Well, that is a very sensitive topic for many I would assume. My intent is not to throw salt into anyone’s wound, just stimulate some thinking that may help someone get and keep his/her next job.
Let me be clear, many people lost their jobs through no fault of their own. Period. But I don’t think that is the case for everyone. I was one of them.
In my first job in public accounting I quickly found out I had a lot to learn. Accounting was the tip of the iceberg but things like office politics and dealing with others were also in the mix.
I was released in 1970 during a business downturn where there was not enough work for everyone on staff, hence their only choices to stay profitable would be to add clients or cut staff. Adding clients is a slow process, so they chose the latter and laid off about 10 of us.
I had been warned that I was on the list when they made their first cuts, and did my best to do better work for them. When I got the boot, the partner allowed that I had improved but that they still had staffing problems, so I was out.
One of the smartest things I did was to ask them why I was one of the chosen few to get laid off. The answer.. I had a lot of accounting to learn and was also quite introverted which is not a good trait for public accountants dealing with clients. He suggested I might consider another field!
Well I tried to get another job in public accounting but all the firms were in a similar position; too many people, too little work. I eventually got a position as an internal auditor for a large bank that needed accounting skills that I had, maybe more than most of their staff.
The important thing was what I learned getting fired. First, I needed to learn more accounting and pass the CPA exam, the “badge” of accounting expertise. I studied quite a bit for it and took a review course at the U of M to get through it. And I did! Partly to improve my brand and also to prove to myself and others that I could do it.
The introvert side was a little easier. I learned to relax more in a professional environment and let loose when appropriate. I became comfortable with the people I audited and built many relationships within and out of my division. In short, I came out of my shell. Later an industrial shrink would tell me that I was an introvert who learned to be an extravert to survive. He may have been right as I went on to excel in sales and management, all with good people skills.
Many businesses do not want to tell the people they fire why they were chosen as it leads to debates and conversations they really don’t want to have and they want to make the parting as palatable as possible, unless their is a real cause.
I think most of us could figure this out for ourselves if we thought about it. I don’t mean torturing ourselves about our failures, but taking a realistic look at why we think we may have been on the list of people to go. Many of us prefer to think that it wasn’t our fault, that we were discriminated against, or our boss just didn’t like us. We may be right, but if we take a closer look at ourselves w may admit some things that we can deal with, similar to what I did. A lot of layoffs are due to performance disguised as downsizing, I know mine was.
It may also make for better interviewing when asked why we lost our jobs, because if we are prepared and have thought it through, can put a positive spin on our answer showing we learn from experiences and differentiate ourselves with taking responsibility.
Just a thought, I don’t mean to discourage anyone. Mine may be just one story, but it worked for me,
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