Laid off or getting fired?

Q:  My boss wants to see me in her office at the end of this week and I am thinking the worse:  laid off or fired!

A:  There is a big difference between being laid off and being fired.  There can be a long list of reasons why your organization would consider lay-offs—restructuring, resizing, market downturn, cost cutting, and, increasingly, because of technological changes.  Usually the office grapevine is abuzz with gossip that a lay-off will soon be announced.  Here is what you need to be asking yourself between now and the end of the week:

  • What are the competitive pressures on your organization? How is your leadership responding?  What is the status of your group or department?
  • Is your resume current?
  • If you leave, will it be on “good terms”? Will the organization give you references?
  • What is your “plan B”?

Being fired can be a shocking and upsetting experience. At the same time, getting fired is the last step of a long process that is always accompanied by a breakdown in relationships and sometimes in trust.  So, if you think that you are being called into the office to be fired, these questions come to mind:

  • Have you received a warning?
  • Are you on a performance plan? If yes,
  • Did you adhere to the performance plan? Yes/no?
  • Did you improve your communications with your boss and peers? Yes/no
  • Have you been interviewing for a new position? Note—I hope so.

The good news is that being laid off or being fired are two events for which you can prepare.  Don’t ignore the signals, the gossip and your own intuition. And, don’t be a victim and act like it’s “their” fault.  Now is the time to up your game and move on.

When one door closes it time to open a new one.  Good luck!


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