While some people are fired from their jobs without any warning, most people can at least see the signs in advance. Even if the prospect of losing your job can be daunting, you can use it as an opportunity to negotiate your firing, and to minimize the harm that getting fired will do to you and your family. Here are five tips to help you if you are facing the prospect of getting fired:
- Watch for the warning signs
- The most important thing to do to prepare for your firing is looking for the signs that it is coming. This could come in many forms: for example, you may be excluded from certain meetings, or left out of client communications you would normally be included on. You may also notice your superiors avoiding your gaze, or notice coworkers talking behind your back, which may be a sign that you are being considered for termination.
- Start collecting evidence
- The more evidence you have for your negotiation, the better. This means saving any communications you have from your employer (preferably on a private device so your employer can’t revoke access or delete them), such as emails, text messages, phone calls, and other similar records. It also means keeping a diary, taking notes of anything of importance that happens at work, so you have contemporary records of the events leading to your firing.
- Speak to your coworkers
- While you might not know what is going on, your coworkers may have a more concrete idea of whether or not you are going to be fired. Finding out what they know could be key to negotiating your firing, helping you to get a better outcome than you otherwise would. You can also find out what other employees were paid when they were fired, giving you better leverage when you need to negotiate.
- Start looking for alternative work
- As Steven Sack notes in his book Fired!, “The best time to seek reemployment is while you are still working.” This is because while you are still employed, you are still able to pay the bills, and have the luxury of searching because it is convenient rather than because you are forced to. Searching for a new job can take months, so the sooner you start looking for a job, the less time you are likely to spend unemployed.
- Be ready to bargain
- If you are being fired, you will likely be offered a severance package, including a certain amount of money and benefits. You do not need to accept this sight unseen, however, and should instead consider it an opening offer for a negotiation. If you bargain correctly, you may be able to walk away with much more than your employer was originally intending to offer you.
Steven Mitchell Sack, the Employee’s Lawyer, is a New York employment lawyer with more than 41 years’ experience handling the many aspects of employment law. His new book, “Fired!: Protect Your Rights & FIGHT BACK If You’re Terminated, Laid Off, Downsized, Restructured, Forced to Resign or Quit,” is available in hardback, and contains valuable advice on dealing with employment and labor law issues. To purchase the book, feel free to contact Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or visit the website at legalstratpub.com. To inquire about a legal matter, please feel free to contact attorney Steven Sack at 917-371-8000 or firstname.lastname@example.org.