A reader writes:
I was terminated from my former employer after I falsely confirmed to a mortgage company that someone still worked for us who didn't. I was not telling the truth, but this didn’t present any material damage to the company image as it is perceived in the public eye. Three days later, the employer reviewed the rule regarding this in a meeting. This meeting was after the fact.
I was then terminated from my job after three decades of employment with no regard to the impeccable service that I had provided to the organization and with no offer of corrective action. Additionally the employer has no regard to how I would be able to sustain my lifestyle and care for my family.
Since then, I have been interviewing since July, 2007 with no luck. I would like some advice on how to articulate to future employers the reason why I was terminated so as to mitigate negative responses.
Maybe I am a grump, but... You lied while representing your company and feel injured that they terminated you over it? Look at this objectively: You abused your position at the company (presumably to help a friend, I'm assuming), and you raised serious questions about your integrity. I'm sorry to be harsh here, but the fact that you express no regret for lying (and in fact seem to think the company owes you some sort of support) doesn't really inspire sympathy. Yes, people make mistakes, but you don't even seem to think you made one.
The fact that they reviewed the rule at a meeting after the fact has no bearing on this; it doesn't take special meetings for employees to know they're not supposed to lie. You say it didn't do any damage to the company, but I disagree: The company cannot become known for lying about who is and isn't employed by it.
You're in a difficult situation with prospective employers because the reason you were terminated wasn't an issue of your skills being the wrong fit for the job; it was an issue of your character being the wrong fit. In order to put this behind you and be able to move on to a new job, you're going to need to come to terms with the reality of the situation, rather than insisting it was no big deal -- since that's likely coming across to employers. If you can start being honest with yourself about your accountability in this situation, the fact that you've learned from the situation will likely start coming across in interviews. But if you don't have that change of heart, I think most employers will pick up on it. Would you hire someone who thought lying on the job was no big deal?