Tag Archives: fired

Bridge Burning: A Matter of Trust

No doubt you’ve heard the cliché “don’t burn bridges,” but what does it mean in relation to professional development and does it really matter?

Blog 03-31-15 long pierGiven the vast digital networking system, what one does (or doesn’t do) often will find its way to the curious observer and/or potential hiring manager. In other words, YES, it does matter.

Burning bridges can be as simple as not giving a courteous two-week notice, to acting in a nonprofessional manner, and to searching for a job while on a current one (literally). To clarify reasons for the crumble, we’ll review each of the three paths mentioned.

  • Not giving a professional two-week notice. If employed and accepting another offer, professionalism dictates you give the current employer adequate notice to find a replacement or proactively train an existing peer. By not giving proper notice, the company could suffer financial loss, peer hardship, and/or customer disapproval.
  • Acting in a nonprofessional manner. If you’ve been in the workforce for any time at all, you’ve seen fellow (ex) employees do some rather unusual things during separation. Yelling, cursing, throwing things or bouts of anger will automatically drive an immovable chasm.
  • Searching for a job while on a current one. I’ve seen this more times than I wish to admit but for any employee not satisfied with their employment situation, this is fast-pass ticket out. Taking advantage of company equipment (computer, phone, and time) to search for and inquire about another job is downright unethical. Do yourself a favor and don’t rationalize by claiming the search has been done during breaks, that’s not going to fly.

If you are not happy with your current situation, do the professional thing, give proper notice and promote the transition for both parties (you and company). Most employers know if their workers are glad to be part of the organization so you’re not fooling anyone via covert actions. What you have done is break the bonds of trust.

Should you care if trust is broken? Yes.

Planning on mentioning the job you just violated on the resume or for reference purposes? Plan again… and if you don’t think the job will come up in searches, you may want to think again on that one too.

On a side note, if you happen to be in an industry-specific sector, many hiring managers and executives network at the most inopportune times. It is not uncommon for these individuals to discuss employee occurrences such as terminations, promotions, and bridges. Thus, after burning one or two bridges, there may be no more bridges to cross and finding a new job may be more difficult than expected.

Fair or not, people talk, people search, and people gossip. The manner in which you depart a company is fodder during networking events.

Truth about bridges, a strong foundation leads to many wonderful adventures while a crumbled foundation leads nowhere.

Seeking employment insight and career collateral, visit www.edu-cs.com or if you are seeking material designed for those transitioning out of prison, check out www.CareerBreakOut.com and consider the most powerful book that will change your life: Walls, Bars, and Razor Wire… You Choose.”

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
dhuffman@edu-cs.com 321-972-8919
Education Career Services: http://www.edu-cs.com
Career Break Out: http://www.CareerBreakOut.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… What now?

DSC_0379With employment tenure averaging two – three years, goodbyes are something we all will end up doing more than once. Though professional and personal relationships vary in depth and degree, both do have much in common. For example, in personal relationships, one is likely to run across the “other” now and then, be it in restaurants or social networking. In a professional setting, revisiting previous job positions and experience gained will also be common for years to come.

Given similarities between personal and professional, truth is, there are differences. I need not delve into the obvious and will concentrate on the professional side of reality: moving from one job to the other. When it’s time to continue your journey, two typical scenarios come to mind: voluntarily and not-so voluntarily. As we recently reviewed the voluntary side of leaving, this time we’ll concentrate on the not-so-voluntary side by examining common stages and how to react as destroying bridges is rarely in our best interest.

Being asked to leave a position is never easy, but, for many, an experience to be encountered. For those who have not had the displeasure, the initial shock of being asked to clear out personal items can suffocate reason while, at the same time, unleash irrational behavior and/or words (typically stated for the world to hear). Recognizing the temptation to lash out may be great, it is strongly recommended you keep calm about the situation, remain professional in all areas, and respect the decision (even if you do not understand the reason).

Feeling vulnerable under stressful situations lends itself to denial. “How can this be?” “I’ve given you five years of dedicated service!” “I’m the best worker here.” “This company can’t operate without me.” These words are often expressed by the one asked to leave at the onset… once denial no longer rules and reality barges in, the next common reaction, anger, shows in various forms.

Consistent to the loss process, the initial reaction of denial typically morphs into anger. Again, this is not the time to display anger… come to think of it, NEVER is the time to act out anger. For those giving into anger temptation, the negative effects of a shouting or shoving match is rarely rewarded. Truth is, bridges tumble quickly if anger is not controlled.

