Being Fired With Insult and Humiliation

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The humiliation and stripping of one’s self dignity when being fired is only made worse by how the termination is handled. Having been on both sides of this matter, firing someone and being fired, I can personally relate to both.

The sad fact is many times businesses must make decisions that mean terminations. The good news is I  know of many businesses who DO care about what happens to their employees. They provide job search, counseling and coaching, and at notification of the terminations, bring the news in a professional and compassionate manner. These are the companies that serve their communities and employees in the respectful manner due every citizen. When hiring comes again, these are the companies that people will remember treated people fairly, and will want to work for such a company.

I had one termination conducted in a very professional and personal manner that did not completely humiliate and insult me. Although my emotions ranged from shock, fear, and confusion, I was treated like a human being and with respect. I never regretted working for that company and to this day, highly recommend it to anyone asking about it or wanting to work there.

But the second time it happened a few years later at another company, I did not receive the same professional conduct or respect that I received at the first company. Here, they DID NOT care about what happens to you. And,it can be made worse when the firing begins weeks before the actual termination. That is when personal insult, along with demoralizing behavior directed at you by someone with an agenda, that challenges your integrity and self respect. That is the firing that took me years to recover from, for it was personal and handled poorly.

What’s worse, those doing the firing do not care about the person who is being let go. While they got their way and moved on with their lives, my life became one of spending years trying to make sense of the cruel manner in which it was handled. It lead to low self esteem, depression, physical illness and an inability to move forward. I allowed the humiliation to drop me in a sea of grief that made for poor decisions and being suspended in a period of time that had moved on, but I would not. I did not know how to, it was a haunting that would not go away, no matter how much my life improved after leaving that company.

The stories I hear from people who have lost jobs, before and after the economy collapsed, are heartbreaking. No matter how one loses a job, whether nasty or fair, it is a tremendous shock that no one is ever prepared for, even if they can sense that something may be happening soon. The grip of fear and shock is paralyzing, with a deep seated anger rising within. Knowing this ahead of time, is how HR, a manager or supervisor can handle the termination.

Regardless of why someone loses their job, it never gives anyone the right to treat that person coldly and without compassion. Yes, there are many people who are fired who no matter how much you may try to help them or least be  civil, will be angry and bitter.  That cannot always be helped, as in the firing process, those being fired can also demonstrate bad behavior.

But this article is about millions of people who have stories to tell of the bad experience of being fired. Personally for me, the saddest are those who are being set up for a firing weeks before. By the time the day comes for termination, the person is so beat down, demoralized and diminished, hearing the final words ,”You’re  fired”  strip them of what little self respect they may have had.

I can hear many say too bad, grow up and take it like an adult. Or why didn’t they leave when they knew this was going on. The answer is not every situation fits everybody. We cannot judge where that person is at that point in their lives or emotionally, to say what they should or should not have done.

In my next couple of blogs, I am going to give my recommendations to those who must do the firing and to those being fired. As there are two sides to every story, I will look forward to comments regarding these articles.

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