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Here’s Why You Were Fired — And What You Should Learn From it


If you’ve ever been fired, it can be traumatic, surprising and even devastating to your life. Often times when someone gets fired, they are not given a specific reason because the company firing them is afraid of the potential legal repercussions when firing someone with cause. Therefore you often hear the term “without cause” or “without reason” being used during an employee’s termination meeting.

How are you able to learn where you went wrong so you can fix it for the next time when the people firing you are not willing to give you any honest feedback?

No one really ever gets fired without cause. There’s always reason for letting go of an employee. Sometimes it is personal, sometimes it is due to mistakes that the employee made, and sometimes it is a decision the employer made based on their own needs.

I mean really, do you really think that your CEO, Manager, or HR professional woke up one morning and thought to himself “Hey! Today’s a great day to fire someone… I’ll pick Bill or Jane or YOU.”? Let’s get real, it rarely happened like that. Good, bad, valid, or invalid, there is always a reason.

There are many different reasons why people are let go, and here are the three that I have found to be most common. Two of them are almost completely avoidable, unfortunately you rarely get honest feedback because of the fact that a business is afraid to open itself to legal liabilities if they fire you with reason.

What more commonly happens is you get called into your boss’ office or your HR office and are sat down. There are usually two people other than yourself present and one of them tells you something like this “We’re here to discuss the immediate termination of your employment with XYZ Corporation. You are being terminated without cause and therefore get X number of weeks in severance pay that you will find in this envelope.”

And then it hits you like a brick. The “I’m being fired” feeling. Perplexed, you proceed to ask the question “Why? What did I do wrong?”

To which they usually answer using a scripted and cold speech that usually sounds something like this:

”You are being dismissed without cause….” or “We simply feel like you are not the right fit anymore.” or “It is simply not working out.” or even worse “This was a business decision and is not personal.” Of course it is personal, it is personal to you and so you would much rather the person sitting on the other end of the desk act like a person and not speaks to you like a robot.

To your dismay no matter how much you fight or how many times you ask for a reason, you simply won’t get one. This of course does not help you or anyone else in this position learn what you need to change or improve on, if anything at all, for future endeavors to avoid repeating the same scenario over and over again.

Amongst the vortex of emotions that you then begin to feel, one of them is inevitably confusion. It is truly unfair to you because you will never know how to fix something when you’re not even sure what needs to be fixed. Often times the same people fall victim to being fired without cause over and over again and they never even know why.

In many cases there really is no “valid” reason and it may even be personal, but chances are you will never find out exactly why you were let go and will have only your intuition to rely on.

Well here it is. The three reasons that I have found to be most common for getting fired:

1. Underperformance

Companies are in the business to make money. If you haven’t been pulling your weight or have been making bad decision after bad decision, then this is likely to be the main reason for your termination.

Take a really close look at your performance both over the course of your career with the company and over the past few months or year. If you can honestly say that you have been consistently hitting or surpassing your company’s expectations, or that you have actually been outperforming other members of your team who still have a job, then performance might not be the actual the issue at hand.

However, if you realize areas where your performance has been under par, think about what caused your drop in performance. Is it really the company’s misdoings or are there things that you could have done to keep up with expectations placed on you. If others are succeeding in similar roles, then they have been doing something that you were not. Try to understand what those things are and fix the problem moving forward to prevent a repeat event in your next job.

2. Bad Attitude

Companies are placing more and more importance on company culture. If you do not fit into that culture then you will probably find it difficult to work there and you will probably eventually either leave on your own accord or be let go. Take a look at your overall attitude and see if you recognize any of the following negative traits within yourself. If you do, then there is a strong possibility that your attitude played a large role in your termination.

If you came in day after day with a negative or toxic attitude

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