I’m about to Get Fired. How Do I Prepare?

Currently, I am working as a full-time engineer, and my boss is giving me a hard time. The problem is that my boss may fire me soon like in 2 or 3 weeks, so I want to get prepared for this early sudden termination.

Do I have to collect some evidence like “my boss gave me hard-time during work,” to prepare for any sudden termination? The previous ex-employee who get fired a year ago said he should have signed on some documents about “no-suing” etc. 

If you feel like you are about to get fired, here is what you need to do.

Take all your personal items home. This may seem like a ridiculous thing, but for reasons unknown to me, people bring priceless and irreplaceable items to the office and then are devastated when they lose them after being fired. Take them home now.

Remove any personal documents off your work computer/phone. Don’t steal any proprietary information. You do not want to do that. But, lots of people use their work phones and computers for personal things. Pictures of your kids? Your latest copy of your resume? Make sure you have those on personal devices.

Get copies of your performance appraisals and any other documents you may need. If you feel that your termination is unfair or illegal, having your performance appraisals can demonstrate that you were a good employee. Yes, your lawyer can subpoena those, but it’s far easier (and cheaper) if you have them. If you have any signed documents, get a copy of those. Things like non-competes, relocation contracts, and non-disclosure agreements all hinge on the actual language. Make sure you have a copy.

Update your resume. No time like the present! You can use your performance appraisals and goals to help you figure out how to add this current job to your resume.

Start actively looking for a new job. It is always easier to find a job when you have one. Getting some things lined up while you still have a steady paycheck makes it easier.

Try to save your current job. Most people would put this first on the list, but I’ve been involved in a enough terminations to know that if you feel like you’re about to get fired, it may be too late. But, many jobs can be saved. Go to your boss and say, “I feel like you’re unhappy with my performance. Can we make a plan together to improve things?” Trust me, this isn’t given your boss any ideas he doesn’t have already. Even if your job isn’t salvageable, this can help extend it while you look for a new job.

Of course, if you’re already on a performance improvement plan, you should be focused on fixing the problems laid out there. If you have a competent HR department, certainly go to them and ask for help.

But, if the termination comes, at least you’re prepared.

Have a workplace dilemma? Send me an email at EvilHRLady@gmail.com

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6 thoughts on “I’m about to Get Fired. How Do I Prepare?

  1. And don’t sign anything right away! If you are pressured to take a severance package or sign agreements, take time to think about it or consult an attorney first.

    1. Absolutely this! I got laid off years ago and was reading through the documentation they wanted me to sign and I noticed a paragraph about how if anyone asked, I had to say that I had willingly left of my own accord to pursue other opportunities. No way was I signing that! You guys are eliminating my position, I’m not going to pretend that I quit. They removed it no issue, but in hindsight I wonder if they were going to try and worm their way out of paying unemployment…

      1. “… in hindsight I wonder if they were going to try and worm their way out of paying unemployment…“

        Yes, yes they were.

  2. Yes for whatever reasons they bring up the topic of layoffs, you need to get in writting that they will not deny unemployment. I have seen to many companies (at least in my area downsizing or declaring bankcrupcy) that try to avoid paying anything to their employees because they need to comp both the shareholders and the CEO’s. Those people are not going to miss a few extra million dollars as much as the employees will mis their paychecks.

  3. This is good advice even if you are leaving a job because you are resigning.
    I knew that I was going to leave a job months in advance but did not give notice until 2 weeks before my announced departure date. I started taking things home weeks in advance: a few books; clothing items such as extra shoes, sweaters, and extra umbrella; the comb, toothbrush, and toothpaste in my desk drawer. As it happened, I suddenly left the job one week sooner than I had announced, and most of my personal items had already been transported home. At the end, I just needed to turn in my keys and timesheet and had very few personal items left in my office to pack.

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