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You're fired! How to find another job.

Updated on October 12, 2010

Fired from Work

Fired from work!          By Fred Yuson         October 9, 2010, Toronto, Canada
Fired from work! By Fred Yuson October 9, 2010, Toronto, Canada | Source

When you are no longer needed in the company, it is time to say goodbye or the company will say goodbye to you.

Donald Trump’s catchphrase, “you’re fired!” makes you yawn until it actually happens to you.

Meet Mary Ann. She’s a 45-year-old career woman and a single mother of 2. Only three things matter to her: work, kids, and work for kids’sake. But one morning, as she enters the office with a big smile, the old-fashioned secretary curtly tells her to see the manager right away. Judging from the oversympathetic looks of her colleagues as she walks down to the boss’ mighty office, she can sense that something is terribly wrong. Her heartbeat triples as she hesitantly opens the glass door. Her manager that she doesn’t exactly get along well is waiting.

“Here you are. Sit down Ms.Sandoval. How are you?” The manager holding what seems to be an important folder looks at her firmly but acting sad. “Sorry, Ms. Sandoval, today is your last day. Not an easy decision for me but your performance is just below par. You’re fired! Your last paycheque will be in the mail. Please get your things and leave. The security will escort you out of the building.”

She feels the world comes crushing down around her. She can’t hear no more – she can see her manager’s lips moving. But no sound. It’s not sadness, not even despair, but total confusion and maybe anger.She sits there stunned, trying to understand what happens. “Years of hard work, and is this the reward for my loyalty? What did I do wrong?”

That’s it, game over for Mary Ann! When you are no longer needed in the company, it is time to say goodbye or the company will say goodbye to you.

If you are terminated, you will receive one week pay for each year of service - that’s the severance pay you will get if you have worked for five years or more in Ontario, Canada and the second condition for getting the severance: your employer has at least a $2.5 million annual payroll in Ontario or has permanently laid off 50 or more workers in a six-month period because part or all of the business ended. You are not entitled to a severance if you are a construction worker, you say “no” to a reasonable job offer from your employer, and you’re guilty of willful misconduct, disobedience or willful neglect of duty that isn’t trivial, and your employer has not ignored it.

Maximum is 26 weeks severance pay under the Canada Employment Standards Act 2000 (ESA) - unless you are a big-time executive like a CEO where you sign an employment contract that says “One million severance pay, guilty or not!” So, even if you worked for 27 years, for example, you only get 26 weeks severance pay if there is no employment contract that says otherwise.

Then, there is termination pay which is a pay instead of a proper written notice of termination. It is sometimes called “pay in lieu of notice.” The law says that no employer shall terminate the employment of an employee who has been continuously employed for three months or more without a written notice of termination. The amount you will get, if there is no notice, depends on how long you work in the company (there’s a bracket) – one week if you work less than a year. Eight weeks if your period of employment is 8 years or more. Not much - but some companies are a little bit more generous.

Mary Ann feels odd driving back home too early. She is still in shock. Along the way, she stops at Tim’s to think things over. Rent. Credit card payments. Insurance…Food.. “Should I tell my kids? Or should I pretend I still have work and drive somewhere each morning and try to look tired while picking up the kids later? No, that is silly. What about that trip to Disneyworld? The kids were just talking about it yesterday with so much anticipation. Phone my parents? What should I do now?”

Folks, we would probably ask similar questions to ourselves if we were in the same sinking boat as Mary Ann. Fortunately, the word “sinking” is not always true. Being let go, sometimes, is a blessing in disguise. As one door closes, a new door of better opportunities may open.

Some of us- even the best of us, could get fired with no fault of our own (at least 250,000 per annum according to a recent US study), yet we try to find fault in ourselves. “I could have, should have…. ” On the other hand, it is also a learning experience to understand what went wrong and strive to be better the next time. It is a time of reflection and honest assessment on what you can do and what areas you need to improve on. Maybe you need to concentrate on areas that you have a greater chance of success. Perhaps you are more entrepreneurial and starting your own business is the way to go.

Was the termination legal? Ask help in finding a good lawyer from friends who have similar experiences. Do a simple cost/benefit analysis. If it is worth pursuing legal action- that’s your judgment call.

What about the EI benefits, how much, how long? Gather information from or go to the nearest Service Canada office.

It is quite healthy to be angry and grieve at first. That’s what they say and I believe it. It is a traumatic experience especially if you believe that there was injustice involved. You have an ego to protect and there is nothing wrong with that. Your self-confidence may hit at an all-time low especially if you are closely identified with your previous job. At the same time, you need to move on and not dwell on it. Look for a job – it is a full-time endeavor. What kind? Time to make an honest inventory of your capabilities – you have talents and gifts – identify them. Remember that to apply for paid work, you now become the product, the salesperson, and the manager all rolled into one. Perhaps you need training in a job you really like and now is the best time to do it. You can even do it for free through EI if you qualify. Ask around. Go to employment workshops.

Pray. Think positively. Henry Ford said, whether you think you can or you can’t , … you’re right!

Plan. You need a plan to get the job you want. Update your resume and make it represent yourself well on what you can do. Be factual and brief with your resume, avoid clutters, and make sure the grammar is right. If you’re not careful about drafting your resume, your potential employer might think you are sloppy and lazy, and what kind of employer would pay for these traits?

You probably want to stand out in the crowd of jobseekers rather than be lost in it. Use appropriate action words to keep the hiring executive from dozing off. Tailor your resume to the job requirements and don’t forget to follow up. If English is your second language, it is probably better to follow up through email or fax. But practice the face to face interview – you can’t get away with this. A firm -not bone breaking handshake is a sign of self-confidence, look interested, and keep your eyes on the interviewer. However, avoid staring too long or risk being perceived as downright creepy.

Anticipate questions and rehearse at home. Pause and think before answering questions – it is a sign of respect and professionalism. If you know some basic information about the company you are applying for, you are one step ahead of your competition. Yes, questions about what happened with your last job may crop up. If you were fired, choose the right words but be honest and try not to discuss too much about it. And please do not criticize your previous employer. Switch your answer to the positive side – on how you can contribute and how adaptable and how eager you are to learn new things. Being a little bit smart doesn’t hurt your chances, but try to ask simple but relevant questions. Your job is to convince them to hire you – and not to be in the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire” show.

Once you are in the comfort of your own home, write down your interview mistakes – why was it poorly executed and, in hindsight, how should it be handled properly? Or maybe, you handled it just fine. Take note of it as well. And very important – enjoy while you are in a job search. Go see your favorite movie, don’t deny your craving for inexpensive stuff, i.e. ice cream. Life goes on.

Then, good news start to come. Job offers. Don’t rush to accept the first job being offered or risk being like Mary Ann. Look for compatibilities. Do you like the office atmosphere or the work environment? What is your impression of your would-be boss? Remember that no matter how good you are work-wise, it is not a good thing to lock horns with the person who signs your paycheque. Do you like the work and what about the compensation? How far is it from your house? Explore your options but spot good opportunities quickly.***

You can contact Fred Yuson at for your comments.


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      P. Recto 4 years ago

      Great article.

    • profile image

      T. Harris 4 years ago

      Author Fred Yuson makes a serious topic fun to read. Excellent!

    • profile image

      S. Fitzgerald, Director - Talent Acquisition 5 years ago

      Highly recommended for those looking for jobs as well as those already employed.

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      Dwight Smith 5 years ago

      Very useful article for a serious job-seeker.

      Interesting and fun to read.