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If you've ever been fired or laid off, you know it can be a traumatic experience, especially if you haven't been given a specific reason. Nobody really ever gets fired without a cause; there's always reason for letting an employee go.


There are multiple reasons why people are let go (reorganization, underperformance, being drunk at work, harassing co-workers, complaining about your boss on social media, breach of company's policies, etc.), but there are three that are most common in my experience and two of them are almost completely avoidable.

Underperformance

Employees unaware they could get fired for underperformance

If you've been constantly making bad decisions or not reaching your performance objectives, then this is one of the reasons you might have been fired. Review your performance over the past year. If you've been consistently hitting your targets or even outperforming your colleagues, then performance might not be the actual issue here.

However, if you realize your performance has been unsatisfactory, try to analyze whether there was anything you could have done to improve it. Once you understand what those things are, hopefully you won't repeat the same mistake in your next job.

Wrong Attitude

Young professional with wrong attitude at work at risk of getting fired

Company culture is very important to most organizations, and if you do not fit into that culture, then you might find it difficult to work there. For example, if every day you came into work with a negative attitude, then your boss and/or co-workers probably noticed, and this might have played a part in their decision to let you go.

Also, if you were missing too many days of work or arrived late to work all the time, that probably played a role as well. Was the company just a bad fit for you (in which case, now you have a chance to find something more suitable!), or are there any other issues you need to address to ensure this doesn't happen again?

It is important that you find a job with a company that has culture and values you can relate to. Do this by conducting a strategic job search and creating an interview bucket list. This will ensure you only apply for jobs at companies that are a good cultural fit, for both you and the employer.

Budget Cuts / Company Restructuring

Employee receives bad news about budget cuts and company restructuring

This unfortunately happens, but it is nevertheless painful if you lose your job because of restructuring or budget cuts. Even if you think you were an indispensable employee, you might still want to assess your attitude and performance. I remember once the company used "restructure" as the reason of getting rid of a sales manager who wasn't the right fit.

Remember, just because you were fired or laid off doesn't mean it was your fault or that you won't find another great job in the future. But it is always worth it to assess your performance and conduct because every career obstacle is a learning experience. If you want to learn:

  • Why working hard is not enough to get promoted
  • How to make the right connections that help you get ahead
  • Why making yourself irreplaceable can harm your career
  • How to find and communicate your unique value
  • 5 key strategies to help you get recognized, promoted, and rewarded at work.

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This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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