What Should I Tell People?: 8 Tips for How To (and How Not To) Talk About Your Termination, Part 1

One thing that few people are ever truly prepared to handle is getting terminated from a job. There is no “Getting Fired 101” to teach you how to react and how to bounce back. There is a lot of fear, confusion, anger, and embarrassment. Aside from the obvious challenges of finding a new job and figuring out how to pay the bills, most people are also unsure and worried about how to talk about their termination with others.

One common concern is how to frame the termination in a manner that will preserve one’s reputation, but many people also need to understand how talking about their termination could impact their potential or pending legal claims. Considering both of these concerns, we have created a two-part blog series that will provide eight tips for how you should and should not talk to others about your termination. Check out the first four below:

  1.  Respond without actually answering questions

When your co-worker calls you up and asks, “What happened?” instead of responding with anger or reckless abandon and stating, “that jerk of a boss finally got me fired!” try something like “I’m so glad to hear from you. I miss seeing you every day. You want to grab some coffee later this week?” There are many ways you can deflect without actually detailing the termination.

  1.  Be upbeat and forward-oriented in your response

Look at the termination as a chance to seek out new opportunities or turn over a new leaf in your life, rather than dwelling on the negatives. When you speak to others about the termination, emphasize these forward-oriented aspects, rather than discussing what actually happened.

  1.  Don’t badmouth the employer

No matter how horrible the work environment or the termination may have been, badmouthing the employer only ends up casting YOU in a bad light. You will come across as a disgruntled, bitter, and/or as a vengeful employee. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.

  1.  Answer as if they were a mole

Unfortunately, even if you think you know the person well, you should always err on the side of caution when speaking with former co-workers who are still employed by the company, or really anyone, about your termination—particularly (but not only) if you have a pending lawsuit or are considering pursuing legal action of any kind. Assume that whatever you say can and will be used against you. Be vague or don’t talk about it at all — see point number one from this blog.

For more information on best practices when it comes to what you should and should not say when talking about your termination, be sure to check back soon for Part 2 of this blog. And if you are in need of legal counsel with regard to your employment rights, be sure to contact the law firm of AndersonDodson today.

Written by AndersonDodson


AndersonDodson, P.C. is a law firm dedicated to holding employers accountable for paying their employees correctly. We are aggressive and tenacious when we need to be, if that’s what it takes to get the job done. Sometimes the playground bully needs to be brought down a notch, and we are plenty equipped for a fight if it becomes necessary. But we also don’t go looking for a fight. Our mission is to get our clients paid what the law says they deserve, not to stir up trouble where none is needed. Trouble is distracting from life, and living life should always come first.