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FiveRinger
05-28-2010, 08:30 AM
Over the years I have actually used the phrase "job eliminated" for my one termination in life. I have been to lots of interviews since and have never been asked to elaborate. That phrase works because most people cannot give a detailed explanation as to why their job was eliminated. However, it does let the interviewer know that you didn't leave your position by choice. This is very different than saying you left to pursue other opportunities because this phrase implies that your departure was your choice. What happens if your job search goes on for anb extended period of time. Pursuing opportunities isn't the response of a mature employee who worked at one company for 22 years. Saying you were layed off is something else entirely--I'd wouldn't say that.

I don't think that BC is going to have a huge problem with verification because most companies do not want run the risk of violating the law. Legally, a company can only reveal 3 things about a past employee: 1)job title, 2)dates of employee; 3)eligibility for rehire. Sometimes salary can be verified. This is why so many companies use THe Work Number for employment verification. It is also why references are so important. If you use a former boss as a reference, the interviewer can and will ask questions about you personally, your character, etc. that are far more reaching than simple verifiable facts.

I think BC should take advantage of as much training and career development as possible through her unemployment benefits. When I got laid off, it took me a while to get started. I regret that. But they provided lots of good info, much of which I have shared in this thread.

Bostonfan
05-28-2010, 11:41 AM
I look at it this way... if you get unemployment benefits, you were laid off. If you don't, you were fired.

As an HR Manager and the one deciding who gets hired in my company, I assure you that getting fired and getting laid off are WORLDS apart and has nothing to do with Unemployment. I have fired lots of people for performance issues that ended up getting Unemployment benefits because the state I work in bends over backwards to provide benefits to the ex-employee. The Company has to demonstrate that the employee willfully intended to break a known company rule/policy. It varies in other states, but the two concepts (being fired and being let go) are completely different.

I'm not recommending that she come right out and say she got fired. But there's no inherent shame in it. I would recommend she stick with something along the lines of, "I was with X company for 22 years and worked for a number of wonderful bosses over that time. However my most recent boss and I were not a good fit for each other and it ultimately led to my leaving the company". There's nothing wrong with admitting that not everyone gels together. It doesn't say to me, "Oh, this person is difficult". Trust me, I'll know what kind of personality I'm dealing with in the interview process without needing to know the backstory.

I wouldn't probe beyond that point. But I suppose if pressed about whether she was let go, I wouldn't recommend lying or hedging. Be direct and admit that an email violation occurred that you deeply regret, and that you certainly learned from the experience and will put the 22 years of experience to good use at your next employment opportunity.

Sarah
05-28-2010, 12:42 PM
Most of this has been said already, but I'd really recommend temp work. I hate it, but it's often more readily available than full-time permanent positions and it'll give you exposure/experience in other companies. Even if the positions don't end up lasting long/becoming full time/etc., you may gain references in the process and meet people. Networking is never a bad thing. It will also help you build your resume. Instead of your most recent job being this past position, you will have the work through the temp agency. If your successful temping, it'll show your ability to adapt to new environments. Now the doubts about your past job (she was with that company 20+ years, can she work anywhere else?) will lessen as well.

Also, I really liked BostonFan's advice regarding explaining your departure from your last job.


I'm not recommending that she come right out and say she got fired. But there's no inherent shame in it. I would recommend she stick with something along the lines of, "I was with X company for 22 years and worked for a number of wonderful bosses over that time. However my most recent boss and I were not a good fit for each other and it ultimately led to my leaving the company". There's nothing wrong with admitting that not everyone gels together. It doesn't say to me, "Oh, this person is difficult". Trust me, I'll know what kind of personality I'm dealing with in the interview process without needing to know the backstory.

Good luck!

Aceon6
05-28-2010, 12:49 PM
Anyway, if you are nervous about how your internet access will look, I encourage you to clear your browser's history on a regular basis and also take advantage of any features your browser has to let you surf anonymously. For example, Google Chrome let's you bring up an "Incognito" window.

Straying off topic here, but clearing your history and surfing anonymously DO NOT help in this situation. Anonymous surfing makes you anonymous to the site your visiting, not to the network at large. Any time you use the computer assigned to you with the network credentials issued to you, your activities are probably being monitored.

Let me explain it in layman's terms. Your computer has a permanent ID called a MAC address. Each MAC address is known to the network. When you use your computer to connect to a secure, corporate network, several things happen. First, the network checks to see if the MAC address is allowed. Then it records the username of the person who's signing in. From then on, until you disconnect, corporate networks can and do keep track of every program you launch and every website you visit. Some keep track of what window is on top and how long you stay on a website. The most secure networks track every keystroke.

