fired en-US The First 5 Things You Must Do After Getting Laid Off <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-first-5-things-you-must-do-after-getting-laid-off" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="unemployed businesswoman" title="unemployed businesswoman" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A few weeks ago, I was laid off for the very first time.</p> <p>I managed to stay calm and do everything I needed to do to make sure I wouldn't end up on the streets in a month. I think it was the shock, but whatever the reason, it taught me that I am stronger than I realized and that I have a tremendous support system. (See also: <a href="">Job Hunting Tips for the Recently Fired</a>)</p> <p>These are the five things I learned to do and to keep in mind if you lose a job.</p> <h2>1. Don't Panic</h2> <p>Yes, this seems obvious. However, it is something I told myself from the minute I started cleaning out my desk. And it helped tremendously. For many people, panic can be crippling. Sometimes when I get overwhelmed, I become paralyzed and don't take care of the basic tasks I need to do to get myself through a crisis. Neglecting basic needs can affect your overall health and ability to keep moving.</p> <p>When you are in a state of panic, you are also more likely to make poor decisions. Most psychologists will tell you that after any loss, it is important not to make big decisions. Before you sell your house or relocate, give yourself some time to find another job. You may find a job that pays more than the one you lost. It's also important to understand what an actual panic attack looks like and <a href="">what to do when you are having a panic attack</a>. Just keep telling yourself, &quot;Don't Panic.&quot; You will be surprised at how much this simple statement will help you get through this time and land on your feet again.</p> <h2>2. Apply for Unemployment and Contact Creditors ASAP</h2> <p>After giving myself time to process everything and take a deep breath, I applied for unemployment benefits the day after I was laid off. This is important to do as soon as you can because it can take weeks for you to get your benefits if you qualify. Also, be sure to check for benefits that you might need immediately, such as health insurance. I called my state's Medicaid office right after I called the unemployment office, and I asked them to expedite the process because I needed a refill for an expensive medication in just a few days. They were very sympathetic and moved the process along quickly. Many people are understanding if you just explain the situation.</p> <p>Additionally, if you have any outstanding bills, such as student loans or utilities, call to see if they will work with you until you get your unemployment benefits. Most companies are willing to do this, and if you have student loans, you can get a temporary forbearance until your unemployment starts, at which time you should be able to defer them. Your unemployment office should offer several services that can help you navigate the free resources that are available to you.</p> <h2>3. Reach Out to People for Support</h2> <p>While I was fairly good about making sure I filled out all the paperwork and made all the necessary phone calls after I lost my job, it all hit me at once a few days after it happened. That's when I knew I needed to call my former therapist to make an appointment. I also called my friends, not only for moral support, but also to see if they could get together for coffee or just to hang out. I knew that I didn't need to be in my apartment alone.</p> <p>You can also find <a href=";_r=0">job loss support groups</a>. Ask your local unemployment office, or try social media. I found a few of these support groups on LinkedIn. Whatever your method, it's important to get your support system in place early on so that you have someone to turn to if you do start to panic.</p> <h2>4. Don't Burn Bridges</h2> <p>Make sure you follow up with any loose ends from your job, such as transferring health or life insurance policies. If you get fired, don't cause a scene. I've seen other co-workers get fired, and a few of them caused such a scene that the HR person had to hover over their desks as they were packing up. Luckily, my situation was different, and they at least let me leave with dignity.</p> <p>But I also called my former manager a few days after I had time to process to tell him that I didn't have any hard feelings and to also ask if he would be a reference. Most importantly, don't put anything out there on social media that would hurt your chances of finding another job. I've seen friends post long, angry diatribes about their former employers, which I encouraged them to remove. Harboring anger is not helping your emotional state, nor will it help you land a new job.</p> <h2>5. Be Gentle With Yourself</h2> <p>During a crisis like this one, blaming yourself will not help; it will only make it worse. Try to take the judgement out of any of your actions, unless you are praising yourself for applying for another job or giving yourself a break. Give yourself some breathing room.</p> <p>Sherrie Bourg Carter, Psy.D offers some useful advice along these lines. Her first suggestion is to <a href="">take time to recover</a>, but she also argues that part of the recovery process is to focus on what you can control rather than dwelling on what you cannot control. For instance, you cannot control what has already happened, so worrying about getting fired is living in the past, which will only bring you down. Worrying about finding another job can also hold you back. Spend that energy on making your resume stronger and finding the right job.</p> <p>Immediately after I got the news, I called one of my most practical friends, who reminded me that I could do all the necessary steps the next day and that I should just give myself the afternoon to call loved ones and process what just happened. This was sage advice, because I was in no state to take care of business. But the occasional gentle reminder to be kind to yourself and focus on what you can control throughout this process will make a huge difference in your ability to function and figure out the next steps.