WorkWise Q&A: How do I explain getting fired by stressed out employers?

culp@workwise.netAugust 11, 2013 


Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Despite 40 years in nursing, I was fired from a position where I was a hands-on coordinator in a surgery center. On one occasion, a surgeon became extremely incensed when his favorite staff members couldn’t be scheduled. He told me he’d be “informing the board.”

Another surgeon screamed at me for asking him to read and sign a form required by the president to indicate he was informed about a piece of equipment.

I immediately went to the CNO, armed with witnesses. She told the administrator. Both surgeons were owners and reported me to the administrator. In two weeks I was asked to leave. How should I explain this?


A: Dear Speechless, Research how stressed out surgeons and entrepreneurs are. Dig deeply to see if you can find anything about surgeon-entrepreneurs.

Explain that two surgeons where you worked were under a lot of pressure and that “an article in [name of publication] reports that this can make them combustible.”

Then mention that you’re now looking for a position where the surgeons aren’t owners, which will mean that their sole focus will be on their patients without the complication of the business.



Q: Dear Dr. Culp, Five years ago I stopped doing work I loved because of money. I’ve been saving and I’m now able to go forward while going back.

I’m afraid that I’ll appear to be a person who doesn’t know what he wants. On my resume I look very successful in the bridgework, but if I base my employability on that, I won’t be able to return to my preferred work. Please help me figure out how to make myself a strong candidate.


A: Dear Ready, Do lots of job hunting prior to handing anyone a resume. Put on the hat from your favorite career and review the accomplishments and satisfaction you derived from it. Carry that feeling and frame of mind with you.

You must know roughly where you’re headed. Mingle with people at professional and trade association meetings. Tell them about what you’ve done. Keep mum about what you’re doing now, unless they ask you.

On the basis of your conversations, create job descriptions for work that would benefit them. Focus on those benefits. Resumes are a crutch. Go far without one. For you, the best time to present one will be after you’re offered a job.


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