My advice to all is to read AND understand your company's policy. At my company, "incidental use" is permitted within strict guidelines and with rules on the types of sites that we can't access from work. Some sites are outright blocked. There are rules about "accidents" - a one click accident is viewed as just that. A multiple click "accident", something where deliberate clicking is required, is viewed as a willful violation. For example, if I accidentally click into a site that promotes hate, then immediately close the window, that's not a violation. If I stay on the site longer than a few seconds, or click through to any inside content, that's a willful violation. If any issues arise, the manager pulls the browsing history and reviews it to see if the person is spending more than "incidental" time on sites outside the company network or is accessing any restricted sites.

Back to helping BC...

gkelly
05-28-2010, 12:58 PM
Most of this has been said already, but I'd really recommend temp work. I hate it, but it's often more readily available than full-time permanent positions and it'll give you exposure/experience in other companies.

And income.

Not what you can earn from a full-time permanent job, but probably at least comparable to the unemployment payments. And don't you have to show that you're looking for work every week while you collect unemployment?

(The only time I was able to colelct unemployment I used the extra free time to work on my dissertation. But I still had to go out to at least one job interview or temp job each week. And I needed to take another student loan to supplement the unemployment income.)

numbers123
05-28-2010, 01:02 PM
^^^^ word to aceon6's post.
If you know or even if you don't know your employer's stance on web browsing, surfing/posting on web sites and or using personal email accounts is generally is an infraction. I'm confident in posting your employer does not care if you are bored or have nothing to do, they are paying you to be present at work and to not attend to personal pleasure (surfing) or personal emailing activities.

heckles
05-28-2010, 04:53 PM
I've learned that the announcement that I "left to pursue other interests" just went out today.

I knew of a man who was fired from a job and the company sent out a memo implying that he'd voluntarily left. He sued for six figures for the misrepresentation, and won.

Garden Kitty
05-28-2010, 05:35 PM
If the company is willing to answer the question "would you rehire the person", then you risk the sompany confirming that you probably didn't leave voluntarily and your job wasn't eliminated. Being caught in a lie during an interview will almost certainly kill any chance of an offer.

How about something like "I worked at the company for a long time with a variety of managers, but my last manager and I had some miscommunications and a misunderstanding about some of my job responsiilities."

The fact you worked for a variety of people for so long will help alleviate any concern about your general ability and makes it sound like it was just a fit problem with one particular person. You're not bad mouthing the manager or trying to blame him (which never comes off well), and if pushed further (although they may let it drop at that) you can say there was a miscommunication about whether he wanted you to have access to his email like you had with your other managers, and this resulted in a misunderstanding about access to his confidential data.

While this may raise some questions, those should be offset by your long work history. Good luck.

PDilemma
05-28-2010, 05:42 PM
^^^^ word to aceon6's post.
If you know or even if you don't know your employer's stance on web browsing, surfing/posting on web sites and or using personal email accounts is generally is an infraction. I'm confident in posting your employer does not care if you are bored or have nothing to do, they are paying you to be present at work and to not attend to personal pleasure (surfing) or personal emailing activities.

At the last place I worked, they were too cheap to get e-mail on the server yet we were required to have e-mail for work purposes. Their answer to this conundrum? We were required to use a personal e-mail account at work. One administrator then attempted to tell us that we could not open or respond to personal e-mail on work time only work related e-mail. One teacher's question: "okay, but I actually teach my niece, how do I know whether my brother or sister-in-law is e-mailing me about her grade or next weekend's family gathering or both? Do I read half the e-mail then promptly click out when it gets to the personal stuff? Or should you maybe get an e-mail server?" So they decided that they would not monitor our e-mail usage until they got an e-mail server. Five years later, they still don't have one.

Personally, I set up a separate gmail account for them to give out/use. But most people did not.

Diane Mars
05-28-2010, 07:54 PM
Jumping on it, but I only have ONE advice to give you : don't lie. Never and ever. You've been fired because of that. You've lost a 22 years old contract with a 5 stars company beacause of that... So, when in front of your potential future HR Manager, DON'T LIE !!!!!! :duh:

... Because if you lie, you'll catch it in your face like a boomerang, one day or another. Trust me, it will be just a question of time. Everybody finally knows everything...:sekret:

And if you're catched by having lied about the reason why you've been fired (lies), you'd better to move on in another state or in another country :dog:, because you won't get any way :bloc: to CYA after that.

I don't want to be rude, but being too sympathetic or friendly :violin: with you regarding what happened, the reasons why you've been fired and the way to find a new position won't help you to eat and pay your bills in a near future !

I hope you'll find a good way to "sell" what happend (= "Ok, I've been really stupid. I opened unintentionnally an email I should'nt get access to, and when my boss arrived at my desk, while this mail on my screen and myself still wondering why I was receiving that, because it didn't make any sens to me, I felt so... stupid when he asked why I was reading that mail that I lied. And yes, if there was a mouse hole in which I could hide myself right now, you wouldn't see me anymore. Ok, it will be stupid too. So... How could we handle this ? And, I promise, I've acted stupidly in the past, but I learnt a lot and it won't happen anymore... Except in case of a mouse hole in your office ;)) to any recruiter you may meet.

