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Downsizing and Other Dirty Words

Bridges Aren't Built to Be Burned

If you lose your job, at all costs resist the temptation to “get even” on your way out by telling off your boss, or your coworkers, or your secretary. Don't kick the trash can, steal a stapler, or do anything to mess up the computers. Don't whine or pout, or tell lies about somebody else to make yourself look better.

Getting downsized, laid off, fired, or whatever you want to call it, can be extremely upsetting and really hard on the ego. And it can be very tempting to retaliate against the person or people you feel are responsible. A sizeable percentage of violent acts in the workplace are by former employees who are angry at being fired.

Don't Go There

If you feel severely depressed after losing your job or extremely angry for longer than seems normal, don't hesitate to get help. We can't always handle problems on our own, and there's no shame in admitting that you're having trouble coping. Not seeking help can result in serious health and emotional problems.

Life, however, seldom turns out as we anticipate. Many people have found their way back to companies at which they were previously employed, and many more would have liked to but couldn't because they'd destroyed their bridges.

If you're fired, you're by all means entitled to ask the appropriate person why it happened. You should know for your own peace of mind the reason for your termination. When you talk about your change in job status, be as polite and respectful as possible, even if you're seething inside. Feel free to express your opinions and speak up on your own behalf, but don't say anything for which you'll be sorry later.

If possible, sit down for 15 minutes or so and jot down your questions or the points you want to make when you speak to your boss. Remaining as calm as possible, and having an idea of what you'll say will give you a real advantage.

More on: Family Finances


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Personal Finance in Your 40s and 50s © 2002 by Sarah Young Fisher and Susan Shelly. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit the Idiot's Guide web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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