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Nate's Workplace Survival Guide Quitting and Terminations

Updated on January 19, 2010



Getting fired from a job is never easy, especially in (say it with me now) this bad economy. You have to deal with the uncertainty of finding another job. The stigma that comes with how you explain this termination. The loss of income as you search not to mention having to ask people for help who didn't give you the time of day while you were employed. (Not talking about me here, nope.)

There really are only two types of termination:

The Kind You Earned


If you steal from the company, or screw around on the clock or just don't show up for your schedule you will eventually get dropped. Or if you show up drunk, get written up or receive too many complaints from customers and coworkers-you get the idea.

There's also a chance that you didn't pick things up as fast as they wanted you to. Perhaps you were fired within that ninety day period we talked about for not meeting their standards. It happens.

The Kind you Didn't Earn


Sometimes you're just one of the unlucky SOB's that got handed a pink slip when the economy hits a business too hard. Last Hired, First Fired is the term here, but that's not always the case. Maybe your company merged with another and you were no longer needed for your particular position.

Maybe you were fired as a result of workplace bullying, or discrimination, something that's very hard to prove and almost pointless to try to pursue. If you do, good luck, just don't hold your breath on getting your job back. At the best you'll get a settlement that you might see about forty bucks from after the legal and court fees are paid off.

Again, dealing with a termination isn't easy. But it's not the end of the world. So dry your tears, take a few deep breaths and drink a glass of water, then put away the voodoo doll of your boss and get out there to pound pavement.

Start filling out job applications. Update your resume and brush up on your interview skills and figure how to spin this termination to your favor.

Get in contact with your coworkers. Is there anyone working at your old job who would give you a good reference? Put their number down when you list the last job.

If you were terminated, but said termination did not involve an arrest, or any kind of legal action, DO NOT ADMIT TO BEING TERMINATED. How you word your response to the question in an interview or the application will make a difference on whether or not you get the job.

For example, this is a response I gave when I applied to the Family Dollar, shortly after losing my job at the Bennington School.

“I had a problem with coworkers and did not get along well with them.”

Bad, bad, bad move. Honesty was not the best policy in this case. And in fact I was only at the Bennington School for four weeks, so technically I didn't have to include them in an application at all.

If you've had a number of job experiences you can opt to leave out jobs where you were fired. Simply explain the time loss in a way that would make sense to the interviewer. IE: You took some time off for classes.


  You should know that quitting and termination are two different things. When you are terminated, for example, your employer is generally expected to pay unemployment. If you quit however, you're on your own from there on out.

Just like terminations there are a variety of ways to voluntarily leave a job, each with it's pros and cons.

Walking Out


Someone came in and took your job. You've been demoted and the new girl who took over your job is a mouthy stuck up bitch. Again, not talking about me here, because I wasn't demoted. However poor Lindsay was.

So one afternoon when the new front end supervisor had run her mouth just a little too far, Lindsay locked her cash register and left. She was no longer responsible for the money in her drawer or anything else. But she provided the new management with an excellent scapegoat when they screwed up the deposit that week.

I myself eventually got tired of the abuse I was dealing with from Rite Aid and I snapped. I dropped what I was doing, politely said good-bye to my coworkers and stormed out shouting “Fuck Rite Aid!”

Now like the termination there are a number of ways to spin quitting the job. If you walked out without giving your two weeks notice, you've pretty much shot your potential reference. And if you walked out the way I did I'd keep the conversation with all management to a minimum.

Since leaving Rite Aid was a catalyst to my leaving Burlington, I spun it at my last interview to indicate that I was simply returning to my hometown and I could not transfer because the Rite Aid there did not have an open position.

Joe, the assistant manager at the Rite Aid I worked at was no the manager at another Rite Aid, and he gave me the reference I needed so that I didn't have to completely erase the last two years.

Two Weeks Notice


It's not just a movie with Hugh Grant and Sandra Bullock. In fact the only reason I mentioned those two was so I could justify using their names in the tags when I post this hub since people will no doubt be making reference to either actor over the next few weeks...but I'm getting off topic.

Giving your current employer two weeks notice is the most popular method of leaving a job. It ensures that you will leave on good terms and keeps the possibility of being rehired by that employer open should the need arise.

It is the most recommended way to leave, however it is not written in stone.


So it is possible to bounce back from losing your job, however you came to lose it. You just need to keep your cool and keep a positive attitude when you get back out there.


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    • GNelson profile image

      GNelson 6 years ago from Florida

      Good advice. Good hub!!