Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

3 Ways to Avoid Getting Fired

By Daniel B. Kline – May 27, 2018 at 10:02AM

You’re reading a free article with opinions that may differ from The Motley Fool’s Premium Investing Services. Become a Motley Fool member today to get instant access to our top analyst recommendations, in-depth research, investing resources, and more. Learn More

You may still leave, but there are better and worse ways to go out.

Sometimes you can see the writing on the wall. Maybe you made a major mistake, or perhaps you fell out of favor with the wrong person. In many ways, the reason does not matter -- you simply know that you're in danger of getting fired.

Just because you know it's coming, however, does not mean you have to resign yourself to your fate. Instead, there are things you can do to change your situation. If you expect the ax is coming, the right move can actually save your job.

An angry looking man points.

It's generally best to try to diffuse tension. Image source: Getty Images.

1. Talk to the boss

Schedule a meeting with your supervisor and address the fact that you believe there is some dissatisfaction with your performance. Ask for an action plan designed to bring your work back into compliance.

If the boss agrees, stick to the plan, and if possible exceed it. It's very hard to fire someone who has done everything you ask of them.

2. Quit

If your situation has become untenable and you don't believe your employer would be willing to consider letting you remedy the situation, get ahead of it. If you don't think your firing is imminent, make an effort to find a new job before losing your old one.

Also, ask yourself if avoiding the stigma of being fired is worth losing any severance or separation benefits your employer might offer. For example, how unused vacation days are handled may be different depending on the circumstances of your departure.

Voluntarily quitting is more or less breaking up with someone before they break up with you so you can say you were the one who left. There's a benefit to that, but you may have to make sacrifices to make it happen.

3. Negotiate

If you haven't already been fired then whatever offense or offenses you have committed are likely not that terrible. Because of that, your employer may be open to a mutual parting of the ways. You can ask for severance, other standard departure benefits, and an acknowledgment that you both agreed now was the time for you to move on.

If you handle things correctly, instead of being marched out with your possessions in a box, you might get a goodbye cake at a sendoff party. In many cases, if your employer wants you out, he or she will still be open to having it be a pleasant parting, because that's easier for everyone involved.

Be careful

The last thing you want to do is negotiate your own exit when your employer hasn't actually thought about getting rid of you. But if the end is inevitable, or at least on the table, taking control of the situation can make something that has the potential to be awful a little bit better. You may still end up out of work, but having your departure go down as a layoff or a mutual parting makes you a more attractive candidate when you start looking for your next job.

The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Invest Smarter with The Motley Fool

Join Over 1 Million Premium Members Receiving…

  • New Stock Picks Each Month
  • Detailed Analysis of Companies
  • Model Portfolios
  • Live Streaming During Market Hours
  • And Much More
Get Started Now

Related Articles

Motley Fool Returns

Motley Fool Stock Advisor

Market-beating stocks from our award-winning analyst team.

Stock Advisor Returns
S&P 500 Returns

Calculated by average return of all stock recommendations since inception of the Stock Advisor service in February of 2002. Returns as of 09/29/2022.

Discounted offers are only available to new members. Stock Advisor list price is $199 per year.

Premium Investing Services

Invest better with The Motley Fool. Get stock recommendations, portfolio guidance, and more from The Motley Fool's premium services.