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How Did You Lose Your Job?

Updated on September 3, 2013

I think it would be fair to say, that everyone, at some point was either fired or in a lay-off, and if they claim they did not, they are lying.

I was watching the TV show, Suits, about a high powered law firm and what happens within such a place. In one show, the firm was being sued for millions because of hiding critical documents that had gone to trial. The admin clerk for the attorney had swore she never received the document, which was a "smoking gun". To double check, she was told to go through all the files of the case since it had began four years earlier. Finally, in the last file, she stumbled onto and simply stared at it- the document was time stamped and she had signed off on it four years ago! She at first, thought about shredding it because she knew if she told the truth, her job was gone. In fact, she even went to shred it but could not go through it. Eventually, the truth was told. Her boss refused to fire her. So, the partner did. She was confronted in her office, fired, and told to gather personal belongings and never come back.

A TV show, yes, but these things really do happen in law firms. Maybe not as serious as this document was, but enough to get fired.

I have my own story. It was a contract job and was going well. I was doing my job creating training material for the trainer, interviewing subject matter experts, using graphics, creating large user manuals for products. I was about halfway through the six month contract. During that time, minor issues did crop up, but nothing I thought was serious. It was just before lunch time, I was simply walking to help the receptionist do a chore, when my supervisor approached me, " Hey, I can I see you for a second?" No alarms went up inside my mind, this time. I responded, "Sure".

However, instead of going to her office, we headed down the hall. I asked, "Where are we going?" She responded, "To Lisa's office". Lisa was the HR person. A few subtle alarms rang, but again, I dismissed them because everything had appeared fine up to that point of the contract. As we enter, Lisa, is sitting and we all sit down. It was at this point, I began to feel I misdiagnosed how serious it was. They had grim, nervous, facial expressions. My supervisor began with, " I'm so sorry. I know what it is like". Now my face turns grim, as well. Lisa chimed in like a Hellfire missile, "You're being let go". She quickly with mechanical precision, rammed through the rehearsed mantra of rights etc. I interjected, "Am I being fired?" Lisa paused, "No, you are part of a lay-off. You're contract was terminated". I did know, others had been in a recent lay-off and a new company had taken over the business. I pleaded my case, "But, I am in the middle of a large user manual and training material for a class to begin next week". My supervisor looked as though she was going to cry, "Perry, if there is anything I can do, just call me".

Lisa handed my last check and my supervisor escorted me to my desk. I was shocked. Sick to my stomach. At a total loss and except for myself and two others, no one else knew. She then said, " Perry, take your time but you have 15 minutes to leave." So, I did and left. As I left, the receptionist said, " Going home early? See ya tomorrow". I wish.

I got into my car and called my boss who had been curiously sick that day. Maybe a conspiracy, I thought. It felt like I had been fired. Maybe everything was NOT okay. My boss answered the phone and I blurted out, "I just lost my job, did you know about this?" He was speechless, there was just a silence.He stumbled in his response but claimed he knew nothing about it. I knew I would never find out the truth.

I know a Project Manager who was working at a client site about 900 miles from home as a billable consultant. He was eating lunch in the employee cafeteria when his manager back home called to say that job had been eliminated, effective immediately. Shocked, he simply walked over to his desk onsite, grabbed his laptop, and went straight to the hotel to check out and then drove straight to the airport to catch the first available flight home. The look on the client's face was priceless - it was a true 'WTF' moment when he walked out the door.

Then, there is a 58-yr. old man in charge of buying products for a huge supermarket chain and earning $125K a year. He received recognition for his work with the unemployed from the White House. That all ended last year when he arrived at work only to find he was laid off and asked to pack his belongings and leave. Since that day of horror, he has applied for 400 jobs and only has had 10 interviews. He lost his home and now lives with his family at his 88-year old mother's home. He lost his medical insurance and now has $171,000 bill for a week long stay in a hospital. He would be glad to even have a job paying $10 hr.

What is your story? What are the details?


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    • swordsbane profile image

      William Grant 4 years ago from Wisconsin

      My story is simple. It was 2007 and the third round of firings had been going on in my company. I was asked to a meeting with my boss. It was a "personal meeting" When I saw the HR rep when I got there, I knew what was going on. I was being let go for "unsatisfactory job performance" Although I had been working there eight years and never been talked to about my job performance before, that was the reason they were going with. Although I will probably never know the "real" reason, about a month earlier, a marketing project was going out and they were giving out free iPod Nano's. One of the Nano's went missing and there was an investigation. They came down, interviewed all of us and that was the last I knew of the matter. Since I was in charged of shipping and receiving, they must have thought that since they never could prove who actually stole the Nano (although no one really knew if it was stolen or just misplaced) it was my responsibility and they had to blame someone.

      Unless you can come up with another explanation for why someone with no black marks on his record and no reason to doubt his job performance would be fired for not doing his job right. I'm all ears.

      Turned out, it was the best thing to happen to me. I even sent the HR department a thank-you card a couple years after. I'm sure they were all confused. It would have been nice to see the face of the person who opened the card. It just said: "Thanks for the career change endorsement" I hope it didn't sound sarcastic.