Recommended: Getting Fired Stinks but Here are 10 Things that are Worse

JAN 16, 2018 @ 07:57 PM 66,953

Getting Fired Isn't Pleasant -- But These Ten Things Are Worse

Liz Ryan , CONTRIBUTOR Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

Dear Liz,

I'm in a bad situation at work.  I only started the job six months ago but I'm afraid I'm going to get fired.

I noticed pretty quickly when I started the job that they weren't really  sure what they wanted me to do. First they had me working on inventory, and then one day they dropped that and had me update the parts database.

I'm a pretty quick learner but everybody in this company is stressed out and they hate to be bothered with questions.

Two of the supervisors are especially prickly and they've commented more than once how they hate to give anybody the same instructions twice.

If you hate to give people the same instructions twice why don't you write up some procedures I could follow?

I'm afraid they're going to fire me. I'm terrified of that happening. Is there anything I can do to prevent that?

Thanks Liz,


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Dear Forrest,

If you want to ask yourself "Is there anything I can do to avoid getting fired?" you have to have a time frame in mind. There's nothing you can to ensure that you keep your job for the next forty years, but you might be able to keep your job long enough to find a new job somewhere else.

Here are three tips to get you started:

1. Get your job search going right away. Don't wait in fear for the ax to fall. Get your résumé out on the street so you'll be ready if they cut you loose one day!

2. Write up a list of everything you've learned, fixed and accomplished since you arrived in the job. Be ready to talk about your progress if you get called into a meeting. If you're short of work, go see every supervisor and ask them how you can help them. The more useful you are on a day-to-day basis the less likely you are to get laid off or fired.

3. Sign up with two or three temp agencies in case you lose your job suddenly and need an income.

A lot of working people fear getting fired, for obvious reasons. It stinks to have your income disappear one random Tuesday morning. That's why you have to be ready. You have to take steps so that if you should get fired, you can bounce back quickly. Getting fired is always a disruption to your life but it doesn't have to be devastating.

If your company is running out of money or just feeling vindictive they may fire you and claim that you didn't do a good job. They may try to fire you for cause and prevent you from collecting unemployment compensation. If that happens, fight back.

If your claim is denied you'll have the opportunity to tell your side of the story. Your list of accomplishments and triumphs on the job will come in handy at that meeting!

The other reason people hate to get fired -- and live in fear of it happening -- is that they think it's dishonorable and embarrassing to be fired from your job, even if you did nothing wrong.

If you think about it, you will quickly realize that there are good managers and bad managers in the world. If there were only good managers in the world, then getting fired might really be a bad thing. It might mean that you fell down on the job or goofed up.

However, there are bad managers around. They will fire you to prove a point, to save money or for any number of other bad-boss reasons. That's why getting fired is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Talented and hardworking people get fired for no reason at all.

They get fired because they have more good ideas than the manager does, or because they won't work 20 hours of unpaid overtime every week the way their manager expects them to.

They get fired and it stings and they have to get a new job, but then they realize it's a good thing they got fired. It helped them grow their muscles. Now they know that if some two-bit, insecure supervisor fires them they will survive the experience.

Here are ten things that are worse than getting fired:

1. Staying too long in a job you hate — until you get sick.

2. Putting up with abuse at work because you don't think you deserve anything better.

3. Keeping your mouth shut for years on end because you're afraid to speak your truth at work.

4. Staying in a boring, frustrating job that teaches you nothing because you think "at least I have a job."

5.Working for a manager who treats you like a bug under their shoe.

6. Contorting yourself into pretzel shapes trying to please a boss who can't be pleased, no matter how hard you try.

7. Waking up with a headache and an aching jaw every morning because you hate your job so much.

8. Starting to believe that all jobs are terrible and therefore it's not worth the trouble of looking for a better job than the one you've got.

9. Telling your friends and family members, "No, my job is still terrible but I don't want to talk about it" when they ask you, "Has your job gotten better?" If you don't want to talk about it even with people who love you, how will you ever improve your situation? Maybe you should talk about it, and open a little window of possibility for yourself. Dreams really do come true — if you dare to have a dream!

10. Hating your job so much that you start to hate yourself for staying in the job.

Look at this stint on a difficult section of your path as a powerful learning experience.

You already knew you weren't going to retire from this job, and that's okay.

You need to keep learning and growing. Every time you job hunt you'll get stronger and more aware of what you bring to employers — and what you need for yourself. Get your resume out there and get moving!

All the best,


Liz Ryan is CEO/founder of Human Workplace and author of Reinvention Roadmap. Follow her on Twitter and read Forbes columns. Liz's book Reinvention Roadmap is here.

Nancy Koury King, DM