Difficulty Recovering After Termination

Ann writes:
After many years of working at jobs I didn’t like and/or had no growth potential I
went back to college and completed my B.A. in sociology five years ago.
I then became employed as a child protective investigator but the next year I was terminated from my job. I was told I had failed the mandatory
performance assessment test and would no longer be able to perform the job.
Since then I have applied for many jobs in the same field. I loved my job
and want to work with children in some helpful capacity. However as soon as any
potential employer hears that I was fired the interview is terminated.

The Career Doctor responds:
I so wish you had written to me two years ago but we can’t go back and change
history. I have many questions for you: What have you been doing these past two
years? What has been your job-search strategy? What types of jobs interest you?
How many job interviews have you been on? How do these employers discover
you were fired? How do you explain this gap in your work experience?
Simply put you’ve got to rebuild your career. There are no quick fixes but I can
give you some pointers to get you started in the right direction.
First you need to rebuild your confidence and self-esteem. I recommend finding a
mentor within your profession possibly a former colleague or even a former
Second you need to develop a job-search plan. There are numerous opportunities –
in both the public and private sectors — for case workers and investigators who have a
desire to help children in need. There are also numerous other career opportunities
for job-seekers who want to work with children such as teaching guidance counseling.
You need to investigate all your opportunities.
Third you need to have something to say for what you’ve been doing these
past two years. I hope you’ve been volunteering taking classes or somehow
staying active. If not I suggest you immediately start doing one or more of these
Fourth you need to come to some level of acceptance about getting fired and move on.
Why are you saying anything negative in job interviews? A job interview is the chance
for you to sell the employer on all your wonderful attributes. Never offer anything negative
in job interviews. I strongly suggest you read my article
Getting Fired: An Opportunity for Change and Growth.

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