</p> <p><em>Have you ever been laid off from a job? How did you cope?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="The First 5 Things You Must Do After Getting Laid Off" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Ashley Watson</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career and Income fired job loss layoff unemployment Fri, 29 Aug 2014 15:00:04 +0000 Ashley Watson 1197958 at Job Hunting Tips for the Recently Fired (and Some for the Rest of Us, Too) <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/job-hunting-tips-for-the-recently-fired-and-some-for-the-rest-of-us-too" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="fired" title="fired" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Job hunting after you've been fired can be an intimidating task, especially in a tight job market. It may not be a cakewalk, but there are ways to make getting your first post-termination job a bit easier. And once you've cleared that hurdle, the impact a firing has on future job searches decreases. (See also: <a href="">6 Tax Deductions for Job Hunters</a>)</p> <h2>Get Your Emotions in Check</h2> <p>Getting fired is one of the most distressing things a person can go through. The uncertainty of sudden unemployment coupled with the humbling experience of being dismissed instead of leaving by choice can cause anger, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety about your future, and an overall depressed mood. These reactions are completely normal, but they're also unhelpful.</p> <p>To get yourself back where you need to be, focus on positives instead of negatives. Think about your strengths and what you can contribute to an organization. Forgive yourself for any failures and make a conscious decision to move on. If you make peace with the situation, feel confident about what you have to offer, and adopt the view that you've only experienced a minor setback, getting back out into the working world will be a whole lot easier. (See also: <a href="">Lose Your Job Without Losing Your Identity</a>)</p> <h2>Reassess Your Situation</h2> <p>Once you've dealt with the emotional side of the situation, you've got to get analytical. Think about what went wrong, why, and how you can stop it from happening again. Next, ask yourself some important questions:</p> <ul> <li> <p>Where do you really excel?</p> </li> <li> <p>Which areas of your expertise do you need to build?</p> </li> <li> <p>Are you utilizing your skills and knowledge in a way that was satisfying to you? If not, what would you rather be doing?</p> </li> </ul> <p>Getting fired can be the push you need to break into a new area of your field or start a new career altogether, so as you're evaluating your strengths, weaknesses, and goals, think about how they would fit into new positions or industries. Don't be afraid to <a href="">look into other locales for new opportunities</a>.</p> <h2>Take Immediate Action</h2> <p>Getting fired is one of the worst times to take an extended break from working. A hole in your employment already sends up red flags to prospective employers. Revealing that you were in fact fired before that gap could lead them to believe you have even more serious issues. Plus, the longer you go without making progress, the more those negative emotions you're trying to control start to fester.</p> <p>Start your job hunt as soon as possible. The same day you receive your walking papers is a perfect time to begin, but you can take a few days to get your emotions together if you need it. If your search starts getting lengthy, say more than a couple of months, you may want to look into freelance and volunteer work or enrolling in job-related courses to fill the hole. You'll look better to employers if you've been keeping busy since you were laid off. (See also: <a href="">Getting Work Experience Without a Job</a>)</p> <h2>Optimize Your References</h2> <p>You'll need extra good references to take the sting out of the nature of your previous departure. References from pre-firing employers are good, but references from the job you were let go from are even better. Fellow employees should be able to substantiate the explanation you gave about your parting as well as tell potential employers about your positive contributions.</p> <p>The absolute best reference is one from your former managers or other higher-ups. The viability of this option depends on the reason you were fired and how well you performed before things went south, but having a positive reference even after you've been fired can make a huge difference. To maximize your chances, you could try sending a post-termination letter admitting any wrongdoing, and thanking the employer for the opportunity and learning experience. Even if you messed up bad, this bit of mea culpa can sway your old boss toward giving you a good &mdash; or at least better &mdash; reference. (See also: <a href="">How to Get Great Job References</a>)</p> <h2>Describe Your Job-Hunting Activities Wisely</h2> <p>The way you present your circumstances can have a big impact in your job search. Using a statement such as &quot;Actively pursuing new opportunities&quot; in your cover letter and online job networking profiles lets employers know you're available without disclosing exactly why. If you're taking a new career path, Deborah Jacobs of Forbes Magazine recommends a statement such as &quot;Currently seeking to leverage my Equity Floor experience and education into Investor Relations.&quot; This kind of phrasing works well when you're discussing your job status during interviews, too. (See also: <a href="">How to Make a Good Impression at Your Job Interview</a>)</p> <h2>Be Upfront, but Not Too Upfront</h2> <p>You definitely don't want to make any mention of your firing on your resume, cover letter, or online networking profiles. However, you also don't want to wait so long that the employer finds out on their own while checking references. The best time to broach the subject is during the interview. Wait until you're asked to describe your previous job or why you left your former position, and then give your explanation.