Has anyone been laid off/fired from a job without a prior negative review/event? What was the reason given later?
Yes, it happened to me. I got laid off ten years ago. There wasn’t any prior hint. What a nightmare that was. Had it not happened, though, I would have been doing the same job, or even if I had got a better one in the same line, my general lifestyle would still be stuck on that lower level, compared to where I am today. It’s not that I shirk working. But working more for less money and more hassle is a waste, and looking back, I’m stunned I didn’t quit of my own accord.
Let’s discuss more in the context of your question. Along the way, I’ll suggest a few tips, so no one has to go through what I did after being laid off.
Christmas time was approaching, and I had bad run-ins with the upper management here and there, but nothing my coworkers didn’t deal with as well. Sudden deadline changes, changing rules and requirements without communicating, typical stuff.
I had a tendency to go above and beyond for other people. If I needed to get a certain amount of leads for a client, I would try to get 1.5 times that much. It was important for me to over-deliver. This felt natural, because I had been doing it since I first got hired, and had been promoted because of it.
Then, I hit a wall. One of my managers, this overweight guy we’ll call ‘Alan’, called me into his office with the other bosses. That’s a red flag, by the way, a job where you don’t have just one proper boss.
Alan was the kind of manager who could only be busy by making other people busy. He would have the receptionist go and get coffees right around peak phone call time. He would push new campaigns onto guys like me while I was still entrenched in a current one. He was very good at parading me around as the one convenient example of how busy and hardworking the team was, but also how much management they needed due to being stressed.
Anyway, back to my Christmas time meeting with him.
“You’re setting a standard for this kind of work outside what our clients actually want,” Alan said. I remained composed and asked how they knew that. And how would a company not want better results from its marketing? His answer: “We don’t want to mislead the client into having certain expectations.”
What Alan basically told me was, “We can’t have all of our team members doing as well as you’re doing on a regular basis. If we start to do better, we might slide backward later as well, which would only disappoint the clients. It’s better that they are getting a consistent, mediocre result from us that doesn’t change.” Not his words exactly, but close enough.
All of this would’ve been fine. Well, not really, it was pathetic but acceptable I guess. Then I asked a question. “In that case, why can’t I just be allowed to perform as well as I can, and be rewarded appropriately, and let everyone else perform at the level they want to perform?” I remember laughing then. “If you want to just pay me more, I’m certainly okay with that. Frankly, I’m due for it.”
Alan shook his head. “I’m afraid it makes certain people uncomfortable.” Then it hit me. He meant himself. He was uncomfortable. You see, Alan couldn’t make me overwhelmed. He couldn’t get me to say that things were too heavy, that I desperately needed him as a manager to swoop in.
Honestly, he was irrelevant, and I came close to saying it to his superiors multiple times. To him, that was a threat. In his mind, I made him look irrelevant, as opposed to him just being irrelevant on his own. I never had the nerve to ask outright, but I believe that if things continued as they were, someone would have promoted me to Alan’s level, and then, in comparison to me, Alan would have no way to measure up.
That wasn’t literally the day I was laid off, but I could sense it in the room, it was decided then and there. The other managers, although happy with me, were not cozy with the higher-level boss like Alan was, and so I was ousted. The reason given on the notice was “staff reduction.” Which I find kind of funny. It’s like saying the reason the toilet is clogged is because of a blockage in the pipes. It doesn’t mean anything. Anyways, since the moment I left the office, I started searching for a new job but unfortunately didn’t get anything suitable. People say that every hiring manager wants too much experience, but that hasn’t been what I’ve seen. Often, hiring managers are just focused on price, and will ignore pricier, more experienced candidates in favor of total beginners. . I ran into depression from scraping by. Every decision was suddenly about money, and I hated living that way. I am not a penny-pincher or a bargain-hunter by nature, I’m just not. But, ultimately, that was my problem, and I realized I had to take charge of my life if I wanted money. I realized that getting hired for another job was just one little sliver of the possibilities in my career.
With positive support from family, I began to explore other opportunities. After a lot of ups and downs, trials, and failures, I suddenly realized that I was making money online. It just kind of happened, before I really considered that it was. The experience of making a living this way was so different I hadn’t even considered it getting another job, which in a way, it wasn’t. But I was getting paid almost what I made before, only for much less work per day, and all from home, or wherever I wanted to be.
So put simply, I was laid off for the same traits that allowed me to prosper in another area, and that’s a really important ability to develop in life. Resist the urge to take offense or change yourself due to failure or rejection, instead, ask yourself how you can use this trait that got you rejected. Because everything is useful somewhere.
Before finishing up, I would like to suggest a few tips per my experience. One should never consider himself/herself settled on a job because nothing is guaranteed. Most people want to turn their current job into their entire life and assume it is more secure than it actually is out of fear of having to look for something else. Throughout professional life, one should work on his/her skills and be prepared to make a change, to move forward. There is no age limit to learn new things. Skills pay the bills, especially when you are in a difficult situation and stagnating. Backup plans, be that for jobs or a business, are important. Obviously, those plans should be realistic and well-researched, but if they involve moving out of your comfort zone, it’s probably a good idea.
Being an online career counselor and an entrepreneur, I have a lot to say in favor of this stuff. The world exists beyond the typical nine to five work culture. There are many ways to earn money, attain financial freedom, and live a smooth life. We don’t live shackled to the social class and standard of living we knew as children. This isn’t the gilded age or the middle ages anymore. There is more out there, and it’s attainable.
Based on what I have learned so far from my nightmare job, I have an article to share for helping everyone to handle such unexpected situations in life. My post: I’m Ready to Quit My Job YESTERDAY, How Do I Do It? covers many useful points in more detail. On my website, you can also find many useful posts suggesting the ways to make money online, specifically the Knowledge Base section that has a lot of questions with tons of actionable tips relating to jobs and careers.
If any readers of this answer need my help, please don’t hesitate to reach out.