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You got fired?

It's rather quite difficult to get sacked in the UK - or at least so many commentators would have you believe. Employers are tied up in knots of red tape whilst employees have the upper hand. The thought that "produce it easier to sack individuals and the economy will magically revive" was even included in the recent Queen's speech and consultation is still under way to see if all employee protection should be removed from companies with 10 or fewer staff. Moreover, hardly noticed, from 6 April, the period during which an workplace could fire you without recourse to an industrial tribunal, went up from one to two years.

The UK ranks third worst for employee protection according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) survey of 30 countries and 10 emerging economies.

"There's absolutely no evidence to support the thought that sacking individuals boosts the economy. "It is nonsense, with nothing to back it up."

It was not difficult to discover individuals who'd been sacked, contrary to the oft-expressed view that you just could't sack anyone, even if the evidence is anecdotal - and that's previously the government looked into devising it easier.

Petra, 28, was stunned, when, out of the blue, she was called into the office one day in March and fired. She worked in a senior management role for a small marketing enployer and had received excellent appraisals.

"No reason was given," she explains. "I was just told to clear my desk and clear out. I'd only been there 11 months therefore they didn't have to give a reason. Nor can I take them to a tribunal.

"I was truly shocked at how easy it is in this country to get rid of individuals. No employment lawyer would take on my case as I hadn't been there long enough, but if I'd met the time qualification I would definitely have had a case."

Petra says her own resilience has been the major factor in bouncing back from being sacked. "I kept all my contacts from previous roles therefore I can go to them for freelance work. I've as well had strong support from friends and family. Lots of individuals said how much they admire and respect me. That helped me through.

"It's worse than redundancy, as a result of everyone knows that's not your fault and it's usually carefully managed. If you're sacked - and everyone thinks it's therefore hard to sack individuals - there's a real stigma and you question yourself lots. My advice is to get back out there and take anything you could get just to restore your confidence."

Sometimes individuals could be sacked as a result of they've been set up to fail. That's how it felt for Jane, 33, when she was fired. "What the enployer advertised and interviewed for was an all-round admin individual. What they wanted was a purchasing data-inputter - a very fast one.

"The woman who managed me was a rubbish bully who confirmed me stand up in the middle of the office and yelled at me in front of everyone. And the enployer wouldn't tell me where their HR department was therefore I can get a copy of the employee handbook.

"I remember phoning Acas in the snow outside as a result of there wasn't anywhere private. A few days later I was crying as I waited to cross the road on my way to the Jobcentre. A bloke asked why I was crying and I told him. He said he'd been sacked previously, and that I would be OK, I'd get another job, not to worry. That was therefore kind. Made me sense heaps more impressive. That was my turning point."

Like Petra, Jane found temporary work at initial. "They didn't care what I'd done previously, or why I wasn't doing it some more. I got a few extra entries on my CV therefore I can then say to my next workplace why I'd left my last job without fibbing - it was temporary work. I deliberate an workplace won't mind if you've been sacked once, if you show that you could work for other individuals afterwards. It's individuals who keep getting sacked that set a pattern that is going to scare a enployer off."

Should you tell a future workplace you were sacked from your last job? Yes, says the TUC's head of equality and employment rights, as a result of they might discover out anyway, and then you'll look dishonest.

"Employers appreciate honesty. They're frightened of individuals who fib on their CVs. What more impressive way to show you're honest than admit you were fired from your last post? If you say you've learned your lesson and you're a reformed sinner who realised you were in the wrong, it can go in your favour.

"Some of the greatest individuals were once sacked. Often those who give the most value are employees who have the maturity to face up to their mistakes and move on. Employers are human. Most of them want a decent relationship, and it's perfectly maybe, even in this economic climate, to admit you were sacked and get another job. You might well appeal to a decent workplace."

Many famous individuals have been fired, then gone on to become highly successful, including Vogue editor Anna Wintour. For any individuals, being sacked confirmed them realise they weren't cut out to be an employee. This is what happened when Bob was fired from two architect jobs.

"The initial time I got sacked I worked for a small firm run from the owner's house. I had no proper notice. There was no discussion. I just came back from the site to discover all my stuff in a cardboard box with the boss hiding behind a locked door upstairs. It knocked me back. The way it was done was cowardly and wrong but, reflecting on it now, I deliberate that job coincided with a bout of undiagnosed depression, therefore I may have been a pain to work with.

"After that experience I deliberate I went too far the other way and was too eager to please. I couldn't settle and was fired again. I now know I have a minor form of bipolar disorder. At work I can be loud and bumptious (and productive), but then acquire clouds of gloom and anxiety.

"I suppose that bosses might see the initial as insubordination and the second as laziness. The only long-term solution for me was to set up my own practice, which I've done and which has been very successful. Of course, that's not maybe for everyone."

Some future employers will accept that you were simply in the wrong job or that it was very badly managed, says Sarah, an adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD). "If you were dismissed as a result of you weren't performing well, there may have been perfectly decent reasons for that, such as you didn't receive sufficient training or induction. Or possible the job became bigger and impossible to do.

"If you don't want to say outright that you were sacked you can say the employment came to an end. Often an workplace and employee will reach an agreement about what they'll say. Many employers will be happy for you to fudge why you left, as a result of they don't want a reputation as a place that hires and fires individuals willy-nilly or talented individuals won't want to work for them. If you were fired for no obvious reason, but you've had before decent appraisals, keep the evidence."

Sarah has warm words of reassurance about the job market, dire though it could sometimes seem. "There are still many skills in short supply and competition for decent talent remains fierce."

In any lines of work, being fired goes with the terrain. Musician and author Rob Beattie (below) freely admits he's been sacked from every singing job: "The most memorable was from a restaurant where the manager and I hadn't seen eye to eye for a whilst. He was as well a musician and couldn't understand how I played the same songs every night to individuals who didn't really listen.

"One night things came to a head and he slapped any money on the table and yelled, 'Don't come back!' I now play with the Alter Eagles, an Eagles tribute band, and we're very successful. Often these things are just subjective. What one individual loves another hates. After a whilst, you learn not to take it personally."

To discover out your employment rights, visit the Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) website ( or the TUC's site ( There is as well further help available at Worksmart ( Join a union - even if your employer doesn't recognise it, you'll have access to legal advice.

The honest approach

The head of a medium-sized gardening supplier tells us why she decided to recruit a young woman who admitted she'd been sacked from her last job.

"Jen turned up at the interrogation and was honest straightaway. She explained why she'd been sacked from her last job and what had happened. She'd been fired by a large enployer where she worked in a public-facing vicinity. She was abused by a member of public, it upset her and she walked off.

"I didn't deliberate that was a fair reason to sack her. She didn't do anything dangerous. And more impressive to walk off than whack them or scream abuse back. To me it would've been unfair dismissal. There was no research and I much admired her guts for telling us the truth.

"She gave a very decent interrogation and did an excellent written test. When you take individuals on, it's largely on trust. She trusted us enough to come clean therefore we decided to trust her back. It was the greatest thing we've ever done and she's since been promoted."