Seven Ways to Say You?re Fired and What to Do When It Happens to You

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Today's employers scramble for creative ways to advise employees of their unexpected departures. The days of employers being loyal to their employees are long gone. We now live in a culture where every working adult should be wearing a parachute just so he or she can land safely when forced to jump from the corporate tower. How are employers giving employees the boot?

1. You have the opportunity to resign. Let's be honest, you have the opportunity to resign everyday. What makes today so special? Well, it's because you really don't have a choice in the matter. If you say, "Thanks, but I'll pass on that today," you likely will find yourself terminated anyway. Employers use this phrase to ease their guilt.

2. We've decided to go a different direction. That leads the employee to believe that he or she controlled the direction of the corporation. Most of the companies I've been around don't involve average employees in the direction-setting process anyway. In reality, the company hasn't decided to go a different direction; its managers have decided you will go a different direction--toward the door!

3. We are reorganizing and you are no longer needed. I love this phrase because it forces the corporation to admit its previous lack of organization. This usually is a cover for some financial decision in which the manager saved his rear by sacrificing yours.

4. We have a new corporate mandate. Ambiguous explanations always sound intelligent, but they really say nothing. Do you really think the corporate head honchos got together to discuss your future? Ask one of those people to explain the corporate mandate and see if anything intelligible comes out of his mouth!

5. We are downsizing. That also is a great catch phrase. Chances are that the corporation will not be reducing its product or service offerings. There's a good possibility that the managers won't be required to reduce their salaries or control their business expenses. It just means the company will attempt to do more work with fewer people. So you either get dumped or dumped on? take your pick.

6. You are being negatively retained. Huh? That's simply corporate doublespeak for "you're fired!" However, in order to even make such a statement, the corporate mouthpiece first had his or her brain sucked out and replaced with Cool Whip!

7. We have a zero-tolerance policy. So, that means only the perfect people keep their jobs, right? This card is played when a corporation discovers a worker using his or her brain. Maybe the employee argued a point or expressed disagreement with a decision. Like a cult, many corporations require their subjects to avoid any thinking that calls into question the bad decisions of the corporate "brains." When you think, you're no longer tolerated!

So, what do you do when you are on the receiving end of one of these statements?

1. Update your resume and circulate it to all of your acquaintances outside your company. Be careful when talking about your previous employer so as not to jeopardize the hush money--sometimes called a severance package.

2. Contact your previous employer's competition... you might be a valuable addition to their workforce!

3. Reevaluate your career goals. Check out the resources available at Dan Miller's

4. Relax. Emotional decisions seldom are smart decisions, so take your time.

5. Look forward, not backward. Don't dwell in the past but rather move forward toward the new beginning you have ahead.

If you are an employee of a company, the chances are good that you'll be terminated at some point in your working career. If you are an employer, you might have to terminate an employee. Whatever you do, just shoot straight. No one likes talking to someone who intentionally is ambiguous. Think about it!

Dr. Terry Hadaway is an author, speaker, university professor, and ezine publisher. His lighthearted and insightful articles are read by thousands of people every day. Visit for more information.

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