</p> <p>In the event that you really messed up and don't want future employers to know about the job at all, you could simply leave it off of your resume and avoid bringing it up during interviews. This works better if doesn't have much relevance to the position you are seeking or if you were only there for a short time, but you may still be able to pull it off if you have other career-related activities to fill in the blank. Keep in mind that this will not work for people who are applying for jobs that require background checks or complete disclosure of all previous positions, such as in government, financial, and legal work.</p> <h2>Prepare Your Explanation</h2> <p>You'll need to formulate a statement that gives potential employers the facts surrounding your firing without injecting resentment, blame, or other negative emotions into the story. Even if you feel that your termination was unjustified, you need to avoid bad-mouthing your old boss or coming across as defensive. Interviewers only need to know what happened, why it happened, if there was anything you could have done differently, and what you've gained from the experience. Most importantly, you have to come up with a reason the mistake won't happen again. Above all, do not lie. There's a chance a potential employer will learn the real story eventually, especially if the job is within the same industry, and being dishonest is the surest way to disqualify yourself from a job.</p> <p>Planning out what you'll say makes it easier to be upfront about the situation, but discussing these kinds of stressful subjects can still make you uncomfortable. Even when you're telling the truth, anxiety can cause you to stutter, avoid eye contact, perspire, and flush red&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 13px;">&mdash;</span><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">&nbsp;all tell-tale signs of lying. To avoid raising an interviewer's suspicions unnecessarily, practice your explanation in front of the mirror or with another person, until it sounds natural and authentic. (See also: </span><a style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;" href="">Body Language Mistakes That Sabotage Interview</a><span style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 1.7em;">s)</span></p> <h2>Word Your Departure Carefully</h2> <p>Even if the truth seems pretty bad, there are ways of making it come across better. Avoid use of the word &quot;fired,&quot; because that particular expression carries a stigma that interviewers may find hard to overlook. Using phrases such as &quot;I was let go&quot; or &quot;My employment was terminated&quot; tones down the inherent harshness of the situation. Pairing your big reveal with an aptly-worded statement can then shift the focus from the negative subject of your discharge to the positive subject of what you can contribute to the company. Something like, &quot;My limited sales skills simply couldn't keep up with the fast-paced production required by my previous employer and I was let go. However, I believe my graphic design skills will be well-applied in this position as an advertising assistant.&quot;</p> <h2>Tell Them What You Did Right</h2> <p>Referencing situations in which you excelled at your previous job assures potential employers that you weren't just flailing around Mr. Bean-style, leaving confusion and calamity in your wake. Highlight your successes, such as the number of new accounts you brought in or the projects you completed. If you were better at one aspect of your job than another, put emphasis on the duties you did well. Have your references mention these things as well to support your description.</p> <h2>Show What You've Learned</h2> <p>One of the most effective ways to decrease the impact being fired has on your job hunt is to demonstrate that you've addressed the issues that lead to your firing. If the problem was a lack of knowledge, tell interviewers about the steps you took to fill gaps in your expertise, such as engaging in self-study or enrolling in continuing education courses. If the problem was due to interpersonal issues, explain how you've learned to work with a greater variety of personalities and viewpoints and now have the ability to handle similar situations better. No matter what the reason, the key is to describe how the knowledge you gained will help you be successful in the position you're applying for.</p> <p style="text-align: left;"><em>Have you ever been fired from a job? How did you get hired afterward?</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Job Hunting Tips for the Recently Fired (and Some for the Rest of Us, Too)" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Lauren Treadwell</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Job Hunting fired job hunting job loss Fri, 14 Mar 2014 10:36:24 +0000 Lauren Treadwell 1127919 at Getting Fired? Ask One Question to Get Free Money <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/getting-fired-ask-one-question-to-get-free-money" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="Question Mark" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Getting fired is never easy. There are a whole bunch of emotions that you'll experience: from anger to sadness to very serious concern for your future.</p> <p>All valid emotions. None of them will do you any good.</p> <p>But a few weeks ago I discovered a question that can actually make you some money if you ever get fired. It has fast become my number one &quot;if you get fired&quot; tip.</p> <p>If you get tapped on the shoulder and asked to step into HR's office, don't forget to ask them this one, very important question:</p> <blockquote><p>Will you give me the unvested portion of my 401(k) account?