Your Co-worker Got Fired!

Your co-worker just got fired!  You’ve got all of these thoughts running through your head.  On one hand, you feel bad for her; the two of you worked closely together.  On the other hand, you’re wondering if you might be next.  She wasn’t a terrible employee and none of us is perfect.  How can you survive this crisis with your job and your sanity in tact.   

Don’t panic.  In all likelihood, your co-worker’s situation has nothing to do with you.  Also, don’t make assumptions; there may have been reasons for the termination that were not communicated to you. 

Keep your ears open.  Pay attention to what’s going on around you, but don’t gossip.  Try to find out why it happened, but don’t be overt about it.  Even if you disagree with the way that your co-worker was treated, don’t say so publicly.  You can always decide to leave the organization, but it is best if you leave on your own terms.   

Clean out your closet.  It’s time to straighten up your behaviour.  If you are doing anything that you shouldn’t be doing, cut it out!  This is not the time to be making personal calls or showing up five minutes late.  Don’t give anyone any reason to target you.  Keep focused on your job and perform well.    

Ask for feedback.  If you are concerned about your position, you can always ask for feedback from your manager.  This can help you to identify your weaknesses, and asking for feedback demonstrates to your manager that you are serious about your job.   

Be ready to move on if necessary.  Sometimes when the terminations start, it is an indication of bad things to come.  Pay attention to what’s going on around you and if you aren’t happy with the direction that the organization is taking, start looking at your other options.

It is always difficult when a co-worker is let go.  Someone who you worked with everyday is suddenly gone and you feel insecure about your own position.  Don’t let this situation bring you down.  If you stay calm, keep your eyes open, and make strategic decisions, you will get through this.  Things may seem bleak now, but there will be brighter days ahead.

(Written by Karen Bivand)

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