Employment failures: What does it feel like to be fired?


WASHINGTON, March 8, 2014 –  There are many different types of firing – of being fired.  One type of firing is being let go from a company.  This is usually the most painful.  Another type of firing is being removed from a project.  This too can be painful, but typically the duration of that hurt is shorter.

Another kind of firing is losing one of your clients.  This can be traumatic.

Being fired is being rejected.  Even if a better word for the personnel action is transfer, reassignment or layoff, all these actions hurt unless they were initiated by a completely mutual decision.  A completely mutual decision is rare.

When a person is removed from a job, they may feel frightened of the future, and they may feel helpless.  Their confidence may be damaged.

Circumstances of being fired will drive your emotions.  A firing may be caused by poor performance, personality conflicts, a loss of work, the hire of a new person who is perceived to be more capable than you, the placement of a new supervisor with new expectations, and a list of other reasons that are infinite.

These circumstances are what we focus on when a traumatic event occurs like being removed, but we may not have much control over them.

Most employees who are fired or moved to another task without their agreement feel an extreme loss of control.  If the decision to remove an employee is not solicited by the employee, then the relocation is in fact out of the person’s control.

For example, if a supervisor were to unexpectedly tell an employee that he is being reassigned and then reassigns him (or removes him from the company) without asking for his input, this is an extreme loss of the employee’s control.

In other instances, the loss of control may be minimal.  For example, if a supervisor reassigns an employee with the employee’s knowledge and asks for her input on other tasks she might be interested in, this would make the employee feel more in control of the situation.

How do employees deal with these events?  It is not easy to recover after your ego and confidence are damaged.  It is easy to suggest that the targeted employee focus on positives, but this is difficult for the mind to do when negative actions are taken against him or her.

Instead, focus on activities that you can control.  If you lose a client, search for new clients and use new marketing techniques.  If you are reassigned to a new project that you do not care for, look for interesting aspects of the assignment and pursue a transfer or begin looking for a new job in a new division or company.

If your poor performance was the reason for being fired, work on improving your job performance by taking training, obtaining a mentor or other constructive actions.

Those who feel like a victim rarely succeed.  In general, the world is not trying to hurt you.  Being hurt is part of working and those who survive, can thrive.  Those who give in, may not find success.

What can you learn from being fired?  You can learn that you entered the wrong company that was not a good fit for you.  You may find that you trusted the wrong people or signed a very bad contract.  You may discover that your dream job is not the right fit for you.

In most cases, it is not necessary to start all over again and reinvent yourself.  It is necessary to take small, constructive steps to rebuild your self-esteem and find your niche.  As the days and weeks pass, if you are actively seeking a positive new position or assignment, the pain of the firing will diminish.

While the pain diminishes, hold onto the lessons learned.

This week’s prescription:  Find a way to learn from your mistakes and as time passes, you will feel better.

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