</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>What does it mean?</strong></p> <p>If you've been a responsible employee, you've been contributing to your 401k account &mdash; at least up to the company match. But most companies have a vesting schedule &mdash; which means that money they &quot;give&quot; you isn't &quot;yours&quot; until you've worked there for X amount of time.</p> <p>So after one year, you only &quot;get&quot; 10% of the total they've matched. After three years, maybe it's around 20%, and so on. The longer you stay, the more of it is yours.</p> <p>But technically that money isn't yours until it's vested.</p> <p>But a lot of employers are willing to give you the unvested portion of your 401(k) account if/when you're being let go.</p> <p>Especially if it's not performance related and they just need to downsize. It's not that big of a deal to them and in an effort to make these kinds of moves as painless as possible, there is a good shot you'll get this money.</p> <p>The worst thing that can happen? They say no.</p> <p>Has anyone out there had success with this?</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="Getting Fired? Ask One Question to Get Free Money" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Carlos Portocarrero</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building Investment 401k fired Tue, 02 Mar 2010 17:00:02 +0000 Carlos Portocarrero 5543 at How to Get Laid Off: A Step-By-Step Guide <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-get-laid-off-a-step-by-step-guide" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="The Axe" title="The Axe" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It seems ironic in this economy, and with a high unemployment rate, that anyone would want advice about getting kicked from a job. But last week a question was posed to me, and it was genuine &mdash; &ldquo;How do I get laid off?&rdquo;</p> <p>When I dug below the surface of the question, I realized that the person in question was just done with the job (<a href=",8599,1883614,00.html ">like this</a>), but didn&rsquo;t want to quit outright. Instead, being laid off was a <a href="">more favorable option</a>, with reasons including severance pay, vesting for stock options, contractual obligations, and a much more fitting job opening up soon in another company. Some people even call this the &ldquo;<a href="">no job vacation</a>.&rdquo;</p> <p>In this obviously rare situation, quitting is not ideal. Being <a href="">laid off</a> is a better solution, but believe it or not, being let go or even &ldquo;fired&rdquo; can be difficult if you&rsquo;ve been doing everything right. You need to change the dynamic. As someone so tactfully explained to me, it&rsquo;s like purposely acting like a jerk in a relationship so that the other person breaks up with you.</p> <p>So, if you&rsquo;re in the awkward position of <a href="" title="&quot;I Hate My Job&quot; Guide">looking for a way out</a> of your current job, here are some tips I have received from different industry professionals and HR websites that give you a way out without destroying your career. Some are perfectly ethical, others, well you decide for yourself.</p> <p><img alt="" src="" /></p> <p><strong>To start with, the ethical list:</strong></p> <p>1. First and foremost, check in with HR to see what kind of severance pay and other benefits your company offers. You need to know where you stand.</p> <p>2. If all looks well, let HR know that you&rsquo;d volunteer to take redundancy if there was downsizing at the company. Not only are you making life a whole lot easier for HR, you&rsquo;re also planting the seed that you&rsquo;re not 100% committed to the job.</p> <p>3. Let other people take credit for your good work. And, adversely, you can take some of the blame for projects that went wrong. Even if you weren&rsquo;t actually working on it, people love a scapegoat.</p> <p>4. Nurture your own replacement. If you see a bright, shining star with serious ambition, you can let everyone know that they&rsquo;re perfect for your role. A few comments here and there like &ldquo;wow, that Brian kid is one amazing worker&hellip;he&rsquo;s even teaching me a thing or two, and I earn way more than him!&rdquo; OK, well choose your own words, but you get the idea.</p> <p>5. Start using up your remaining vacation time. This is free money and it&rsquo;s also a good way to get noticed for being absent a lot.</p> <p>6. Have a computer? It&rsquo;s time to become a web surfer. Employers really don&rsquo;t like you using the Internet at work to do your shopping and watch movie trailers. Don&rsquo;t be blatant about it, but if Ebay is on the screen whenever your boss walks by, it won&rsquo;t make you look like employee of the month.</p> <p>7. Sleep at your desk during your breaks. Not every day, but dozing off once in a while can certainly help you stand out as a mediocre employee. If you don&rsquo;t have a desk, use the break room or another public place. Remember, there&rsquo;s nothing that says you can&rsquo;t take a nap during your breaks&hellip;it just doesn&rsquo;t look great.</p> <p>8. Renegotiate your salary. It&rsquo;s usually a delicate subject but now, you have nothing to lose. It can give you the confidence to ask for more and you may just get it, giving you a reason to stay. If you have a new job offer, why not take the terms you received at your new job and ask your old job if they will match it?</p> <p>9. Look into employee benefits and start asking thoughtful, insightful questions. For instance, why doesn't your company have a day care program? What&rsquo;s the paternity leave policy? Can I get reimbursement for professional conferences? Start circulating this discussion among other employees. At the very least, you will stand out as a hero to them and, possibly, a thorn in the side of HR.</p> <p>10. Start enjoying every available company perk. If you have employee discount programs, use them often and in large amounts. If you get reimbursed for further education, take lots of classes.