“Devastated from firing”




Dear Andrea:

I was employed as a nurse for nearly a year when without warning I was let go. No explantion, except they there were invoking their “Employment at Will.” They refused to let me retrieve my personal belongings, saying they would go through my office and return personal things. Within a half hour they changed every lock in the facility. How do I get my credibility back? What do I tell a new employer? They will think I must have done something terribly wrong. This has been devastating to me, not to mention how it’s affected my self-esteem and that I am constantly questioning what I did wrong.
–Depressed and Unemployed

Dear Depressed and Unemployed:

Sometimes employers terribly mishandle personnel issues. This sounds like one of those times. Even if it is their policy, it’s demeaning to let someone go and escort them from the premises. There are other ways to handle this. So first realize that this organization is A) not very smart in handling sensitive situations and that B) the harsh and abrupt way they treated you may have nothing to do with why they dismissed you. They might treat people who resign from a position the same way.
It’s to their advantage to have a better relationship with you so you aren’t badmouthing them in the community. So when you feel less emotional, call or write your manager to ask what happened. Ask what they will tell employers if one calls to check on your status. This may help you create an explanation.
With or without that input, you need to develop an explanation that doesn’t attack them or goes into detail. Since you don’t know what happened, you could say something like: “I had a responsible position at the XYZ Group for one year and had excellent appraisals; I was not privy to what was going on, but apparently the company didn’t do as well as expected and needed to eliminate some positions. Since I was low person on the totem pole, I was affected.”
Think through what transpired and what your boss did bring up in performance reviews. But don’t let their poor handling of this control how you feel about yourself. If, in your heart, you know you did a good job, refocus on that and what makes you an excellent employee.

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