How Does It Feel To Be Fired?

outthedoorAGetting Fired Always Brings A Wave Of Emotions!

Have you ever been fired?  If so, do you remember how it felt?

Most likely there were a rush of emotions literally all at the same time!  There was likely fear, anger, embarrassment, nervousness, disappointment, guilt, uncertainty, etc.  In some cases, there could also be relief, excitement, joy and a strong sense of sudden freedom.

How a person might react is hard to predict sometimes, but what is easier to predict is how they might be talked to – during the firing process.  Here are some thoughts that may help if you have to fire someone.

Whether you are the person being fired or doing the firing, the experience will definitely bring some stress to both sides of the situation.

As an employer, try to avoid these common mistakes:

First, if you have to fire someone – Begin by being completely prepared for the meeting.  There is nothing easy about having to let an employer go, so understand that you should be fully prepared to do it as best you can and with a proper plan.

Don’t fumble through the meeting with the employee.  Know exactly what you have to say and don’t drag out the meeting.

Present your employee with the required paperwork required to properly complete the process as efficiently as possible. Please don’t force the employee to have to spend time waiting on document that should have been available to him as part of the termination process.

Don’t make comforting statements as they will seldom come out the right way. Don’t try to judge how the employee is feeling about his firing. For example, don’t tell the employee that you know he hasn’t been very happy while working for you and that his being fired just might be a really a good thing for him.  This simply makes a bad situation worse.

Never try to justify the firing by comparing the employee’s work history to some other employee who has been more successful with the company.  That would be grossly unfair, cold and certainly would be harsh under the circumstances.

Clearly explain to the employee what the company is willing to do as part of the termination.  If you are willing to make recommendations or perhaps provide personal references if they are requested, have all of those documents available as part of the exit interview.  Why make the employee wait?

Be sure that you let the employee know if you are willing to help with any particular concerns such as final salary payments, insurance or benefits questions, etc.  If you are willing, be clear to have the employee know that and be sincere about it.

It is only fair and proper that you be open and clear about the reasons for the termination. If letting the employee go is not a matter of his/her performance, but is a matter of company economics, be sure that you explain that.  In addition, show that you valued the work that the employee has provided and be clear about what your company anticipates the employment picture might be in the foreseeable future.

As part of the meeting, don’t being your personal feeling into the discussion or try to convince the employee that you can understand what he is feeling at the moment.  Doing that will not help and it turns the attention toward you instead of the employee.

Try not to get into a heated discussion and justifications for the firing.  There is a strong likelihood that the employee who has been “goofing off” will clearly know why he has been fired so you shouldn’t have to review details with him.

Some employees will want very much to argue, while others will say very little in their defense. The important consideration here is that you not engage in an open argument about the decision that has been made. Instead of arguing, you can definitely listen to what the employee has to say.  You should be as empathetic as possible.

Being fired is truly tough enough all by itself, so in the midst of this horrendous situation, you should make every effort to treat your past employee with courtesy, compassion and respect.

This article was written by SDK Hunter Consulting Group

About The Author:

Sherman Hunter and SDK Hunter Consulting Group staff consultants provide global moneymaking opportunities and proprietary strategies that quickly accelerate business activity. You may familiarize yourself with these unique concepts by visiting the SDK Hunter Consulting Group blog located at:

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23 replies on “How Does It Feel To Be Fired?”

  1. Hah , I haven’t experienced this feeling yet, but after reading this post, it makes me not want to. But I guess going through experience just helps you more along the way.

    1. Well, consider yourself fortunate as many have felt the “sting” of being fired unexpectedly. Best of continued success in your work.

  2. I was fired once by text, I’m not kidding! It was one of the most disappointing moments of my life. If only my employer read some of these tips on how to properly fire an employee!

    1. Our experience suggests that the act of firing an employee is as stressful for one side as the other in some cases. It is always a difficult and very unpleasant event whenever it occurs.

  3. Firing someone is really unpleasant business. I think most of us have been on both ends of the situation. I think the biggest emotion I felt is shame. You’re right, employers need to show sensitivity and tact when it’s time to let an employee go. Very informative thank you!

    1. We would worry very much about the character of anyone who enjoys firing another person. Thank you for sharing.

  4. Interesting. I was recently fired, and I experienced every emotion you mentioned. However, I never thought about the struggle of the person doing the firing. Goes to show it’s pretty awful all around. Thank you for the change in perspective.

    1. Thank you. Every instance where someone has shared their feelings regarding being fired, very similar emotions are described.

  5. Being fired is one of the hardest things I have experienced. I think it’s mostly because of embarrassment, but it shows there’s always something to learn. Love the comments, really shows both perspectives.

    1. Thank you for sharing. In many of our consultations, we have learned that the experience of being fired has triggered some life changing decisions for many. It is useful to consider, in advance, your options should it ever happen to you.

  6. I am so glad I came across this article. I unfortunately had to fire an employee recently and it was very uncomfortable. I have printed out this article to keep for my partner and I to use as a guideline in case we ever have to fire anyone again.

    1. Firing someone is extremely stressful for both parties. Good luck with your business efforts.

  7. I agree with being prepared and not getting into an argument. Would it be acceptable to perhaps have in writing the reasons for the firing as a way to avoid a discussion/argument or would that be inappropriate as well?

    1. Perhaps that would be helpful in certain situations. But basically, being fired (no matter how it is done) will demand immediate and oftentimes painful adjustments.

  8. This is real useful. You have provided some nice techniques and . I have never been fired from any job, but the way you told us how to deal with someone who is going to be fired is awesome.

  9. Never having experienced this, I’m grateful for your insight. I’m one of those who suffers from impostor syndrome – constantly feeling inadequate and only moments away from being found out. My wife convinces me my fears are not based in reality but I’m glad that it’s not an end-of-the-world scenario.

    1. Hi Aaron. we have learned over the years that every person has skills, talents, knowledge and special understanding in areas that are unique to them. Sometimes, these traits are not as apparent to them as the skills of others. But, you are unique and precious in that all of your personal gifts are, in fact, personal and only you have them and the ability to apply them to your situations. We love collaboration here because we know that nobody can do everything, but if they are willing to work cooperatively with others, great accomplishments will happen.

  10. This post is full of excellent information. I personally have never been fired nor have I ever been in a position to need to fire someone. I do feel prepared to deal with the situation more professionally if the situation arises after reading this post. This is really helpful information.

    1. Sky, it is always useful to try to see situations from viewpoints other than your own. Being fired is not an event that most people would be eager to experience, so preparing for it properly is rarely done in advance. We are happy that our article provides an opportunity to consider the impact this can have on both employers and employees.

  11. As a business manager I know that firing people can be the WORST part of operating a business. This is a great blog!!! I would love to use this when having to let people go. More business owners should help people when letting them go…this type of support is great!

    1. Thank you, Jessica. Your view is greatly appreciated. Hopefully, more managers will come to realize its importance.

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