Dear J.T. & Dale: I am 30 years old and recently was terminated because I broke a tooth and left work early. I was great at my job and had been named the No. 2 technician in the state. I am not being conceited when I say this, but I am very smart and always strive to be the best at what I do. I thought I had finally found my career, and I was about to get engaged to the love of my life. I need a career track if I want to have a family life and get married. Any ideas? – Mike
J.T.: I’m not clear on the reason for your termination – it seems strange that they would fire you for that.
DALE: When someone gets fired for an illogical reason, it’s wise to search for a deeper logic. I admit that I’m guessing here, Mike, but let’s talk: While you were good at your work, your job is more than your work. Your work is being a technician, but your job is being part of a team and a company. When it comes to management evaluating an employee, the issue is NOT whether you are better than others on the team, but whether the team is better because you’re on it. If you don’t make the team better, that may be one of the reasons you got fired.
J.T.: You’re talking about “fit.” But to question Mike’s fit is reading a lot into his assertion that he’s good at his job.
DALE: True, and I may be way off, but as we see in the world of sports, a collection of great individual performers doesn’t necessarily make a great team.
J.T.: OK, but getting back to what we know… I urge you, Mike, to treat this as a setback, not as a reason to change careers. You clearly have the skills; now find someone who could use them. As you move forward, be honest about what happened at the last job, and try not to hold a grudge; instead, emphasize what you learned from the experience.
DALE: Ah, there’s the key: What DID you learn? Contact your former co-workers and try to get them to be open about how you could do better in the future. Let them know you’re treating your experience as a chance to grow and improve, and you’ll end up being one of those people who says, “Getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to me.” And I bet that what you learn also will make you a better husband and father.
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© 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc.
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