Fired, what do I do now?
November 3, 2016 10:23 AM   Subscribe

I started a job 9/26 and have just been fired. Many things were contingent on this job--what do I do now?

Please forgive any rambling and please, if you can, be nice. I'm in a terrible headspace right now.

I started a job on 9/26, which appeared to be my dream job. Everything I found about the company and the people sounded perfect, truly. The job was remote so my husband and I moved to our long-term goal city and went under contract on a house, closing the 30th of this month.

Today I have just been fired. They said I do not have the problem solving skills they require. I was out-earning my husband by quite a bit. I'm being given two weeks of severance.


1) What are the best job searching sites for the greater Portland, OR area? I'm in Vancouver, WA.

2) How should I best try to find a new job considering I'm in a new place without a lot of resources?

3) Is there any way at all we can go through with buying the house? We have about $50k in savings from selling our house before we moved.

4) How can I survive this? I am being dramatic for sure, but I also feel very hopeless. My job was the anchor that was keeping us here in our new town and now we have nothing. This is not the first time I have been fired and I'm really scared that this is just how my professional life goes now. I'm 34, I should be better at this by now.
posted by masquesoporfavor to Work & Money (20 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
I can't help with the practicalities, but I will say that this obviously isn't a place that you wanted to work. Anyone who fires you out of the blue saying "you don't have what it takes" and with no prior warning after barely a month in has their head up their ass.

At most jobs, a month is barely enough time to even begin to learn what you're doing. I don't know what field you're in, but there are a lot of them where it takes 6 months or a year to become effective at it.

And if you lose the house, it's not a catastrophe. There will be others. It's better not to have a fixed expense like that hanging over your head now anyway.

It sucks having to go through the slog of finding another job again, but with the way it worked out you can more easily downsize if you need to and your job hunting skills are still fresh, so you're in a good position to find something new and get back on track relatively quickly.
posted by wierdo at 10:34 AM on November 3, 2016 [46 favorites]

First, file immediately for unemployment.

"If you were fired through no fault of your own, such as not having the skills to do the job, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits. If we decide you were fired or suspended for misconduct or gross misconduct, you will not qualify for unemployment benefits."

Not sure if your job is in Oregon but they have similar guidelines. If your employer challenges, fight it. It will at least be a cushion for you. Just wanted to post this as many people think "fired" always equals ineligible for unemployment.
posted by peep at 10:37 AM on November 3, 2016 [27 favorites]


Go to google and do searches for "temp agency [city]" and "staffing agency [city]". Contact the top five results for each search. (If you were an employer looking for a temp employee, and didn't already have a contact for an agency, that's probably what you'd do, right? Exactly.)

Send your resume and apply through each agency's website, following their instructions.
Then search on linkedin to find a recruiter or two for each agency and do a bcc blast email for each agency to likely email addresses. Like,,, etc, and also make sure to include and just for good measure. Write a nice little blurb about yourself "Hi, I'm so and so and I recently relocated to the whatever area and am looking for work. I just applied formally through agency website but wanted to reach out personally, too. I have number of years experience in field and field, and am proficient in specific software and software. My schedule is open and flexible right now and I'd love to schedule some time to meet with your office to talk more about my experience and availability. Etc etc" Keep it to a chunky paragraph, be positive and upbeat and AVAILABLE, and just send send send. Obviously attach your resume to this email as well.

You WILL get a call back, and you WILL get placed into something or things eventually. It might not be your dream job, but it'll give you income and references while you get your life sorted out.

You'll be ok! Go get some puppy snuggles, make yourself some tea and brunch, and let yourself breathe. Tackle the temp agencies first thing tomorrow.
posted by phunniemee at 10:37 AM on November 3, 2016 [28 favorites]

Response by poster: I don't know if I can file for unemployment--I haven't established residency here yet.
posted by masquesoporfavor at 10:51 AM on November 3, 2016

As for whether you can/should go ahead with buying the house, some questions to ask yourself: can you afford the house payments on your husband's income alone? On your husband's income + unemployment? Were the house payments going to be right at the very top of what you could afford even with your income from the remote job?

For unemployment: what state is the company you were working for in, and what state did the company consider you to be resident in? The company should have been paying unemployment insurance premiums for the the state that you were working in. I would call up or go in to your local unemployment office (because it's easiest) and ask them what you should do. If they can't help you, call the unemployment office for the state where you used to live and the state where the company you were working for operates out of.
posted by mskyle at 10:55 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Many university career centers will assist alumni. Since you are naturally disoriented, you could contact them and see what help they can provide.

I'd also echo weirdo that this is clearly a failing on their side: Either you didn't have the skills they wanted you to arrive with, in which case they did not screen correctly or communicate expectations with you clearly, or they are dismissing you without giving reasonable time and support to learn the job.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 11:00 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Don't decide about the house yet, especially if you love it. You have a little while to work things out and plenty of other things to think about.
posted by amtho at 11:17 AM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

Go to Ask A Manager and read all of her advice on firings and job searches. Also, if you're worried this is becoming a pattern, you could submit a question to her. It's free and she's the best.
posted by Amy NM at 11:26 AM on November 3, 2016 [10 favorites]

That company sounds bad, you don't fire someone without warning like that.

If you only worked there for a month you're not going to qualify for unemployment unless you had a regular steady job before you took this one, I think, and even then it's not assured that you will qualify.

Will you lose money if you back out of the house purchase? Find out about that. Your mortgage approval was based on your income, right? So if you report your change in financial status to the mortgage lender they might withdraw their mortgage offer? Is your 50K in savings above and beyond what you were going to put down on the house?

