October 30, 2020

What To Do If You Think You’re About To Be Fired

With the news this week that KPMG trashed a bunch of its workforce cuz Rona or whatever, we thought this might be a good time to talk about what you should do if you think you might get the axe. I wish I’d read an article like this a few years back when I got fired — er, laid off — from this website when it was bleeding money because salespeople didn’t know how to do their jobs, but no such thing existed back then.

I speak with some authority here and wish I’d done what I’m about to suggest when I got wind that I was going to be fired — yikes I did it again, I mean laid off — from this esteemed website back in the day. I was lucky in that I knew a week or two before it happened, but I did nothing of substance with that information when I could have been securing my future. Whatever, live and learn.

The first thing you need to do is secure your contacts. All those people in your email? Yeah, you’re gonna be locked out with the quickness if the hammer comes down, so it would be worth it to take the time and farm your contacts. LinkedIn is trash and I’m pretty sure they banned me a while back, but since you’re going to get fired anyway, might as well take half a day and add your professional connections, assuming you aren’t also banned like me. Throw everyone you ever talked to into a spreadsheet while you’re at it. It’s funny to me now that I’m back at this website when TPTB ask me if I can reach out to so-and-so at whatever accounting org and I’m like *shrug* I would but I don’t have their contact info, I got locked out of my old email. Too bad.

Now. All those contacts you gleaned from your inbox? Those are the people you want to hit up. Ideally before you actually get fired, as it’s easier to get a job when you already have one, which brings me to my next point.

Start working on that resume. I mean, you’re about to be fired anyway, who gives a shit about work output when you have one foot out the door? Polish that bad boy up and hit up r/accounting to give it a glance, they’ll be honest and tell you if it’s trash. Alright, resume sorted.

And now you just kick back. It’s just a job, you’ll be fine. People leave jobs all the time. As Glassdoor reminds us, even Oprah got fired once and she’s like the 10th richest person in the world so nbd.

In the moment, getting fired can feel earthshattering. But for such a seemingly catastrophic event, getting fired is actually quite common. Business icons like Steve Jobs, Anna Wintour and Oprah Winfrey were all famously fired at some point in their career. In fact, in 2010 Wintour told a conference audience, “I recommend you all get fired. It’s a great learning experience.”

There are also a whole slew of reasons why the firing might not have even been your fault. Setting reasonable boundaries in a chaotic work environment, raising “elephant in the room” issues that management is afraid to address or even delivering such stellar results that you embarrass your boss can all be hidden reasons for being handed the pink slip. And if getting fired was really your fault? This is an excellent learning opportunity.

Have a drink, dust yourself off, and go respond to all those recruiters in your InMail you’ve been ignoring all this time.

Latest Accounting Jobs--Apply Now:

Have something to add to this story? Give us a shout by email, Twitter, or text/call the tipline at 202-505-8885. As always, all tips are anonymous.

3 Comments

  1. 1. Have you paid\expenses all your professional dues? Got a to get CPE when no one else is paying?

    2. Look over your benefits to max them out. New glasses. Fill extra prescriptions. Make sure you zero out an FSA. Fitness allowance.

    3. Remember insider threat monitoring is going to be looking for file transfers to outside areas. Only some look at printed material and none can see you taking pictures of your screen. There are tidbits of work programs you’ll wish you did’nt have to figure out all over again.

    1. 4. Pull your CPE transcripts immediately if they are tracked by your firm. If you are deficient start using whatever internal resources there are to get up to your minimum hours.

      5. Make sure your AICPA, State CPA Org, and PTIN, etc. are all registered to personal emails. It is impossible to fix this if you used your work email for any of this once you’re fired and out the door.

      6. CHECK CHECK CHECK your final pay check. Often times your final PTO payout won’t be on your final direct deposit. You’d think an accounting firm could get final pay checks right, but I was issued three final paychecks due to errors in my PTO payout, errors in my final paycheck, and I have no idea what the third one for $5 was about.

      7. Make sure you can access any retirement savings with your existing employer. Once you’re fired its harder to get HR to answer these questions for you.

  2. Subsequent to a merger, I was laid off from the firm where I had worked for 23 years. #1 buy new home office equipment if what you currently have is owned by the company. #2 Order basic business cards. #3 update your resume #4 change your contact information with your state society, AICPA, IRS etc to your personal phone and email. #5 network like it’s your job. You’re more likely to find your next job through someone you know than a website.

Comments are closed.

Related articles

Yes, You Can Make More Money as a Freelance Accountant or Finance Professional

The pendulum has swung: accountants and finance professionals can make more money—and have wayyyy more freedom—taking on freelance work, especially when compared to a full-time salaried position at a public accounting firm. Just imagine it! Working from home in your pajamas, setting your own hours, taking Netflix-and-nap breaks. No co-workers bugging you with stories of […]