For the easy-anger triggered, hold off for a better time and place. Though hard to resist, keep self-talk from burning future references. If you are at the point of boiling over, do whatever possible to take the high ground, leaving the work environment peacefully and safely go to a place where calm can be restored. For many, this would be home, a park, a long drive, a movie, or even just a walk in the mall. Diffusing potential conflict is ALWAYS the first and safest choice.

Measured by a change in attitude, anger often dissolves into a feeling of hopelessness or depression. If you find yourself at this stage, time to recognize you are not alone as most people have worn those very shoes. How you react during this stage can create a powerful new and progressive you or it can diminish personal as well as professional attitudes. Ultimately, this is the time to accept the past as what it is…the past and begin developing a new you. Concepts such as positive daily affirmations and visualizations can help you along the way. On the other side of the coin, holding anger can destroy many tomorrow’s.

Knowing tomorrow is going to be a great day begins with attitude and action. Positive affirmations should be a part of the daily routine (this goes for everyone) as you make a career and life transition. Instead of beginning the day with a “this day is going to suck” attitude, begin the day with a “nothing is going to stop me from succeeding” attitude. Naturally you will devise personal affirmations fitting your situation. The thing is, by telling yourself “today is going to be a great day,” actions will begin to make this into a reality; even if you have to fake it until you make it.

Visualizations refer to “pictures” of how tomorrow will become. Keep your pictures of the future real while developing images of what you want and, at the same time, create a plan to secure each image. Knowing where you want to go is half the journey. The second have involves the plan (we’ll get to the “how” in later blogs).

Partnering with positive affirmations and visualizations, feelings of hopelessness and/or depression will transition into an attitude of acceptance. Here’s another truth, once you accept a job loss, positive growth can come about.

Being on the wrong side of downsizing is never easy while burning bridges can be as simple as saying the wrong thing during an irrational moment.

If approached and asked to pack your bags, think (more than twice) before speaking or lashing out. I know it’s quite tempting to “give’em a piece of your mind” but hold off a few days to consider alternative options and their consequences.

By recognizing the probable psychological stages to be encountered, you can better prepare for the “just in case” situation.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? For those at a disadvantage, take control of your career by taking advantage of one of our most popular guides and learn ways to overcome barriers to employment (arrests and/or convictions). Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact me directly: dhuffman@educationcareerservices.com to see how we can help you.

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPRW, CPCC
Follow Me on Twitter #dannyatecs Blogsite: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com
Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com
West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Bridges Better Unburnt

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are reasons that doctors put “Changing Jobs” in the highest category of stressors. There are reasons you get funny looks if you’re all smiles but wondering why you’re having headaches and/or stomach aches and you say you’re changing jobs. It is a very big deal. And it starts in that one moment of realization when you know…It’s time to move on.

It can happen quickly, or over several months. It could be your decision or forced upon you. But at some point in everyone’s career, a change is going to come and you are going to leave. The stress, anxiety, and questions that come along with this realization can be overwhelming, and these can mount deeply even if on the surface you think it’s no big deal.

The first thing that you have to come to terms with is that no job is permanent. I think a lot of people mistake a professional relationship and the commitment thereto for something more like a marital relationship, where any thought of severing the bond brings anxiety. The point is, if it’s time to move on, it’s time to move on. You need to understand that as much as your coworkers and employer(s) do.

No need to complicate it with emotions, either in your own mind or in your resignation. All that you have to do is take your leave in a way that opens rather than closes doors. Here are a couple of thoughts on how to make that happen:

Respect

The first and most obvious of this is respect. Not only to give it, but to earn it. No matter what position you are in or how you are leaving this job, this is the single most important part, and it bleeds into everything that you will do in your transition period (if you have one). Show your employer and coworkers respect by acknowledging their position. Gain respect by abstaining from negative talk at work. Just because you’re leaving doesn’t mean you’re suddenly allowed to gossip and talk about people behind their back. Continue your work with pride until you are gone. Remain courteous and amiable with your coworkers and employer. Be helpful and genuine. You’d be surprised how simple acts like positive body language, eye contact, and handshakes will set people at ease and earn you respect.

Honesty

By this I don’t mean full transparency necessarily, but do be honest. There is no need to bring your personal feelings and daydreams into this in any way that is not related to your position or your time working with them. So, if it is not a medical issue, you don’t have to tell them every aspect that went into your decision and you don’t have to tell them every reaction you’re having. Hopefully this goes without saying, but some people get nervous and start rattling off things they didn’t originally intend to say. However, you should be honest. Honesty will, in turn, gain you respect. Tact and diplomacy will be paramount (no huffing and puffing about old scores or anything), but telling them that you are looking to advance or focus on a particular area in your career is not going to be met with hostility. And, if it is, smile your most professional smile and hold up your end of the previous paragraph until you are out of the door. Stay above reproach, no matter what.

