I have worked with clients who have experienced feelings of embarrassment and shame after being fired from their jobs. During counselling for such situations, I point out that our society typically assumes that when a person has been fired, he or she somehow must have deserved it. There is an assumption of guilt that goes with being fired.
I then point out that our society typically does not ask the person “What was happening in your job that precipitated your being fired?”
Unlike when a car accident occurs and the circumstances reveal whether one or more drivers were responsible for the accident, when a person is fired people don’t always ask what happened. Rather, they jump to the conclusion that the employee was at fault.
I ask my clients whether they were happy in their job prior to being fired. The answer almost always comes back, “No.” I then ask my clients whether in six months time they will be pleased they are not in their former job anymore? The answer is most always, “Absolutely.”
What being fired means is that there was a conflict between the employer — the person who held power — and the employee. The act of firing simply means that the employer executed his or her authority before the employee demonstrated his or her own power by finding another job.
I share that it is important for the person who has been fired to look at the situation they were in, and to identify the role they played in being let go. Once they have extracted this learning, I suggest that they hold onto their understanding of the role they played so they don’t repeat it, and move on.
Liked what you read? Sign-up to receive my free monthly blog updates straight to your in-box.
Dr. Patricia Turner, Registered Psychologist, Calgary, Alberta