Author Topic: What if I get fired?  (Read 7360 times)

Duchess of Stratosphear

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What if I get fired?
« on: June 14, 2014, 01:29:51 PM »
Hi Mustachioed Ones,

I've read MMM obsessively and am making small steps to do better, although I'm many years from FI, let alone ER. I'm 44 and have been in the same job for 12 years. In the last few weeks, my always somewhat contentious relationship with my bosses took a nosedive, and I'm afraid there may be some backroom plotting to get rid of me (like firing me, not murdering me; I guess there's always an upside if you look hard enough :).

I'm trying to play out some scenarios in my head. I'm single, so there's no SO to pitch in and help out while I looked for other work if I did get fired. Has anybody faced this before? (I searched for threads on being fired, but they didn't turn up quite this issue). Has anybody been fired before they were financially independent and if so, what did you have to do to survive? I'm in a small town where there aren't a lot of professional jobs, so if I wanted to stay here, I'd have to get creative. I'd love to hear some stories of people who survived something similar.

I wish I had known how much I would hate the world of work when I was in my 20s--I would have saved more instead of buying stupid shit.


begood

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2014, 01:45:12 PM »
While MMM seems to have a remarkably sunny view of the universe, I think this is a good situation to run some "what if" scenarios, and then at least you would have a potential course of action laid out.

A few thoughts:

Is your resume up to date? If you couldn't use your boss for a reference, are there other people in the office (or who you know through work) who could serve as references for you?

Do you have an emergency fund? How many months of living expenses do you have readily available?

If you had to, could you downsize to a smaller, cheaper housing situation to save money? Are there things you could be doing right now to economize, which has the added benefit of increasing your savings?

Are you tied to your small town? Could you relocate if you found a job in another part of the country?

I took a quick glance through glassdoor.com a few weeks ago, and found it oddly reassuring - companies are hiring, all over the country. Depending on your flexibility, this could end up as a wonderful opportunity for you.

And think about the "circle of control" - things you can affect versus the "circle of concern" - things that can affect you that you have less control over. Focus on your circle of control - your attitude, your spending, your preparedness. And hang in there - this might be a rough patch that blows over.

Cpa Cat

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2014, 02:27:25 PM »
Well, you're not fired yet. So start looking for a new job now. Consider looking outside of your small town, if the market is stale where you are.

It could takes weeks or even months for them to fire you. Don't just sit there like a deer in the headlights - start moving.

RootofGood

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2014, 02:29:09 PM »
The great thing about being on the path to FI is you have some form of savings to fall back on.  In the mean time, you might want to focus your efforts on finding new employment regardless of whether your boss is scheming to fire you.  Life is too short to work in a shitty employment situation unless you are making a ton of money.  Start looking now and make a positive move. 

Villanelle

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2014, 02:33:01 PM »
Start now with looking for a new job.  Also, if you can't afford to be fired, I'd simultaneously start doing damage control at work, to the extent possible.  Whatever you can do--apologize, present changes in the way you'll do your work to alleviate the issue, or whatever else you can do.  It will suck, but it could buy you some time in which to find another job.   Others will likely disagree, but that's what I'd do so that I hopefully kept my current job until my aggressive job hunt led me somewhere else. 

The Hamster

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2014, 04:51:29 PM »
Well first off, I have to say you sound exactly like me at the moment.  I'm starting to experience some mild anxiety about my job security and have started looking around "just in case". 
I have to ask though - what is making you feel this way?  Has anything been said by your bosses?  I don't know what the employment laws are like in the US, but here in Australia it is very difficult to just fire someone who has been with the company for 12 years.  They have to give a number of written warnings and make an attempt to counsel the employee if their performance is not up to par.  Do you feel as though you could sit down with your boss and have a conversation about it? \

And in the meantime, update your resume and start looking elsewhere.  An even better job is out there waiting for you.

RootofGood

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2014, 06:38:32 PM »
I don't know what the employment laws are like in the US, but here in Australia it is very difficult to just fire someone who has been with the company for 12 years.  They have to give a number of written warnings and make an attempt to counsel the employee if their performance is not up to par.

Employment laws in the US range from lax to very lax.  In my home state, state law says you can fire someone at any time for any non-discriminatory reason.  You can't fire someone for being a particular race or age or gender, but you can fire them because you don't like what kind of car they drive or because you just don't like them.  There are exceptions - most government employees, employees covered by an employer's discipline and termination policy, and those in a union, for example. 

Duchess of Stratosphear

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2014, 06:58:38 PM »
Thanks for all the comments, and the reminder about the circle of control especially. Always good to keep in mind.

I do think I could be fired pretty easily. I work for the state, but in an employee classification that serves "at will." I think that language is in there so we can be gotten rid of easily. I hope I'm just being paranoid. There have been discussions with my supervisor, and we are working on communicating better, etc., but I don't trust him and feel I'm under surveillance so that the slightest thing he doesn't like could reignite all the problems. I wouldn't mind changing jobs, but I do like where I live and I'm attached to the house I built. It would be tough to leave. But I'm not fired yet! Maybe I can do some sucking up to buy myself more time. I'm not keen on having a boss and being told what to do, which seems not uncommon around the forum. It's a characteristic that doesn't really endear you to your boss....

