No Work, No Worth
May 27, 2009 10:36 AM Subscribe
How to redeem my professional reputation and rebuild my own self-worth after termination for unethical behavior?
posted by anonymous to Work & Money (20 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I’m posting this question anonymously because I am ashamed of what I’ve done. Eight months ago I was offered a job at the place where I completed an unpaid field experience. Although I never signed a contract stating my salary, I was given a verbal estimate, which we’ll call x. When I received my paycheck, however, I noticed the amount was about 2x. I rationalized the error to myself and did not say anything to anyone. The error was eventually discovered. When I was asked about it, I feigned ignorance. A week later, I was fired.
Although the reason given for my termination was not the above, I know that it was my own failure to act and subsequent dishonesty that led to my removal. Make no mistake: This WAS MY fault. The way I behaved is so unlike anything I've ever done before, and I honestly feel awful about the entire situation. I know that I have learned my lesson and will never do something like that ever again. But now I am afraid that my reputation has been tarnished so badly that no one will hire me. The circumstances of this latest dismissal have got me really questioning my value as an employee and even as a human being.
Recently I have applied for a couple low-wage jobs at places like Target to try to rebuild my work reputation and be more attractive for potential employers in my field. Although there were openings at the time of my application, I was not selected for an interview. This has left me feeling even more fearful and unsure of myself.
I have been including the job as work experience on my resume. I feel that it shows that I was valued enough to be hired on with the company, even if I only lasted three months. I also hoped to demonstrate the overall learning experience I gained from the opportunity. The job that I was hired for was not the area I trained for as an intern; in subsequent interviews I have explained that the job was a different skill set from that which I studied in my internship and academic program. (As a sidenote, I had already begun seeking other employment at least a month prior to my termination.)
My question is Five-fold:
1) Will I ever be able to get a job again? Or have I soiled my reputation and ruined my chances irreparably?
2) Is it a good idea to include this brief (3-month) interlude on my resume? If so, should I continue to explain the premature end the way I have already done, or is there a better way to explain the situation without jeopardizing my chances for future employment?
3) How can I prove myself to my former colleagues? Will I ever gain the respect of this company and possibly be eligible for hire again in a different role? How much time would have to pass before I could be considered for a position with this employer again?
4) This company is affiliated with a greater network of companies with a similar business concept. Will my termination from this company prevent me from being eligible for other companies in the same network?
5) How do I deal with my own guilt about my actions which quite rightfully had these repercussions? How do I face my friends, family, and colleagues who are confused about my sudden departure? How do I get from feeling like “I Suck” to “I am okay and could be a worthwhile member of another team again”?
6) I have just discovered that I am pregnant. I conceived two days after my dismissal. I want to be employable, and am afraid of having a lengthy gap on my resume. Should I look for work now or wait until after my baby is born?