</p> <p>11. Talk enthusiastically about additional education and training in a field completely unrelated to your job. For example, if you work at a tech company, talk about how excited you are about getting your new real estate license.</p> <p>12. The most important rule, and the simplest: Do the minimum. Be less than you can be. You should never be exceeding expectations if you&rsquo;re looking for a <a href="">pink slip</a>. As I heard once, &ldquo;she had delusions of mediocrity.&rdquo; So should you. This is a surefire way to place your head on the layoff chopping block, and when used with another tip from above, it could get you the pink slip and severance package you&rsquo;re looking for.</p> <p>Now, I also got a whole lot more tips that were phrased as &ldquo;more sketchy&rdquo; ways to get laid off or fired. I would say some of them are unpleasant, others just plain rude. I would also say that this is a list of <strong>things you should avoid</strong> in your quest for the pink slip. This may get you fired, but you don't want to burn a bridge completely that may affect your career later down the road.</p> <p><img src="" alt="" /></p> <p>13. Take a look at the code of conduct for your office and begin to bend a few rules, or even break them. Start to mess around with the dress code. Play your music a little louder.</p> <p>14. Create your own, more flexible hours. Turning up five minutes late, taking longer lunch breaks and leaving early shows a nice lack of commitment.</p> <p>15. Redirect your efforts to the wrong places. Spend 8 hours on a pointless task that should take 30 minutes. Rush a job that needs more attention. You&rsquo;re still doing your job, but you&rsquo;re doing it poorly.</p> <p>16. Get noticed for all the wrong reasons. If you have a lot of meetings to go to, don&rsquo;t feel afraid to make comments that are completely inane or make no sense at all. You can also say nothing, and spend the whole meeting doodling and staring out of the window. Put you phone on extra-loud and get people to call you all day. Let your appearance go, stop brushing your hair, allow a stain or two to appear on your shirts.</p> <p>17. Be annoying. A great way to do this is to start cornering people with pointless questions that are a waste of time. Spend 10 minutes discussing something that should take 10 seconds. Ask the most obvious questions that you should already know the answers to. Hang around in the coffee room and start long conversations. When people start to avoid you, you&rsquo;re on your way.</p> <p>18. Become the biggest naysayer in history. Now, every idea is a bad idea. Nothing will work. The coffee tastes bad. The boss sucks. No one wants to work with someone so negative, and it puts you at the top of the lay-off pile.</p> <p>19. Stop smiling. Be miserable. Act depressed. Remove yourself from conversations. Use one word answers. If you can&rsquo;t annoy people with your loud music and silly comments, you can get under their skin by being about as much fun as a funeral.</p> <p>20. Start forgetting things. Small things, big things, just have a memory like a cargo net. From meetings you should be at, to vital tasks, this is another surefire way to raise the red flag that your time has come.</p> <p>21. Interrupt people, often, and with nothing more to add. That guy who keeps butting in when you&rsquo;re talking, only to basically repeat what you just said, well maybe he&rsquo;s looking for a way out of the door.</p> <p>22. Memorize a bunch of useless quotes and start repeating them whenever possible, especially if they&rsquo;re out of context. You can make quite an impression in a meeting if you&rsquo;re asked for projected sales figures and instead come back with &ldquo;Like all dreamers, I mistook disenchantment for truth.&rdquo;</p> <p>23. Send emails &ldquo;accidentally&rdquo; to the wrong people, revealing facts and figures that should not have been revealed. If the boss gets an email from you that was clearly meant for someone else, and the contents are less than flattering, that will certainly be a red mark against you. You can also send pointless or personal emails to the whole company instead of just friends, like a funny youtube video or your own ad for a garage sale.</p> <p>24. Be messy. Stop cleaning up after yourself in the break room. Miss the trash can when you throw things away. Leave your office or cubicle looking like the aftermath of a twister. Untidy is one thing. Being a slob is quite another.</p> <p>25. Use the office equipment for personal use, including job searching (obviously not the actual one you&rsquo;re going to). It may even be prudent to leave your resume in the photocopier. And make plenty of personal calls, preferably talking loudly while doing so.</p> <p>26. Do not keep secrets. If the boss tells you something private and personal, and asks you to keep your mouth shut, you may want to let that one slip out.</p> <p>27. Start parking in the reserved spots. It will really bug those people who think a reserved car parking spot is important, and they will most likely be in charge.</p> <p>28. Become a prankster on a daily basis. Whoopee cushions under chairs in the meeting rooms. Fart gas. Glue on the phones. Once is enough, but when you keep doing it you become a disruptive pain.</p> <p>So there you have it; some advice to follow, and even more advice to avoid. Do you have any more tips? Do you think anyone trying to get laid off is just asking for trouble? Let us know. And remember, this is not advice for most of us &mdash; just the few people who desperately want an exit strategy.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Get Laid Off: A Step-By-Step Guide" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building benefits downsizing fired How-To Guide hr pink slip severance Fri, 23 Oct 2009 15:00:03 +0000 Paul Michael 3746 at You’re Fired! 