Be honest with yourself in this transition. Do your research on where you’re going, and be sure of what you’re leaving behind. In the end, most people want what’s best for everyone involved. Be one of those people. At every step, forget anxiety and focus on doing the next right thing, and one day you’ll look back and see a landscape of bridges and not piles of ash.

If you’re in a transition, or preparing for one, feel free to share your thoughts, stories, and questions. As always, I’d love to hear from you!

Stay tuned: Next time we will examine the flipside of job loss… being asked to leave and the common stages defining downsizing.

Interested in developing proven career success techniques or in securing cutting-edge career focused material, including interview best practice techniques or how to write effective resume/cover letters? Visit www.edu-cs.com for a complete listing of available support. You may also contact us directly: dhuffman@edu-cs.com to see how we can help you.

Rikki Payne, Career Consultant, Editor, and Writer Education Career Services, www.edu-cs.com Follow us on Twitter #dannyatecs Blog: https://careerbreakout.wordpress.com Education Career Services: www.edu-cs.com West Orlando News Online, Event and Career Columnist: http://westorlandonews.com

Why were you fired?

“You’re fired!”

DSC_0085These two words are probably the most dreaded and hardest of things to hear or experience during your career.  (Unless you have been lucky enough to never have been, then congratulations and well done Saint Whoever).

Good news: Being fired doesn’t mean you are a bad person, it just means that circumstance, or not so good choices were made and you had to face the consequences of such.

Unfortunately though, if you have been fired, you know full well that it can be quite devastating and such a knock to ones self-esteem, no matter the reason.  True enough, being fired can make one feel as if you committed a major felony no matter how trivial the reason.  Even harder yet is explaining the reason to a future employer, whether on an application or during an interview. On this note, getting fired can happen to ANYONE, as a friend of recently learned.

Sarah worked for a large corporation for a few years.  Hard worker, loyal and dependable, wore many hats and was able to take on any task given to her.  During a time of enormous downsizing, something awful happened.  One day Sarah forgot to clock out from lunch. On the following day she was called into the human resources manager’s office; in a matter of minutes, she was terminated.  Sarah was told that she “stole time” from the company.  This was what one could say, a definite “wow” moment for her.

Feeling stunned, devastated and hurt, she couldn’t believe that after all she had done for the employer they would do such a thing for something so petty.  Had she been a repeat offender then it would be understandable for their reasoning but this was not the case as the consequence of her action seemed quite harsh.

Reality check: It DOES happen, proving once again that we are all expendable.

After this incident she brushed herself off and searched for another job.  In the following interviews Sarah explained briefly what had happened to her, was honest and remained pleasant and upbeat.

Silver Lining: Sarah remained positive and was employed quite quickly and is happier now than she was before.

If fired, how does one go about tackling this dreaded question?  Of course like my dear friend, be honest but be tactful.  Everyone makes mistakes, even the best of the best have faltered along the way, knocking their halo a little off kilter.

One of the best ways to handle this question during an interview is to not be too detailed or defensive.  Keep your response to the point, positive, and then move on with the rest of the interview.  Though it may be difficult, do not be negative.  More often than not, the interviewer is looking at how you answer the question as opposed to why it happened, meaning your tone and attitude about the situation.  If there is a brief moment of silence, take the lead and subtly segue by asking a question of your own at this point.

To help you along the way, prepare yourself now by answering the following questions:

  • How…did you handle the situation after being fired?
  • How have you learned from it so as to not make the same mistake again?
  • How can you persuade your future employer to trust that you won’t make the same mistake again?
  • Did the experience prompt you into changing your career entirely?

No matter how hurtful the experience is to ones ego, often it is an opportunity presented to us that a career change may be for the best and more advantageous in the long run.  Looking back, think to yourself, were you really truly happy in that position?  As the saying goes, “One door closes, another door opens.”

One more thing, there are many other ways of saying you were “fired” without saying the dreaded “fired” word.  For example, “let go” or there was economic downsizing in the company and you were one of the ones downsized.  Or that you were laid off and then pursued other opportunities.

Don’t beat yourself up because of what has happened no matter how angry or upset you are.  Take this opportunity to start looking for another job, one that is more than likely going to be everything that you ever wanted, never stop striving for what you want in a job.

The sky’s the limit, so reach for the stars and shine on.

Wishing you nothing but the best,

Yolande Kennedy-Clark