard and it is hitting me harder than expected. I know I was bringing good to many and not being allowed to share remains the most difficult part for me. Yeah, it’s hard to be positive after this treatment. Quite honestly, the depression continues to cause migraines, sleepless nights, mental irritation, emotional injury, and physical difficulties as well. Unfortunately, over the past two weeks I’ve also gained ten pounds… my cardiologist is not happy.”

Acceptance: This stage is a gift that is not easily given to everyone and is not on a set time table. Acceptance means that you understand why you were let go, even if you don’t agree with the reasons, and this allows you to continue on with your life and career in a positive way.

David: “I’m not there yet. I don’t agree with the reasons as they were muddled by semantics. No doubt I will get over this travesty and the level of support by way of emails and calls has been a true blessing. For those, thank you for allowing a few sparks of light to enter a world smothered by forced apathy.”

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s “Five Stages of Grief” mentioned above categorizes what many experience due to job loss. David’s reaction fits the process, and I look forward to where his journey takes us all.

Next time we’ll be delving deeper into the five stages of loss, focusing attention to those who have experienced a job loss and developing a way to refocus the pain into a more positive and progressive step to career success… you don’t want to miss our next episode.

If you have any questions or would like to add to the journey, contact me directly at dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how ECS 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
Education Career Services Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com


Didn’t get the job? Look at your hair lately?

Does your hair define who you are…in an interview?

DSC_0022As you sit twisting away at your dreads, you wonder why you didn’t get the job you always wanted, knowing you were qualified and you made a great first impression. Not being able to put your finger on a specific reason for not being called back leads to immense frustration.

Did you ever think that it may just have been because of those beautiful locks flowing from your head? Believe it or not, what you have on top of your head can have a major impact when it comes to career marketing.

Truth is, as seasons and styles change, so do hair styles. In order to better prepare yourself for that elusive interview, you must consider hair do’s and don’ts.

On a personal note, I have come across many jobs where hair was the reason for not getting the job. Thus, the next question surfaces: What is so important about the way your hair looks that makes an employer decide whether or not they will hire you?

First and foremost you must recognize that “Corporate America” has dress codes, even for hair. Most hair issues revolve around old-fashioned blue collar Monday – Friday 9-5 jobs. Given the conservative nature, many companies are concerned about image in order not to be frowned upon by mainstream America.

Natural Hair vs Straight

Natural curly hair, aka Afro, is a way for African Americans, as well as other nationalities with the same hair type, to embrace their roots. Unfortunately, there remain many negative stereotypes revolving around hairstyles. For example, many employers believe that big natural curly afro’s women wear today says too much about the person. First impressions, wrong as they may be, suggest, natural curly afros indicate the person will act like a “wild individual.” While straight hair indicates “empowerment and confidence” to the person who is interviewing you according to an ORMC HR rep.

More now than ever, women are growing their natural curly hair into big beautiful afros. But are afros too much for the interview? It appears so as “Corporate America” seems to yell a resounding “yes,” the bigger the afro, the less likely you will get the job.

Truth is: According to Afro-State of Mind author Laurie Daniel Favors, many jobs and panels frown upon the idea of women wearing natural hair in the work place.

Colored Hair

Should your hair make a statement? Often you see people topping bright hair colors such as pink and red, even darker colors like blue. But what is your hair telling the people who are interviewing you? Not to cut this short, but It may be best to minimize the shock factor by making sure your hair color won’t make the company feel as if they would be ashamed to introduce you to a potential client.

Career tip #1: Allow your hair color to should suit you, but not stand out.

My hair color was a main issue for me when working for an enormous company over three years. When I decided to dye my hair a color lighter or a color darker, I was told it had to compliment my skin tone in order to fit in with the company’s guidelines. It was made clear that if it did not, I would be forced to wear a wig while at work. Even during the interview process I was told if I got the job I would have to change my hair color upon starting.

Career tip #2: Read the fine print as hair color policies are often written in fine print within their employee booklets.


More jobs have become hair lenient when it comes to dreads as long as they are kept clean. When it comes to initial interviews, play it safe as others still oppose or carry negative perceptions.

There remain misconceptions when it comes to dreadlocks and many employers do not like the look of matted hair, seeing them as not befitting to part of their business appearance.  “Young black men with dreads are often perceived as thugs,” said Dr. Gilo Kwesi when interviewed by Mary Mitchell on the topic.

Many of my friends have gone on interviews at a job that I used to have. During the interview they were asked if they received a job offer, would they be ok cutting off the dreads or removing the braids. Unfortunately, most of them did not agree to those terms and were denied the job because it did not fit in with that company’s “look” guideline.

Interested in a certain job that you know has a tendency to turn away people with natural, colored, or dreaded hair? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to get that job offer? If so, I suggest you stick a hot comb to the hair and color it a solid color. If you want to remain with natural curls, pull them back into a neat bun. If you are not willing to change your hair style to fit the company’s appearance guidelines, you simply need to find a job that best suits you and your hair.

When unsure of the hair policy, remember first impressions are critical, recognize you not being offered a job could be due to what’s on top of your head. One more hint, always research the company and the guidelines prior to applying to the job.

Your CC Connection
Belinda Lys