How do I talk about being fired in future job interviews? Advice and encouragement needed.
This was me.
I was fired from my job of 11 years because of having too many absences. I was intermittently under the care of a psychiatrist and therapist, but I was not able to fight my way out of depression, social anxiety, ADD and a thyroid disorder enough to make it out of the house and to work every day. At the time I was fired I was on short term disability, but the employer had no choice but to let me go; I wasn’t there to do my job.
Prior to that, I had 10 years of work at this company, and an additional two years of work at another company. I excelled at my job, was promoted twice while working there, and had excellent working relationships with my coworkers and supervisors.
What I have been up to in the past year and a half:
- I worked with my GP, psychiatrist and therapist on a lot of the various issues that contributed to my debilitating condition. I am on new medication and I have made huge dietary and lifestyle changes. I am now in a place where I can honestly say that I feel more physically, mentally and emotionally stable than I have felt in my life.
- I have worked as a freelance writer for Textbroker and have been taking online courses to brush up on my Microsoft Office skills.
- In the last year, I have become a primary caregiver for my seriously ill mother.
Other data points:
- There is obviously no way to leave this job off my resume (I worked there for 11 years, my entire adult employed life so far). I cannot and would not lie or omit the fact that I was let go from my previous job. If it came to light that I lied on my application, I could be fired. I can’t say that I “needed a change” or that “I left to pursue other interests.” Employers are rightfully going to want a specific, truthful explanation.
- I am not sure of the policy of my former company regarding what they say when called for a reference. I am sure they would not say I was fired, but if asked if I was eligible for rehire they would most likely say no.
- How do I talk about this to future employers? I know enough not to get into a long-winded explanation about my mental health, but how much do I say? Do I need to say it was from absences, or should I say something like “I was unable to perform my job."
- I think I need to showcase what I have learned and demonstrate why this will not happen again. Are there any “magic words” that those in a hiring position would look for? How much detail do I give when talking about what I have been doing during this time? Do I mention caring for my mother? Do I get into the areas I have improved upon in my personal life (which directly correlate to my working life)?
- How do I use my successes in the past to sell myself for future jobs? I know I can't rest on my laurels, but do they count for anything in this situation?
- Do I call an HR person at my former company and just straight up ask them what their policy is of confirming or denying eligibility for rehire? Do I really have to get a friend to call and pretend to be asking for a reference about me to see what they say?
I am looking for experience from others who have been in this situation, and opinions from those in hiring positions. I know the odds are stacked against me, and I know that I would be looked at as a risk for employers. I want to be real and honest, and I want to deal with what I experienced and move on. Thank you for any advice or encouragement you can give me.
Throwaway email still: firstname.lastname@example.org.