Anyway, good luck and take care of yourself. :fan:

Debbie S
05-28-2010, 08:32 PM
I hope you'll find a good way to "sell" what happend (= "Ok, I've been really stupid. I opened unintentionnally an email I should'nt get access to, and when my boss arrived at my desk, while this mail on my screen and myself still wondering why I was receiving that, because it didn't make any sens to me, I felt so... stupid when he asked why I was reading that mail that I lied. And yes, if there was a mouse hole in which I could hide myself right now, you wouldn't see me anymore. Ok, it will be stupid too. So... How could we handle this ? And, I promise, I've acted stupidly in the past, but I learnt a lot and it won't happen anymore... Except in case of a mouse hole in your office ;)) to any recruiter you may meet.I definitely wouldn't recommend saying that. There's no reason for a potential employer to know details - the former employer wouldn't give them out, anyway. A response like that would make it sound like BC thought it was a joke, and might make the interviewer think there was a lot more to the story. There is no need to "sell" what happened. What BC needs to do is prepare a standard answer (and memorize it) that is neutral w/o being fictional. If her company is officially spinning her departure as "left to pursue other opportunities", then that's a good indication of what they'll tell anyone who calls to verify her employment, and probably what BC should adopt.

I wouldn't say anything about misunderstandings or not being a good fit with your recent boss, b/c that can be a red flag. You may have years of good experience with bosses, but "it was just this one" would make recruiters worried that your new boss might be #2. They want to hire an employee who is flexible and can adapt to all situations.

rfisher
05-28-2010, 09:10 PM
I'd just put left to pursue other interests on a resume and hope for the best in the interview. I don't think BC handles stress very well. It would probably be in her best interest to say as little as possible about the old job and really try to focus on how she'd be an asset to the new one.

MacMadame
05-28-2010, 10:17 PM
If they really want to see what someone is doing, they're not going to check their browser/computer's history, they're going to put a program on their computer that either records any screen they see or every letter they type (or both).

Some companies do that. Mine doesn't though.

I know people who have had their browser history checked at work as well. Companies definitely do that.

It may not be sufficient for a particular company, but it's a start.

Ania
05-28-2010, 10:37 PM
How about something like "I worked at the company for a long time with a variety of managers, but my last manager and I had some miscommunications and a misunderstanding about some of my job responsiilities."

The fact you worked for a variety of people for so long will help alleviate any concern about your general ability and makes it sound like it was just a fit problem with one particular person. You're not bad mouthing the manager or trying to blame him (which never comes off well), and if pushed further (although they may let it drop at that) you can say there was a miscommunication about whether he wanted you to have access to his email like you had with your other managers, and this resulted in a misunderstanding about access to his confidential data.

.

Just chiming in to say that I really like this suggestion. It's the truth, it does not badmouth your former boss & company, it does not make you look all that bad ("misunderstandings" typically takes two to tango), and if pressed for a more detailed explanation you could say that misunderstanding about job responsibilities resulted in accidental access to confidential data (as Garden Kitty suggested) - a brief and accurate statement.

I agree with everyone that (1) being untruthful is a bad idea and (2) giving a long explanation is a bad idea. I also think that being intentionally vague is a bad idea (e.g., saying that you left to "pursue other interests" - what interests? why now? are you done pursuing them or is temping one of your interests? etc.). When I interview people and they give me intentionally vague answers, I just assume that they are trying to hide something and I do not plan on wasting my time trying to find out what is it they are hiding. I just smile, thank them for their time, and never contact them again.

Garden Kitty's wording I think was particularly effective in avoiding all of the above problems.

heckles
05-28-2010, 10:47 PM
Just chiming in to say that I really like this suggestion. It's the truth, it does not badmouth your former boss & company, it does not make you look all that bad ("misunderstandings" typically takes two to tango), and if pressed for a more detailed explanation you could say that misunderstanding about job responsibilities resulted in accidental access to confidential data (as Garden Kitty suggested) - a brief and accurate statement.


Let's get real here. This economy sucks and this is one of the worst times in modern history to be looking for work. If an employer has 10 eager candidates with exemplary records and one who admits to recent "misunderstandings" and a dismissal in her background, do you really think they'll take the risk with the latter? I think it's interesting that employers are routinely dishonest and evasive in luring people to work for them, even employees who relocate for jobs and wouldn't have done so if they'd been informed of specific issues, but the onus is on the applicant to be truthful. This isn't in any way meant to advocate lying to an employer, just an observation.