20 Signs That a Pink Slip is Coming <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/you-re-fired-20-signs-that-a-pink-slip-is-coming" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="" alt="you&#039;re fired" title="you&#039;re fired" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are two types of employees. One has a good idea of what they do, who they are, and what position they play in the company. They are savvy. They know the score. They are under no delusions, and will no doubt leave for another job long before they are ever considered as cannon-fodder. (See also: Laid Off? <a href="">You May Have to Fight for Unemployment Benefits</a>)</p> <p>And then there's the other kind. The guy who could get Gandhi to hate him. The woman who spends most of her day chatting on the phone to friends or doing online shopping. Or the nice chap in sales who is completely oblivious that the recent merger means his job is now obsolete. They all have Ostrich Syndrome. They couldn't see a pink slip coming if it was 8ft tall and glowing in the dark, screaming &quot;you're fired!&quot;</p> <p>You want to avoid being in that second category at all costs. So I've compiled a handy list. If you can answer yes to THREE or more of these questions, you may want to think about sprucing up your <a href="" title="How to Write a Resume: 12 Steps to Your Next Job">resume</a> and dry-cleaning your best interview attire.</p> <p><strong>1. Are you no longer in the loop about, well, anything?</strong></p> <p>This is a huge telltale sign. Suddenly you're finding out about company news from the cleaning lady or the new girl in accounting. If you were formally in the know about all things business related, but now suffer from &quot;the company's doing what??!&quot; disease, the writing is probably on the wall.</p> <p><strong>2. Did you recently screw up big-time?</strong></p> <p>We're not talking a minor faux pas here. Did you lose money on an account that was previously bulletproof? Oh dear. Were you caught having sex on the boss's desk with the boss's spouse? That's probably not a career-enhancing move. Unless you're a real dope, you know if you have screwed up. And if you know, HR knows. It may not be the final nail in your coffin, but it's a nail in the coffin nonetheless.</p> <p><strong>3. Are people avoiding you at all costs?</strong></p> <p>Eye contact is difficult to make with someone if you know his or her head's on the chopping block. Small talk is just as tough. It's best just to avoid that person altogether. So if people are no longer doing that fun &quot;stop 'n' chat&quot; in the hall, or the coffee room empties when you arrive, then guess what&hellip;you may be a marked man or woman.</p> <p><strong>4. Did your last performance review read like a train wreck?</strong></p> <p>Most of the time, a performance review is a whole bunch of niceties. The boss really doesn't want to say anything TOO good, because everyone has room for improvement. But generally, they praise within reason and avoid anything too negative. So if your review paints you as a stupid version of Homer Simpson with less talent than a Backstreet Boy, well, that tap on the shoulder is coming.</p> <p><strong>5. Has your company recently been sold or merged?</strong></p> <p>This is rarely good news for about 90% of the staff. Sure, management is fine. After all, they negotiated the deal. But whether you were sold or merged, the outcome is the same&hellip;changes will be made across the board. A merger means duplication of many jobs. Duplication = redundancy. Being sold means new management, and they always have new plans for the company. New plans that includes cutbacks and layoff. Basically, watch your back if there's a new name on the front door.</p> <p><strong>6. Are you being given impossible jobs with no chance of success?</strong></p> <p>This one is underhanded, which is why it's so popular. The company may need a big reason to give you the boot, especially if you've done everything right and are the life and soul of your department. Enter the impossible task. &quot;Ahh Wilkins, we need you to expand our new line of warm, alcohol-free beers to construction workers.&quot; &quot;Johnson, how's that line of umbrellas doing in the new L.A. store?&quot; You get the picture. If you've been given a thankless task, at least be thankful for the blatant tip-off that you're about to be let go.</p> <p><strong>7. Do you now have less responsibility than the intern?</strong></p> <p>Ouch. Being stripped of your responsibilities is a sure-fire sign that there's something unpleasant on the horizon. After all, you don't fire someone who's got a ton of important work to do, with loads of people underneath him/her. So, over time the poor sucker in management's sights will be given a new job title, less work, less people (or no people) and will eventually have a hard time finding anything of any real value to do all day. Not long after this, that same employee will be out on the street. In fact, if you're at work and have enough time to read this article, you may very well be in the firing line.</p> <p><strong>8. Has your office, cubicle or working space recently been down-sized?</strong></p> <p>Remember poor old Milton in Office Space being moved from one small space to another, until he was eventually sat in the dark, in the basement, dealing with pest problems. Well, this is not so far from the truth. When employees are in the firing line, it's a lot easier to move them around and downsize their environment without worrying about their morale. If you are reading this in your new 6ft by 6ft cubicle with no lights on a 1999 PC with a 200MB hard drive, you're not exactly a valued employee any more.</p> <p><strong>9. Do people whisper more, or does the conversation change as you approach?</strong></p> <p>If you're marked for termination, you'll be the last one to know about it. And being the grown-up responsible people that they are, your co-workers will be quite happy to whisper about your impending doom in a dark corner of the coffee room. Until you show up, when suddenly the conversation will change abruptly to something really original&hellip;like the weather.