Wanna Get Fired? Do These 10 Things



by David Gee

Most of the posts on the pages of Staffing Talk have to do with hiring people, not firing them. And that is as it should be. But when a member of the editorial staff at this fine site sent me a survey about the Top 10 reasons companies fire people, I thought I would share it. As for the source, we found the write-through on Hub Pages, but their source wasn’t credited. Crazy bloggers.

Speaking of crazy, before I get started on the list, I want to share a funny little story. After I posted the headline and wrote the first paragraph, I did a Google image search of “You’re Fired” to see what was available. Of course, there were the usual Donald Trump pictures featuring his colossal combover and pointing finger. But then I saw a very amateurish stick figure drawing that came from a Chicago law firm’s blog. I did a double take and realized it was a drawing I made myself for Staffing Talk last year. Oh, well, I’m sure I ripped a photo off before. Once anyway. I never dreamed there would be a day when my art work would be in demand though. Take that Mrs. Vail, my 6th grade art teacher who told me I didn’t have a shred of artistic talent.

So anyway, let’s going going with the list, best ways to get fired.

1) Dishonesty

This one is kind of a no brainer, even though it tops the list. Of course if you lie to your boss, share proprietary company information, fudge or fake time sheets or expense reports and the like, this is always potential grounds for firing.

Add some social media wrinkles to this one though now. Doing things like tweeting/blogging/sharing disparaging things about your boss, co-workers and/or company can get you in trouble, as can taking a sick day and then posting Facebook pictures of yourself tubing at your friend’s lake cabin. That last one is hypothetical by the way.

2) Lying on a resume

As you well know, increasing numbers of employers are checking every single reference a job candidate provides, although EEO regulations make this more difficult to complete in recent years. Many employers, including staffing agencies, require a candidate provide copies of high school, vocational school, and/or college transcripts and diplomas, as well as certifications and licenses when applicable.

Some employers are even running regularly credit checks on workers. Vendors who can perform bulk credit and background checks make this cheaper to accomplish these days.

3) Refusing to follow directions and orders

This is another one in the no brainer and self explanatory categories. Employers are paying a worker to be there, performing certain duties and functions. If the worker is unwilling or unable to perform those functions, there is going to be a problem. And probably a dismissal.

4) Too much personal stuff at work

Companies consider computers, telephones and so forth to be their property, and using, or misusing, company property on a continual basis for your personal stuff is frowned upon. Endless surfing on the web, engaging in social media sites, excessive chit chat with coworkers is also a waste of company time and could get you fired.

Companies consider computers, telephones and so forth to be their property, and using, or misusing, company property on a continual basis for your personal stuff is frowned upon. Endless surfing on the web, engaging in social media sites, excessive chit chat with coworkers is also a waste of company time and could get you fired.

5) Inconsistency

We all have bad days, right? That won’t get you fired. Usually. But if your productivity and moods are swinging all over the place in a pendulum-like fashion, that could put you in another category.  The fireable kind. This is often the kind of thing that can be addressed in a regular performance review. If you are an employer, you should be conducting them regularly. There are too many tools available today not to. No excuses. And if you are an employee, you should be receiving reviews on an annual, or even more frequent basis.

6) Inability to get along with others

Can’t we all just get along?! Seems like an easy enough ask, but as we all know, the workplace environment is not always a perfectly harmonious one. Isn’t it great to be the person about whom others others say, “They get along with everybody.” Conversely, the lack of an ability to play well with others can derail your career and advancement opportunities.

7) Can’t do the work

With more and more people desperate for work these days, by the time someone reaches the actual serious interview stage, it’s quite possible they might not answer honestly to specific questions about their skills and experience. For jobs that require certification and/or licenses, this scenario won’t happen. But for less technical or more general positions, it’s possible an employer – or even the employee – may not know someone’s true ability to perform work until they are actually on the job. If someone is hired and shown they simply can’t do the job, they will likely be let go. It’s like a blind date, the true you will emerge eventually, you may as well be honest from the start. On both sides for that matter.

Too slow to adapt

With more and more generations in the workplace than at any time in our history perhaps, a willingness and ability to adapt to different work styles, communication methods, motivations, etc., is essential for success. No doubt we have all seen situations where change is instituted by a new boss, perhaps a younger or less experienced one, and that change is resisted by long-tenured or more experienced employees. With the pace of change in the workplace today, we all must be highly adaptable and willing to evolve.

9) High absenteeism rate

I have a very diligent, serial entrepreneur friend who when discussing the correlation between persistence and success, often talks about the importance of simply “showing up.” Of course, not showing up for work carries with it consequences, which may include firing. With many employers aggregating vacations, mental health days, sick time, holidays, and other personal days into one category called “Paid Time Off” or something similar, detailed explanations about the reasons for not being at work may not matter as much. But showing up regularly still does.

Be sure and look for a subsequent Staffing Talk post about a woman who got hired, got sick (very sick in fact) and got fired. It’s an interesting case study.

10) Drug and/or alcohol abuse

Obviously drug and alcohol issues can leads to all kinds of problems in the workplace, such as inconsistent work, errors, accidents, poor interpersonal relationships, increased absenteeism, low morale and so on. It’s bad for the company and bad for the worker. When these problems come up, they certainly transcend the workplace, and losing a job may not be the biggest problem.

That’s our list. It’s fairly comprehensive, but we wouldn’t assume it’s complete. Did we make any obvious errors or omissions? Let us know your thoughts and comments, including perhaps a difficult firing decision you have had to face.