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Ask Brian – My Boss Just Got Fired

July 24th, 2008 · 8 Comments

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If you have career or job search question you would like answered on this blog, click here to Ask Brian.

Carlotta asks:

Help! My boss just got fired! The entire office is in a state of panic!

Now, normally the Ask Brian questions are a bit longer than this. But in the case of Carlotta, the rest of her question contained details and problems that were too specific to her situation to be helpful (I prefer to post Ask Brians that contain advice a wide range of readers can use) AND too revealing of her employer to be safe. So, in the interest of both usefulness and privacy, I’ve cut off the rest of the question. I answered Carlotta’s specific issues over email.

Nonetheless… I find the question itself to be interesting: what to do if your boss gets canned? So, I’ll provide some tips after the jump.

Brian Sayz:

  1. Yes. Your job is possibly in trouble. In some organizations, the elimination of a boss can indicate the planned dissolution or reconfiguring of his or her team. You yourself may not get fired, but you can expect some changes. Maybe you’ll be moved around a bit. At the very least, things won’t operate the same.
  2. Focus on the fact that your team as you know it (team, office, division, project, etc… all the same thing) might not be sticking around much longer. The firing of the boss is often the sign and symptom of a reorganization. If your team is being split up and moved around, the savvy team member is he who positions himself first. Figure out which team you WANT to transition to, and start greasing the wheels ASAP. Don’t wait for upper management to give you an assignment. You might not like their decision.
  3. Is it a layoff or downsizing-type firing? If so, your boss getting cut is the clearest indication you need to look out for your own head. Head for dry ground.
  4. Is it a nasty firing? Maybe a disagreement with management? Maybe your boss was a screwup? If so, you need to clean your boss’ stink off your reputation right away. If upper management canned the big boss, they’ll still want to salvage some of the team. This might be Machiavellian stuff, but you want to start advertising that you were one of the good eggs that the bad old boss was stymieing.
  5. Loyalty to your boss? That depends. Do you like your boss? Does she have a parachute of some kind? If it’s the type of firing where the boss will land on her feet and maybe move on to greener pastures, consider joining her. Then again… another line of thinking would be to consider the basic law of the jungle: if the chief is dead, that creates the best environment for Lieutenants like yourself to work for advancement.

Related posts:

  1. Bulletin! What You Post Online Can Get You Fired!
  2. Ask Brian- When Do I Tell My Old Job About My New Job?
  3. When Your Boss Is On Facebook
  4. PayScale Meeting Miser- Put Your Boss On The Clock

Tags: Ask Brian

  • Jodith

    *sighs* Lordy, I’ve been through this too many times. Only once when the boss got fired, but several times when the boss left the company.

    My main piece of advice, especially in an economy like now, is to CYA. Make sure you are covered, that you have an exit plan if necessary.

  • Patricia

    This has happened to me twice in my career. Neither boss was fired, but they moved on to something bigger and better with no option to take me along and a the other one was a downsizing where everyone went, including the bosses. Not fun and very disruptive. I wrote an article called, “Breaking up is hard to do” about my last experience with my boss leaving.

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  • Sharon

    I hope my boss gets fired, he is inept and lazy

  • Robert Davis

    I got fired from my job or should I say I was forced to resign. I was in a accounting department with only me and a CFO. I held the responsibility of doing reconcilation on payables account commercial fee account and mortgage accounts. I never was trained thrown to the wolves set up to fail. It scares me because it imposible to run a bank like that. The company has no internal control everything goes through the CFO perfect opportunity for her to steal money. I was told that it took me to long to complete task in addition to what the CFO instructed to me the HOUR lady would make demands and I was demanded to do what she ask in the middle of complete task instructed by my boss. I later found out the girl before me left because of the workload of the job. After instructed the Human Resource lady that I would look up a invoice after I was done. Things went down hill was ask to do mission impossible I have to do I did great job of completing the task at hand. She look through my work found two mistakes ask me to correct them and then fired me because of them. I then was ask to resign. I know I was set up what do I do. I have to kids and wife I know I tried my best. Hate the fact I got let go in this economy.

  • Samira

    My Boss just got fired today!
    It is devastating for the team. He has been very helpful and supportive for each one of us.
    I even don’t care if they fired me too, for not willing to survive there without him! I am very sad and have been crying my heart out all the day.
    He did alot for our team.. it is so unfair

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  • YoungRichardD

    I was fired 2 years ago from a school district in Texas and I filed in federal court.  At this point it looks like I am going to be reinstated.  2 of the assistant superintendents and my immediate supervisor are responsible for my wrongful termination.  When I am reinstated, what are the chances of me and my supervisor being in the same department?  Will they reassign her, or will they fire her altogether?  She was the chief cause of this lawsuit which has caused the district tens of thousands of dollars.