</p> <p><strong>10. Did your recently receive a pay freeze or, worse still, a pay cut?</strong></p> <p>There are a few reasons this could happen, none of them are good. Either the company is in trouble and they need to cut costs, or you're in trouble and they don't want to pay you. If it's the first one, you may not necessarily be in immediate danger but no-one wants to work for a company that's going down the tubes (read Who Moved My Cheese for more on that one). If it's the latter, well, your boss is basically telling you that you're about as welcome as a fart in an astronaut suit. Begin the job hunt immediately.</p> <p><strong>11. Have you seen a job posting for your company that matches your job description?</strong></p> <p>Human Resources can be crafty. They don't want to fire you without having someone waiting in the wings to immediately fill your shoes. That's why it's not uncommon to see your own job out on the Internet months before you eventually get canned. Worse still (and this has happened to someone I know) they hire your replacement before you're fired and get YOU to teach the newbie how to do your job. Nice. Then they fire you.</p> <p><strong>12. Does everyone hate you? I mean really dislike you with a passion?</strong></p> <p>If you're one of those people who are oblivious to this kind of question, please skip to #13. If you have a thread of common sense, read on. It's not an easy thing to face up to, but you can at least spot the telltale signs. Do you eat alone at lunchtime? Do people never laugh at your jokes? Can you clear a room faster than a pack of rabid pit-bulls? If you're ok at your job but are just not popular, that will be seen as affecting morale. And morale is not something to mess with. Either shape up your attitude, or find a new job that maybe doesn't require you to work with people on a day-to-day basis.</p> <p><strong>13. Have you recently been asked to take some time off?</strong></p> <p>Let's face it. Companies in America are not prone to encouraging vacation time (compared to Europe, where we get oodles of time off). If it's not to use up vacation you're about to lose, or for a genuine reward for a huge project you've just finished, then you are in trouble. When the boss tells you to take a break, they're more than likely telling you that they'd rather not have you in the office. Maybe they'd like to talk about you behind your back (which is a lot easier when your back is in Tahiti). Maybe they need time to figure out how to can you. Either way, it's all a lot easier with you out of the picture. Time off = firing scenario.</p> <p><strong>14. Are you noticing paper-trails between yourself and your superiors?</strong></p> <p>A quick word in your ear used to be just fine. A phone call was great. A stop 'n' chat in the hall was a regular occurrence. But now everything is happening via memos and emails. There's a reason for that. HR requires written/printed evidence of everything if there's to be a firing. A paper trail is necessary to determine that your boss did everything by the book, and to record every single one of your screw-ups. So, if you've gone from getting a few memos and emails a week, to a daily deluge of paper and a full inbox, these are warning signs that you're being watched very closely.</p> <p><strong>15. Are you finding it almost impossible to get approval or 'buy in' on projects?</strong></p> <p>Think back. A long time ago, people would green light your projects faster than the Road Runner on amphetamines. But that's no longer the case. The boss is suddenly silent when it comes to approval. You're being passed around fro middle-manager to middle-manager. You get voicemail 99% of the time you call someone for their opinion, and the other 1% it's their secretary&hellip;who then puts you through to voicemail. No-one is going to green-light a project from someone whose time is up at that company. They don't want to associate themselves with the kiss of death that is your idea. If it happens to be a great idea, no worries, they'll take credit for it once you're gone. The silent treatment is a sure sign of pink-slip disease.</p> <p><strong>16. Have you recently been asked to work on a &quot;special project&quot;?</strong></p> <p>This could have many other names. &quot;New company initiative&quot; or &quot;Confidential research assignment&quot; are other known terms for this. But it basically comes down to one role&hellip;the project takes you away from REAL work and puts you on something that's either mildly important, not important at all, is going nowhere, or is just plain useless.</p> <p><em>&quot;Hey Smith, how is that special project on frozen concentrated orange juice coming along?&quot;<br /> &quot;Fine Sir. Can I ask what this has to do with the IT department?&quot;<br /> &quot;Oh, you'll find out Smith. You'll find out.&quot;</em></p> <p>Rule of thumb. The second you are asked to leave a project you know is important for one that sounds like a bunch of bologna, your career is heading south quickly.</p> <p><strong>17. Are your successes and accomplishments being glossed over?</strong></p> <p>This one's tricky to work out, because most bosses and coworkers are weasels who will happily play down your role in order to make themselves look good. But, judge this one by looking to the past. Did you boss used to praise you up to management? Were you a golden boy or girl? That's great. But if it's now impossible to get praise for doing something spectacular, like doubling company profits, then you're being disrespected and probably have a large 'fire me' target printed on your forehead. If you're not getting kudos, you may be getting fired.</p> <p><strong>18. Are you currently being 'retrained' or are taking coaching sessions?