As my subject line suggests, I have just had the experience of going through late stage coaching from the employee perspective. I am/was a low level manager with 3 direct reports and I am 10 years out of B-school. This employer was my third in the 10 years and I have been employed by them for 6.

The cause for termination was explained as "not demonstrating an appropriate level of leadership for a manager with my position and tenure". My take is that I was no longer perceived as fitting the desired management profile of my employer.

I have three specific questions.

First, how do you suggest that this be handled on a resume.

Second, I'd like to hear your thoughts on dealing with the inevitable "why did you leave Employer X ?" during the upcoming interview process.

Third, do you have any suggested reading or other strategies to help me cope with the situation Im in.

Thank You for your response.

Brent's picture

My condolences.

wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge


Hey. I was fired about 12 weeks ago, and got some great advice from Mark which I'm sure he'll be along to share with you.

Like you, I'm convinced it was more about personality clashes than real inability to do the work - so my first message would be don't feel alone. And if you do still feel alone - type fired into google and see how much stuff comes up.

Second, it's amazing how many few people cared that I had been fired! Most interviewers didn't even ask why I was moving on, and even when they did they accepted the organisation and I wern't suited (I'd only been there 7 months, but you could maybe say the organisation was moving in a new direction and you wern't suited to that). Only one interviewer made me go through the situation in depth, and then she told me she didn't care anyway!

Write up a really good resume, sort out your interviewing technique, hit the job boards and your network and it will come good. I'm now much happier, earning more and it feels like a blip in the past.

I'm sure I have some more concrete stuff I saved, but I need to plug in my back up drive. If I can find anything good, I'll post it. In the meantime my email is wendii at, I'll be happy to trade emails with you.


esanthony's picture


Sorry to hear it. I went through a "strange" situation myself in the past 9 months. I had left a COO position to become Director of Retail for a company that I though had lots of potential. I was released in July of 2005 and after being called back to consult for the manufacturing side of the company, I was recently hired as the CIO of the entire holding company which owns the retail company, manufacturing company and a third company.

It all works out in the end.


Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge


Welcome to the club. When people ask me how I started a successful consulting firm years ago, I laugh and say, "I got fired." I laugh because life has never been better professionally. This, too, could happen to you.

Okay, but to your questions.

1. You don't "handle" firing on your resume. You list this past job just like all the others. You didn't list why you left the other jobs, so don't start with bad news. Remember that a resume is BY DEFINITION an abbreviation of your life. You're not saying everything... in fact, you're selling.

2. When asked, say, "I was fired." Now, in order to help you flesh that out more fully, I'll need to know more, so send me a private message and I'll reply with my phone number, and we can chat. (Please, folks, don't use this as an excuse of a rash of private messages. Check the time on this post).

3. I don't have any books, but I will put together a standard packet of stuff I send to folks like us who have been fired. Articles, etc.

Other strategies: Build a bridge and get the hell over it. I've come to realize that being fired as like a scene in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Towards the beginning, Indy goes to Nepal to retrieve a medallion. There's a huge fight in a bar, lots of mayhem, and at point one of the bad guys gets the drop on our hero, and Indy has no gun, and this guy's gun is pointed RIGHT AT HIM. Indy KNOWS he's toast. The gun goes off, and Indy jumps and reaches for his chest, and looks down. He's stunned to find a lack of gaping holes, and looks up... to find the bad guy going down, thanks to his girlfriend shooting him.

THAT is what firing is like. You think at first you've been shot, but you take a quick check, and think, HEY, I'm okay.

And you are...and soon you will feel that way too.

I'll tell you a funny story. I was treated pretty poorly when I was fired, and there were some things done that were just clumsy. By the time I got home 15 minutes after being fired, I was pretty much over it. God still loved me, and I was still pretty much myself. My wife was still in bed - it was first thing in the morning. I told her why I was home so soon, and let me tell you, she was STUNNED, and surely scared a TON.

But, as I said, I was already over it. And when she asked, "what are we going to do?" I said, "Well, I don't know about you, but I'm going to get a cup of coffee." It was, after all, 8:30 am....

I don't recommend this course of action, but I share it to suggest things will get better when you let go of the idea that you are your job.

Have you told your spouse? Don't laugh. Some folks wait. If you haven't, you're headed to the fifth circle of hell, and you deserve to be there. Step up and speak up to your mate, or regret it forever, and expect to pay for it that long as well. (Sorry to go on, no intent to offend, but this is far more common than you realize.)

Tell all your friends what has happened. DO NOT SUGARCOAT it. Don't finesse it. Be blunt. "Hey, Bob, want you to know I got fired yesterday. (More on what to say at this point after we chat). Once I get my resume together I'd love to send it to you. Don't overreact; I'm fine. ..."


This candor will ABSOLUTELY come across as confidence. I GUARANTEE it. The longer you hide it, the worse it will be.

Virtually every CEO or senior exec I know has had their head handed to them at least once.

You'll be fine. Sooner if you let yourself.

I turned out okay. :wink:


Todd G's picture

Dear The4pz,

Sorry to hear about this. Although it's been a little while since the last post, you probably have landed a new job. If so, congratulations. If not, keep plugging away, it will happen.

I too was fired from my job in 1999. After working for the company for 6 years and gradually gaining seniority, the pieces fell apart. I work in healthcare and this was in a time where the young still were eaten by their superiors. Although times were getting better, my manager I felt, was feeling threatened by my success and felt that I wanted her job. Well needless to say, I was completely ambushed.

There was no coaching or phase 1, 2, 3, or 4... It was just plain You're Fired. No specific reasons given, although an incident that occured several months prior was brought up as a key factor. Sorry, for not following the chain of command when I wrote up a physician who refused to come and evaluate a very critical patient that ended up coding and dying. Sorry for being a critical care nurse and a very strong patient advocate. The Wonders of an "AT WILL" State.

It was probably one of the best things that ever happend to me. I did have the opportunity to resign with a confidential letter in my employement record and was told that I could apply for another position in the company after 6 months. Like that ever happend.

Needless to say, The HR director and the manager that fired me, were both fired two years ago. Justice, in due time.

Keep the course and you will succeed.

Good Luck.