I Was Fired And Now Wonder What To Do

Question:

I was fired from a job I held for 20 years. I was accused of letting vendors over-charge us and over-ship us products. I was also accused of getting a kickback from vendors, but my reasons were never looked at.

For example,I bought 120 different O-rings, but their report had only 20 different O-rings. During this investigation I told them these reports did not have all sizes of O-rings.

During my interview I admitted that I had received gifts from vendors thanking us for the business. I know I should not have said that, but I did it because I was so nervous and feeling sick to my stomach. Now my employer is telling co-workers about this and also the vendors.

I left with nothing. No pay, no unemployment, and I probably won’t be able to get another job since I was terminated. I have been having trouble for about 3 years due to depression. Some of that was caused by my separation from husband of 27 years. I started therapy and was told I have all of the symptoms of Bipolar Disorder. They have finally found the right medication for this. I had informed by boss that this was going on and said I was sorry and they did accept my apology. Please help.

Signed,

Fired and Confused


Answer:

DearĀ Fired and Confused:

I’m very sorry so many things have happened that have created unhappiness and upset in your life. Some of them may have been the result of not being sure what was considered right and wrong in the area of gifts and gratuities. Some may be the result of you not being able to fully explain the reasons for some of your actions.

Whatever the cause, your recent job seems to definitely be over and now you have to find a new path. Perhaps the person who is working with you as a therapist can refer to you to some support groups that could help you. Whether or not you suffer from Bipolar Disorder, you apparently have symptoms that are similar. As a result you will need to learn ways to deal with those symptoms both at work and at home. A support group and your therapist could help you with that.

It may also be that such a group could point you to job counseling or skills development training. If not, consider contacting a social services program of your local, county or state government and ask them if they have job training or placement programs.

I think you will benefit from having some sort of help to not only advise you, but to encourage and support you as well. Your recent experiences would upset anyone. In your situation it is probably even worse feeling. But you can overcome those feelings, with effort and a clear goal for your future.

As far as being able to find another job–don’t feel that you won’t be hired because of what happened in your last job. You may not find the job you want right away, and you may have to take one just to pay the bills. But you may find you aren’t asked that much about your last work and why you left it.

On your job applications, in the section that asks why you left, just write, “Terminated.” That could mean many things and is a perfectly acceptable answer. If you are asked about it, be honest, but explain briefly. “I had done a good job for twenty years, but I misunderstood a policy and violated it. I didn’t get to completely explain my side of the story, so I was let go. I can promise you that will never be a problem again, because I will always make sure I’m clear about every policy and procedure.”

That’s just an example, and I based it on what you indicated about your situation. You don’t need to mention your mental or emotional state, and likely will be better off not doing so unless you are asked because it is a condition of employment.

If you can get another job and keep it without problems, you will have something better to put on your next job application.

Your friends at your former work will know what kind of person you are, and will not think badly of you. If you contact any of them, don’t discuss the situation in detail, just say it was unfortunate and you felt terrible about it.

I can imagine that right now things look sad–they would to me or anyone else. But, you have shown strength by getting support for your emotional problems, and have tried to make things right by apologizing to your former supervisor. Now, you will need to use your strength to move forward. Focus on presenting your best self all the time. Look for ways to gain knowledge and skills that will help you in any job. Yes, it’s unfortunate that you were involved in some things that cost you your job. But that doesn’t make you a bad person. You can recover from that and be successful someplace else.

Start by talking to your therapist and asking for resources. Then, research local groups that help Bipolar Disorder clients. Look for job placement help. Then, find a friend or a group who will help you gain and maintain the confidence to do a great job in your next workplace.

Best wishes!

Tina Lewis Rowe