How one colleague's failure to do the right thing became the benchmark for the four who followed—and the damage they left in their wake.

House of Cards

In the summer of 2010 I was seriously considering buying a house for the very first time. I was really excited about meeting the realtor that Saturday, so imagine my disgust when I got the call about my firing the night before. It became obvious why #5 tried so hard to pay me for his lunch—practically forcing me to take a few bucks to ease his conscience. I refused the money because I had invited them out and thought it would be a nice gesture to treat them. I don’t believe he had anything to do with my firing, but he didn’t even have the courage to tell me what was about to happen.

If someone deserves to be terminated, his or her personal life should not be taken into account–this is a business and it’s just part of life that things don’t work out sometimes. That you could fire someone over something so frivolous is an entirely different matter. It demonstrates an utter lack of regard for another person’s future—without the slightest concern of the domino effect caused by such damage.

My parents have been hoping that I would get a house for many years. They would love to come and visit for a few months at a time, especially since my dad can’t travel much due to a very painful disease called neuropathy. I cannot overstate that I do not bring this up to elicit sympathy, but rather to illustrate the impact of imprudence. Adding insult to injury, I had to tell my dad on Father’s Day that I had gotten fired over nothing—so much for the house.

Before my dream job came along in April of 2011, it was slow going here and there, but I managed get some good work. I was going to make sure I would never put myself in another situation like that again, so I would be more strategic than ever about my career choices. I studied like crazy and did everything I could do to prepare myself for a better opportunity. When I was looking for my next job, I read technical books day and night—combing through every exercise to ensure my understanding. And it paid off!

Only to be robbed of it all in single day.

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