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Losing a job can be an opportunity to start fresh

As an executive for many years, and like many of you who are executives, my philosophy was always to work hard, often until late at night, show up for work early in the morning and do everything I could to uphold the vision, mission and values of the organization.

Another strong belief I held was that just as every child in school has a gift that we as teachers must find and nurture, so too every employee has a positive strength that we must try to find and maximize.

Whenever a problem arose it was important to sit with each side separately, listen, listen, listen and then when enough information had been gleaned, sit the two parties together and try to arrive at a win-win solution that would work for both and most importantly for the organization and the people it served.

If, however, after both sides were given this opportunity to heal and move forward, the problem continued, then and only then would termination be considered.

Now that I am retired I have occasionally been approached by acquaintances who have been terminated “without cause” and are heartbroken.

My philosophy now is never to interfere with corporate decisions; never question the organizations’ motives or processes and never add fuel to the fire.

As an outsider one cannot fully understand what the issues are and one must never judge. But good advice is always helpful.

So here are some ways to help people who are hurting from being let go.

First of all acknowledge the hurt – it is real.

Comfort them and highlight all their positive traits and strengths and keep reminding them to remember those qualities in themselves. Many organizations offer people an opportunity to talk to counsellors who can help them search for a new job, brush up their resumés or advise them on how to market themselves or start entrepreneurial businesses with the severance pay.

It is important to take those opportunities for advice. As well, it is important to take enough time to think long and hard and reflect quietly.

As the person terminated, try to go over the issues from the point of view of your supervisor.

There may be obvious shortcomings that your supervisor has and it may be that everyone in the office knows about those, but those are none of your business now.

Be honest with yourself; know your own shortcomings – not to beat yourself up but to hold an honest mirror to yourself alone. If there were times when you did not cooperate or when your approach differed from expectations then acknowledge those to yourself and think of ways that you might have done things differently so you do not repeat those in your next job. Know yourself, your skills and strengths and assess what you find professionally fulfilling before you jump into another career path.

Then there is the great worry about future job interviews – how does one explain termination to a prospective employer? Never ever bad mouth your previous employer!

You can talk about downsizing if that was a reason given to you. You can say that there was no opportunity for you to grow but always acknowledge the strengths of your previous organization. Always come across as professional. Be sure to research the new company thoroughly and match your strengths to their needs and demonstrate in the interview how you will be a great asset to them, how your previous experiences can be utilized by them. Show humility, a willingness to work hard, to do the extras and demonstrate your great passion to learn.

Here is your opportunity to shine, to start afresh.


• Dr Vicki Bismilla is a retired Superintendent of Schools and retired college Vice-President, Academic, and Chief Learning Officer.

Posted: Dec 4, 2018

May 2020

Centennial College

Immigration Peel Canada

© CanadaBound Immigrant 2016