Getting fired from a job is never an easy life situation, especially if you feel that you've been doing a good job and your employer seems pleased with your work performance. Don't automatically blame yourself, because your termination might not be a reflection of your work at all -- the economy and financial pressures on your company are often to blame. If you get fired, talk to your supervisor and ask her to explain why. Since employers in most states can hire and fire at will, you might not be able to change the verdict, but at least you'll understand why.
You might have been terminated due to workforce cut-backs, bankruptcy, or a company buy-out. Since financial difficulties, bankruptcies, and acquisitions are often hidden from non-managerial employees, you might not have been told that the company was restructuring or closing its doors. So, employees might be terminated without explanation until financial details become public. In that case, the firing wasn't a result of your poor performance, so ask your boss to write a letter of recommendation or see if he's willing to be a reference as you search for new employment.
Talking Politics at Work
According to an article published on Forbes.com, talking politics at work can get you fired. Even though the First Amendment protects free speech from government restrictions, some employers don't want political discussions in the workplace. A survey by the Society for Human Resources in Alexandria, Virginia, reports that a quarter of employers have written policies on political activities, some of which restrict political chatter at work. If you're extremely vocal about your political views, you might have been fired without warning -- especially if you violated company policies. It's best to save political views for political rallies, chat rooms, and meetings where political discussion is expected.
Co-worker or Client Complaints
Doing a good job at work doesn't necessarily mean that you get along well with co-workers or satisfy customer expectations. Talking negatively about co-workers or clients, complaining about your job or undermining your boss are all reasons for sudden termination. Clients and customers are a company's life line, so offending a customer might lead your employer to let you go. If you're guilty of badmouthing, learn from the experience. Complaining about work is a common issue most workers face. In a career article written by Donna Atkins and published on the Allen School of Health Sciences website, speaking negatively about co-workers is a major mistake because it usually gets back to the person, and talking negatively about your boss is close to the top of the list when it comes to being selected for termination.
Disclosing Company Information
Revealing company secrets is a big no-no. In a difficult economy, companies strive to have an edge over competitiors. If you've disclosed confidential company information, financial details, or company secrets about products or services, it might have resulted in your termination. According to Atkins, even if you've never been instructed to keep company information confidential, you're still expected to do so. In fact, you might even be expected to conceal information from other departments within the same company. Even though it may be a difficult principle to follow, releasing information on a need-to-know basis is usually best.
As curriculum developer and educator, Kristine Tucker has enjoyed the plethora of English assignments she's read (and graded!) over the years. Her experiences as vice-president of an energy consulting firm have given her the opportunity to explore business writing and HR. Tucker has a BA and holds Ohio teaching credentials.