When Job Termination Goes “Sideways”

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Questions to Ask in these situations:
1. What would you do as the employee if you were the one these leaders were discussing?
Maintain composure: It’s natural to feel upset or angry upon receiving such text messages, but it’s crucial to stay calm and composed. Take a deep breath and try to control your emotions before responding.

Document the evidence: Preserve the text messages as evidence by taking screenshots or saving them. This documentation may be valuable if you need to address the situation later with filing for unemployment or seek legal advice.

Analyze the situation objectively: Assess the content of the messages and try to understand the reasons behind the decision. Look for any constructive feedback or reasons provided that may help you gain insight into the situation.

Seek clarification: If the messages lack clarity or leave you with unanswered questions, consider reaching out to your manager or supervisor to seek clarification in a professional manner. Approach the conversation with an open mind and a desire to understand the situation better. I would not advise you address this situation right away, they may just terminate you immediately since the employer was not discreet with this information.

Remain professional in your response: When responding to the text messages or discussing the situation, maintain a professional tone. Avoid engaging in arguments or making any negative remarks that may escalate the situation further. Focus on expressing your desire for clarity and understanding. Again, you may want to delay responding to this text message, just to assure you are gathering all of your documentation.

Seek support: If you feel overwhelmed or uncertain about how to handle the situation, it can be helpful to seek support from a trusted colleague, mentor, or even a professional advisor, such as an employment attorney or HR representative. They can provide guidance based on their expertise and knowledge of the situation.

Prepare for the future: While it may be challenging, try to stay focused on your professional goals and plan for the next steps in your career. Update your resume, start networking, and consider any potential opportunities that align with your skills and interests. If you need help with updating your resume, learn more here.

Remember, maintaining professionalism throughout this process is essential for your own well-being and future career prospects.

2. Did the employers handle this situation professionally?
No, discussing the termination of an employee via text messages with other leaders is generally not considered a professional approach. Ideally, sensitive employment matters such as terminations should be addressed through a face-to-face meetings or at least through a formal written communication like an email or official letter.

Text messages may lack the necessary clarity, context, and professionalism required for such conversations. It is generally best practice for employers to handle these matters in a more direct and personal manner to ensure clear communication and allow for any necessary discussion or clarification for the employee(s) and the leaders with whom they are discussing the termination. If you are a new business owner who finds themselves in this predicament, as an HR Consultant, I can help you navigate through employee terminations with more professionalism and strategy. Connect with me here to learn more.

3. How do you as a career professional prepare for this type of “quiet firing” situation?

Ask for written confirmation: Request written confirmation of the termination details, including the effective date, any severance package or benefits, and any other pertinent information. Having documentation will help protect your rights and provide clarity during the transition.

Assess your financial situation: Evaluate your financial status and make any necessary adjustments. Consider how the early termination will impact your income and expenses, and create a budget to manage your finances during the transition period. If applicable, explore options for unemployment benefits or any other financial support that may be available to you.

Update your resume and start job searching: Begin updating your resume, LinkedIn profile, and any other professional profiles. Start exploring job opportunities, networking, and connecting with colleagues, mentors, and industry contacts who may assist you in your job search. If you need additional assistance with your job search, resumes, references and recommendations, let’s start here.

Seek references and recommendations: Request professional references and recommendations from supervisors or colleagues who can vouch for your skills, accomplishments, and work ethic. These endorsements can enhance your credibility during the job application process.

Prioritize self-care and emotional well-being: Dealing with termination can be emotionally challenging. Prioritize self-care and seek support from friends, family, or professionals if needed. Taking care of your mental and emotional well-being is crucial during this time.

Remember that each situation is unique, and it’s important to consider seeking advice from an employment attorney or HR professional who can provide guidance based on your specific circumstances and local labor laws.

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