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Monday, February 27, 2006

So you got the boot! What's next?

The Star Tribune's Jon Tevlin had an interesting article in Sunday's StarTribune that got me thinking about something I don't talk about very often...if ever? Getting fired. Tevlin addresses some interesting points about the stigma of failure and how to rebound after.
Despite the increasingly public nature of losing (see various reality shows), it is still a significant stigma, said author Michael Laskoff. "People are comfortable with changing jobs, but very few people you meet admit to being fired. It is as much a disgrace as it always was, and getting fired is always personal. Fortunately, dignity is a renewable resource."

You might say Laskoff has failed his way to the top. A Harvard business grad who rose quickly during the Internet boom, only to be dumped -- several times -- from jobs, Laskoff turned his rejection into an industry. He wrote a book called "Landing on the Right Side of Your Ass: A Survival Guide for the Recently Unemployed," runs a website and writes an online column.'s guide to job searching also discusses the stereotypes of someone who has been fired and how to deal with it.First of all, don't beat yourself up...getting fired can happen to the best of us. Don't dwell on it. Instead, focus on what you are going to do next and how you are going to find another job. Keeping in mind that another hurdle - the stigma of being fired - has just been added to your job search. That said, there are ways you can address this issue and put it in at least a neutral, if not a positive, light. What are the way to deal with it? suggests that the interview is where having been fired is going to surface and matter most.
You can be sure you are going to be asked the question "Why did you leave your last job?" Dick Bolles, author of What Color is Your Parachute recommends volunteering that you were fired even before the question is asked, then moving on. Joyce Lain Kennedy, in Job Interviews for Dummies gives similar advice "... keep it brief, keep it honest, and keep it moving." She suggests explaining why (downsizing, merger) if it wasn't your fault. If it was, Kennedy suggests telling the interviewer you learned a lesson and explain how you benefited from the experience. Take the negative and turn it into a positive. In addition, Kennedy provide sample answers you can use when asked if you were fired.
Get all of's tips here.

Read the Star Tribune story here.