</strong></p> <p>Again, a tricky one. Retraining or coaching is often a way to try to save an employee who has lost his or her way. It shows that the company or your boss still gives a crap. BUT, it also has a darker side. It's another one of those 'cover the company's butt' scenarios, in which HR demonstrates they did everything they possibly could to make things work. And alas it didn't, so they had to let you go. Not a major warning sign on its own, but combined with a few others, this has danger written all over it.</p> <p><strong>19. Has your immediate boss or mentor gone bye-bye?</strong></p> <p>If someone you trusted and respected, like a boss or mentor, is no longer around for whatever reason (promotion, fired, quit) this could spell trouble. This person may have been the only one keeping the wolf from your door. And there's an easy way to find out. Is it now impossible to get projects approved? Are you being left out of meetings? Does nothing run smoothly now that this person is no longer on the scene? If this is the case, that's cause for concern.</p> <p><strong>20. Have you recently been promoted to a position of less responsibility?</strong></p> <p>What a cunning rouse this one is. It's quite simple but efficient. In your old position, it may have been very difficult or almost impossible to get rid of you. But if the company promotes you into a newly created role, with less responsibility and no direct reports, then you have a new scenario&hellip;position elimination. It's hard to fire someone. It's easy to eliminate a position. You can get rid of anyone, even protected classes (older folks, pregnant ladies etc) if you simply eliminate a position. So, be afraid. Be very afraid. If you were formerly &quot;Account Manager&quot; and are now &quot;Director In Charge Of Special Project Development&quot; you may as well clear out your desk right now.</p> <p>Remember, THREE or more and you're more than likely heading for the unemployment line. Take a long hard look at your working life, and do something about it. After all, if you're not good enough for them, then they're not good enough for you.</p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="You’re Fired! 20 Signs That a Pink Slip is Coming" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Paul Michael</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href="">Career Building articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building career fired jobs laid off Wed, 23 May 2007 23:10:57 +0000 Paul Michael 675 at How to Get Fired <p><img src="/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/fire_0.jpg" alt=" " width="266" height="230" /></p> <p>In honor of the recent end of my employment, I thought I&#39;d find some good tips on how to... well, to end your employment! Here are some of my favorites from around the interwebs:</p> <p><a href="">Arrive late for work</a>. Being on time is for wimps. Drag yourself out of bed whenever you feel like it. Stop to run an errand on your way to the office. </p> <p>Don&#39;t forget the coffee. No not for your boss -- for yourself! You&#39;re already late so why not stop for a cup of coffee on the way to work?</p> <p>Don&#39;t forget to get a muffin or a roll too (crumbs on your tie look really good). </p> <p>Eat at your desk. I mean your coffee and roll, not your lunch silly. Why would you want to work through lunch anyway? And take your time — you&#39;re in no hurry to start working. </p> <p>Take a long lunch. An hour for lunch? Are they nuts? That can&#39;t possibly be enough time to get together with an old friend and run a few more errands. </p> <p>Have a drink. What&#39;s lunch without a couple of beers? It&#39;ll relax you. So what if you smell like a brewery? </p> <p>Make personal phone calls. If you can&#39;t make your phone calls from the office, when else will you find the time? Don&#39;t make those calls short and sweet -- chat away. </p> <p><a href="">Whenever</a> a co-worker asks if you want coffee, say, &quot;No thanks, it doesn&#39;t mix well with thorazine.&quot;</p> <p>Bring several large mason jars to work and fill them part way with water and yellow food coloring; display them conspicuously around your work space. Tell anyone who asks about them that you are just taking part in an efficiency study that your boss came up with to cut down on the time employees spend away from their desks.</p> <p>Tell your boss that you intend to spread out your vacation time by taking off one minute out of every 25. Spend all your time &#39;planning&#39; your vacations.</p> <p>Secretly replace the coffee your boss usually drinks with new Folger&#39;s Crystals.</p> <p>Keep a tally of what your boss wears on &#39;casual&#39; Friday. when you see a pattern develop, distribute the tally to co-workers and start a weekly pool.</p> <p>Dress like a pirate for the office halloween party. Dress like a pirate every other day of the year as well.</p> <p>Set everyone&#39;s desk and PC clock ahead one hour and go home early.</p> <p>Some more <a href="">good firing stories to be found here</a>.</p> <p>Forbes actually has some really helpful information on <a href="">how to negotiate a decent severance package here</a>. It&#39;s actually aimed at women, because much like negotiating a good salary, women aren&#39;t always that good at negotiating their golden parachute.</p> <p>Who knew?</p> <p class="blockquote">The best way to get fired like a man is to get hired like one. That means knowing the market value of the position so that you can position yourself from the start. Packing your parachute entails negotiating the best severance package possible. This should happen as salary and benefits are negotiated too, ideally before you even take the job.</p> <p><em>(Picture by </em><a href=""><em>mozzercork</em></a><em>)</em></p> <a href="" class="sharethis-link" title="How to Get Fired" rel="nofollow">ShareThis</a><br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">Written by <a href="">Andrea Karim</a> and published on <a href="">Wise Bread</a>. Read more <a href=""> articles from Wise Bread</a>.</div></div> Career Building boss employment fired job termination Thu, 26 Apr 2007 14:59:29 +0000 Andrea Karim 566 at