Left; or Laid Off; or Fired

A bit shocking and different look at leaving a job or getting fired, and tips how to go through it

At least once in your career you or people around you, left the job, or were laid off, or fired unexpectedly, suddenly, and with a lot of pain. This experience is one of the 3 most painful ones in lifetime, together with divorce and loss of a close relative. You think that what happened to you is the worst that could have happened, and that’s perfectly normal. This article may change your mind. Also, I would like to get your involvement, so pls share your story about leaving a company in a difficult way, or being laid off or fired. I have started to draft a book, which I plan to publish in Amazon, and with your permission, I may put there some stories openly or unanimously.

Why is it so important to discuss the topic– because on one side it hurts a lot, on the other side, unlike the past, when people would change work a few times in the lifetime, or even stay in the same company their whole career, nowadays and in the future, we will change easily 5–15 jobs, so we have to learn how to cope with the big change, especially when it comes suddenly and unplanned.

This is not a five minute read, and I recommend that you read it again, if you are a difficult situation. Also, I am not interested who was right or wrong, or why the employee or the employer did this or that; I would like to get deeper in the emotional part, and the methodology of how you get back on your feet, stronger — ”what doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger” , how fast, and, most importantly, what you learn from this experience.

Briefly my story:

I sold to a big Italian hr company Gi Group my company with excellent financial and market standing, stayed 3 yr in a top management position, and left with 12 months, instead of 6 months of required pre-notice. Normally you would expect letter of gratitude and correct separation, but obviously not with this employer:)here’s small part of what I got

1. Initially the employer even refused to repay me already worked salaries and holidays, regardless of the requirements of the law 2. They took my SIM card with the number I always used for 10+ years 3. Today, four years later they still owe me large amount of personal loans, which I have provided to Gi Group operating companies. 4. It seems they hired a private detective to follow me, at least that’s what they shared with a fellow businessman, as after my leaving, their Head of the international business would appear wherever I would go, even in the cafe:) 5. Gi Group sent me on artificial accusation to the Special Department of Sofia City Procurature, which is normally dealing with severe crimes, drug dealers etc, they can hold you in arrest for up to 72 h; I admire the work of the Bulgarian Procurator, the mtg was closed in 15 minutes, and he confirmed Gi Group owes me money; I lost 5 kg that day 6. I was told that they use a Bosnian war veteran, who “resolves all kind of problems”. I couldn’t believe it, so I filed a case with the Police, who tried to find the Italian manager, in order to be questioned, but could not. Though it’s sounds crazy, I have heard from 10+ former and current managers about a 2 m tall guy with scarf on the face, used to do debt collection etc. Recently my children found by accident in my bedside cabinet a knife; I have been sleeping with it for four years, not that it would help:)

So, how bad was your case:)?

I am positive about the legal outcome of the case, as well as today I am very happy that it happened; here’s a a few tips for the individual person, on how to recover from such situation, which I can share from personal experience; how applicable they are depends on the country& legislation; I have included also some tips for the employer

For the individual 1. Get outside help, especially if the event of leaving, or being laid off, happened unexpectedly; often people think that they are with very strong personality, but even the strongest need support; go to a coach, shrink, priest, whatever works for you, get support from friends and family, do not stay alone 2. You can keep only one thought at a time in your mind, so in the first weeks/ months after the event, try as fast as possible to be occupied, get a new job, even if the salary/ position is slightly lower, start a new business, teach, do volunteering, spend more time with the family, start/re-start with sports or music 3. Many people start to be active in Linkedin, social media, with headhunters, business organizations&associations, after something bad happens; that’s not how it works; we live in new world, where everybody is on the labor market all the time; be active already now 4. Put in writing your case; it’s very relieving and rewarding experience 5. Do not blame others — your colleagues, team, employees, managers, for betraying you, leaving you or something like that; you don’t know what’s their situation, everybody has a family to feed 6. Do not revenge; it is said in the Bible that revenge belongs to the Higher Powers whether you believe in God, Universe, or something else 7. Whatever happened was something positive and for a reason, and came to take you to a new job/career/business; usually after some time you appreciate it 8. Don’t live in the past and don’t associate yourself with the old company, but try to keep good connection 9. Some technical advices: If possible, have a second Gsm number, or agree with your employer in advance, to transfer it to you; use your personal e-mail, whenever possible, for subscriptions, associations etc; try to get (written, if possible) recommendation; ask for outplacement/ career transition support; if things get rough, get a lawyer and/or a call recorder app; if you have some kind of long term earn-out, profit sharing etc, try to back it with some kind of bank guarantee if possible 10. In the end comes the most difficult part — forgive truly and honestly to your employer: Maurizio, Stefano, Rodolfo etc I forgive you, and forgive to yourself — George, I forgive you.

For the employer: It is truly a very unpleasant and painful procedure, when you have to part with somebody; still I met recently a company, that had to cut 200 out of its 400 staff, and they have done it so well and so fine, that they didn’t get any negative comment, or any bad mark on their employer branding. The main points are 1. Treat people to be released with respect and care; plan well; during the process, always have in mind Up In The Air movie with George Clooney, and that you can be next some day 2. Perform an exit interview, and try to part with the person as positive as possible 3. Whenever applicable, offer outplacement, psychological support, contact with hr companies& headhunters, letter of reference, compensation

Here’s what we can do, if we want to help change the business environment 1. Share my article 2. Share baldly your experience 3. In my opinion, business world needs a global Business Ethics Arbitrage, to resolve cases, that are not legal, but are related to business ethics, CSR, equality&diversity

Thanx for reading& your input is welcome

Find me in Linkedin&Fb

George K. Parvanov, parvanov.george@gmail.com

George K. Parvanov has 25 years in HR field internationally; he created one of the most successful HR companies in CEE Consulteam; currently he is co-owner of Cteam, Partner in the company for recruitment of 55+ Evergreen Talents, Board Member of the Bulgarian HR Association and Co-Founder and Board Member of BG Staffing