Lots of variables you need to consider here. Good luck!
posted by mareli at 11:35 AM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

I think on the house you talk to the people doing the closing and report this, as mareli said - most likely you're going to become disqualified for the mortgage to close, which depending on the offer you signed, means you get the deposit back. Even if you lose the deposit, still better than going through with a house you don't necessarily need.

I believe you're qualified for unemployment, and I think it's going to be based on the office you were working out of, not your home state. But try both/talk to both. Either state's unemployment office will know how to handle this.

And yeah, let me add to the chorus of "it's not you; it's them." This company sounds like it sucks.

And don't put this one month of broken employment on your resume. Contrary to popular belief, it's not unethical to omit information on a resume, and you'll look better in most cases to not have this job on it.

It might even be worth at least running this scenario by an employment attorney. If they've got anything in the handbook about due process, I find it hard to believe they followed it, based on the info you've given.
posted by randomkeystrike at 11:58 AM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't think you can go ahead with buying the house under your current contract. It's contingent on your income at that job, which you no longer have. And frankly, I wouldn't attempt it anyway. You can find another house to buy, and another job, but getting into a 30-year financial obligation when you don't have reliable income is not a good idea. In a way, it's fortunate that this happened before you closed and not after.
posted by Autumnheart at 11:59 AM on November 3, 2016 [8 favorites]

The Employment Security Department for Washington state does not list residency in Washington as a requirement to collect unemployment from them.
posted by layceepee at 12:01 PM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

I don't know if I can file for unemployment--I haven't established residency here yet.
pay an employment atty $200 (or whatevs) for an intial assessment of how to get your unemployment squared away. (you are a resident *somewhere*)

it is so. totally. worth. it.
posted by j_curiouser at 12:16 PM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

For Portland professional type jobs:

For pretty much all jobs, including mine:

Also, run some scenarios with your mortgage person to see if you can qualify for an FHA loan. Your monthly payment will be higher, but you can put only 3.5% down which will help you conserve cash and the debt/income ratio is quite a bit higher (easier to qualify for) than a standard loan, and you will pay mortgage insurance. If in a year or two, your life situation is more steady then you can refinance and put more money down and lose the mortgage insurance.
posted by TomFoolery at 12:55 PM on November 3, 2016 [1 favorite]

The Portland subreddit is pretty active. There is typically a listing there of "Who's hiring this month". I'm so sorry this happened.
posted by elmay at 2:45 PM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

- there's a "who's hiring?" link on the portland subreddit, not to be confused with the portland jobs subreddit which is kinda slow. It's pretty much the only thing I use reddit for; I found my most recent job there.
- the city of portland posts new jobs on Mondays
- multnomah county
- the hospitals, schools, and universities
- Craigslist (there's like a billion CDL listings, if you've ever considered truck driving, but there's plenty of other stuff, too. this is a decent way to find a temp agency, lots of them post to craigslist. temp agencies are a good way to find an in for a job in Portland)
- work source (unemployment office, it's for everyone looking for a job. staff is overworked but they have a listing)
- portland tech for tech jobs
- new seasons is a major employer that's always hiring, fred meyers, too. the food co-ops hire occasionally.
- portland startups switchboard usually has some jobs listed
- Mac's list is I think the local job hiring site you're looking for.

If you can cover the house payments on your husband's salary (with roommates if necessary and if you can live with that) then go for it. If you can't, rather than fall for the sunk cost fallacy, it's okay to let the house go. There will be other houses.

There are lots of stressors in your life right now, so maybe take a few days to chill and do something happy-making. I don't know where you moved from, but the NW grey winter drear can really wear on people so make sure you have a happy lamp and/or get enough exercise outdoors in what passes for sunshine and/or vitamin D etc.

There's a billboard I pass sometimes. It says: You're stronger than you think you are / A lot stronger
posted by aniola at 3:43 PM on November 3, 2016

Sooo, we bought our contracted house with our main breadwinner (60%) getting fired a week before we went to closing. The housing market was a seller's market. We did the math. We could make it for a year, longer if he picked work that out- earned his unemployment check. We went forward and are now 15 years into homeownership. Do the math. File for unemployment. It may get credited back to the job you left, but so what? It's income. Find temp work. Read Ask A Manager and take some time when this is less raw to reflect on your role & learn about yourself. It took another experience for our person to wise up on some communication skills - not that this is you - just something to think about down the road for an ounce of prev-, personal development. If it's all THEM, this is the fast track to finding a better situation. If it's a buyer's market, that may influence the decision about the house, too.

Best wishes. Our family has been there & come out ok. You will too.
posted by childofTethys at 3:44 PM on November 3, 2016 [3 favorites]

We did not mention the job loss. Not sure about checks & balances now, YMMV.
posted by childofTethys at 3:50 PM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

Agree totally about Ask a Manager. So much good advice on there. I'm sure she would tell you to not even put this job on your resume.

Also agree that any employer that dumps you after a month is actually doing you a favor. It sucks now, but they're clearly a train wreck.

phunniemee's advice about temping is great. It will keep you afloat, and keep you from having a large gap on your resume. Your story then sounds totally plausible "I've always wanted to live in Portland, so we moved here recently and I've been temping until I find a full-time job that's a good fit."
posted by radioamy at 9:11 PM on November 3, 2016 [2 favorites]

There are no residency requirements for unemployment insurance. The money comes from the state where you earned the money, from your employer. Your current state merely manages the process and you follow their rules.

I've lived in Texas and gotten unemployment from jobs I had in California. And in Kansas from jobs I had in Texas.
posted by shoesietart at 2:22 AM on November 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

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