Dear J.T. &Dale: Last summer I was seriously injured in an automobile accident. I survived and have fully recovered. Six weeks after the accident, my employer sent me a letter saying, Sorry about your accident, but the firm must go on, and terminated me. I was devastated! I am now ready to look for work but am terrified that I'll end up working for another jerk. I'm trying not to take this personally, but it's very hard. What will I tell potential employers at interviews? I don't want to sound bitter or break into tears, but what he did was very hurtful. - Shay
J.T.: We don't have room to print them all, but Shay went on to recount a series of bad-boss behaviors that she'd encountered prior to her accident. Which is why I can tell you, Shay, that we think your being let go will have a silver lining. In fact, you're sure to end up wishing you had moved on years before. Even in good economic times, most people so hate looking for a job that they tend to stay in a bad situation, and then rationalize the decision not to take action.
Dale: One thing I learned in my study of great bosses is that most people have never had one. They literally don't know what they're missing. So, with the right search, you can move back into the job market with real anticipation - it's going to be SO easy to do better.
J.T.: It will help if you visit sites like Glassdoor.com to read insider reviews of companies and their reputations. Also, be sure to search on sites like LinkedIn and Twitter to see what's being said about the company so you can make an informed decision before you accept a job offer.
Dale: As for upcoming job interviews, you don't have anything to worry about. If you rehearse the story about being let go so that you can tell it briefly and without emotion, you will get one of two reactions: Most managers will be offended on your behalf and will want to help you, while a few others might side with your old manager and be unsympathetic. Should you detect any hint of the latter attitude, then you'll know right then that it's another corrosive environment, and you can run the other way.
J.T.: Exactly. Good employers will respond by sharing with you how they take care of their valued employees - and that will be the mark of a company you want to work for.