I've often thought I should try to apply for a job or two a month just to stay in practice, but I've put it off. I guess I need to throw down the gauntlet and set a job application quota for myself.

Thanks for the kinds words, y'all.

RootofGood

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2014, 07:12:56 PM »
Interesting - I was an at will government employee in "exempt from the Personnel Act" status.  Basically a political appointee.  I got fired suddenly and with no warning even though I had stellar reviews.  They alleged I did one thing wrong and that was the reason for termination (not that they needed a reason).  Then my boss replaced me with two buddies of his that made a ton more money.  Then my boss got fired because the governor was pissed that my boss filled those two spots with his own buddies.  The governor himself couldn't reward two of his political lackeys with these high paid positions (that I used to do for 1/3 the money).  Poetic justice in the world of exempt government employment. 

My lesson would be find a new job ASAP.  You'll be happier long term, and able to advance your career and your own interests if you're working where you are respected and appreciated.  Otherwise, you might get the "Hi Duchess, today is your last day of employment here.  Stuart will watch you while you pack your personal possessions and escort you out of the building" like I did (except they didn't call me Duchess).

Cpa Cat

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2014, 07:09:48 AM »
This is why employers make every effort to document proper cause, even in an "at-will" state. This is a list of things that could be a problem for at-will firing:

http://www.americanbar.org/newsletter/publications/law_trends_news_practice_area_e_newsletter_home/0607_litigation_checklist.html

Given the lengthiness of that list, it's no wonder that most places jump through hoops before firing anyone. This is also why severance packages are commonplace - part of the package is to encourage you to sign away your right to sue for wrongful termination. It is relatively easy for a former employee to make something up.

Exflyboy

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2014, 07:35:13 AM »
There are employment laws in the USA?.. None that I noticed that would provide any protection for me whatsoever.

The other nasty little surprise is that if you did get fired, it is in your employers best interest to make sure you DON't get unemployment benefits as this raises their costs if you do.

I have known several employees who were fired for trumpt up charges that would make them in-elligible for unemployment.

Frank

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2014, 10:29:36 AM »
If I was you, I would spend all my evening hours looking for a job. And I would start cutting my expenses as if I didn't have a job if I didn't have enough emergency money tucked away. You can basically be fired at will by your employer unless you have a contractual agreement that reads otherwise. I don't know about state employees but it sounds like you are in the "at will" classification.

pom

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2014, 11:05:20 AM »
My advice is to be flexible on location. Sure you love the house but so what? Become a Stoic, it helps a lot.

I myself relocated 4 times in 20 years and each time exchange a pretty nice place for another pretty nice place ... but then I have two criteria for happiness: good company and good food. Good company you find everywhere if you are not an asshole, good food you will also find everywhere but price will vary.

Told my boss that I was willing to relocate anywhere as long as there isn't a civil war going on there.

frugaliknowit

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2014, 11:41:51 AM »
I would definitely "kiss butt", maybe even ask for feedback so that maybe you can correct what they're not happy about...?
Definitely put your resume together, get on linkedin if you are not already and start talking to your contacts and look for a job.

Cut your expenses to the bone (no vacations, eating out, unecessaries) until you have another job since you have no emergency fund.

If you are in fact being setup for a firing, see if you can create some documentation to trip them (or at least stall them).  A long time ago, I was in a similar situation and got someone in the bank I worked for to write me a congratulations for landing a new customer and doing a great job on a temporary assignment (the assignment that was supposed to lay me out).  It totally tripped them, giving me time to find another job (they were really pissed at the person for writing it...hehehehe!!).

erae

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #14 on: June 17, 2014, 08:17:48 AM »
One of my top three blogs had a posting on this a while back:

http://www.askamanager.org/2013/09/help-i-think-im-going-to-be-fired.html

frugaliknowit

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #15 on: June 17, 2014, 09:40:10 AM »
The problem with the above approach is that if you are not able to find another job in a reasonable amount of time, your butt will be kicked out.  Nowadays job searches can go a very long time (1 year+).  I think it is safer to just ask what the expectation is and come as close as possible to it.

sequoia

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Re: What if I get fired?
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2014, 08:11:26 AM »
1. Save as much cash as possible starting now. Limit eating out, extra expenses, etc.
2. Figure out your bare minimum living cost. This give you an idea how long can you stay afloat without income.
3. Update your resume. Then start applying for jobs. Network with friends, families etc to help you with finding jobs. I got job leads from people at my church who find out I was looking for a job.
4. If you can relocate, make a plan how to do that. My wife and I decided I would go first to the new city, and move her and our new baby later once I am settled in. This would suck, but I can go into interviews saying I can start immediately, knowing I actually can do this. We also sold our stuffs on CL knowing we wont be taking them when we relocate (extra cash and less stuffs to pack).

Took me 2 yrs to find a permanent job that I like after my previous employer off-shored the entire department. I did some part-time gigs in that 2 yrs.

I now always keep an updated resume just incase I lose my job, or I see something out there that interest me. Prepare for the worst, hope for the best.