Fired recently - REALLY need advice!!!


Let me preface this entry by saying that I am trying to be vague deliberately, as I am a little on the paranoid side of certain people figuring out who I am. I will try to be as succinct as I can, but "keeping it short" is not my strong suite.

Basically, I was working in a specialty practice (large doctor's office with a few locations) up until the end of December, at which time I was fired (worked there less than a year). Now let me give you a little background that led up to this very stressful event: Well, the long and short of it is that starting around July 2008, my suspicion was confirmed that my supervisor was a very mean-spirited person (sociopath I believe) and that such disgusting traits were starting to be targeted towards me - for what reason I still just don't know. Well, actually, I think a good bit of it may very well have been jealousy over finding out that I had something in my personal life that many nurses, actually just many women, would be quite envious of. Or it could have been some of the "smarts" I displayed at work. I don't know. Nonetheless, I am a kind person who's most always smiling and trying to make othes laugh. In other words, there is just no good reason for a regular person not to like me.

Well, as the months progressed, I noticed that this wench seemed to be targeting me more and more, very much singling me out, being very hypercritical. And I mean it got more and more petty as time went on. But here's the thing...this evil turd very rarely just addressed these "issues" with me directly. Instead, she would always magnify, and even distort, whatever the issue was and proceed to tell the director. She would never be overtly hateful/too critical to my face - a b!h of the worst kind!!!

It really just got to the point of harrassment to the point that most of the other staff knew about it. It became really stressful as you can imagine, going to work everyday walking on eggshells. As busy as this place was, I saw several times where this turd actually made the time to hyper-scrutize me, just looking for ANYTHING she could possibly stretch into something that she could get me into trouble for, while all along letting others "get a pass" for things she was singling me out for.

Well, I won't go on and on about this, especially since I am not comfortable posting the details of these events as I said. However, if you would like to hear more of the details, I will discuss it further via PM. I'll just conclude by saying that in the end, it was such a nasty termination - the evil supervisor even told the director a bold-faced lie about me. Let me also say that this organization has a pretty significant history of high staff turnover too. But I actually thought about filing a lawsuit for wrongful termination, mainly because I informed the director of this ongoing harrassment on more than one occassion - and nothing was done about it. Instead, I get hung out to dry. I'm still considering consulting with an employment attorney, but some of the best evidence I thought I had may not be sufficient (I had brought a tape recorder and put it in my pocket during one of the disciplinary meetings - but the damn thing cut off just a little bit too soon!).

So the advice I *really* need from you guys is: How do I handle answering the question "Have you ever been fired from a job?" on my next job application? And then, if I do even get an interview, how do I explain this situation without committing the proverbial "never bad-mouth former employers" tenet? I have been greatly stressed over all of this, feeling like I am finished. One last note to consider is that I am thinking about applying with the employer I had just before going to work for this craphole - I left there on a good note too.

I'd love to hear about any similar experiences you all have had or know someone who's had and the outcomes. However, ANY advice is welcome!!!!

Hi Summerlovin', I'm a new grad RN who is a second-career nurse, and I've seen this type of behavior before in the corporate world. It's called BoWS (Black Widow Syndrome), and commonly stems from a supervisor feeling insecure or threatened by a younger or smarter subordinate. It can sometimes be stopped by assiduously kissing up to the supervisor (aka Bowing down to them) and hopefully making them feel secure enough to stop. But if that doesn't work, then its only a matter of time before the supervisor accumulates enough minutae to justify asking you to leave.

It sounds like you did everything right on your end (gave the position a reasonable amount of time - a year, used the chain of command to try to adddress the problem with your supervisor, etc.). So I don't think you have anything to worry about with regards to answering the question about whether or not you've ever been fired. Most employers are very reluctant to provide details about past employees beyond term of employment and job/position title, for fear of litigation. So, as long as you don't engage in any public bad mouthing of them, there's usually no reason for them to do anything to bad mouth you (like saying you were fired). Remember, they want you to just go away and not pursue legal action against them. So it's in their best interest to not do anything which makes it harder for you to just move on and get another job.

So it's in everyone's best interest to maintain a high level of professsionalism, and treat your time there a learning experience which will help you be a better employee in the future.

You've just experienced some workplace unpleasantness that many people have experienced in their careers, and now you'll be better able to spot the signs of it in the future and deal with it more effectively. And when you are a supervisor, you'll be a better supervisor to your subordinates.

So treat it as "water under the bridge", and go out and find that perfect position that's waiting for you just around the corner.



442 Posts

Specializes in Psych. Has 5 years experience.

I have been fired and it was also wrong. Ten years later, I can tell you that it did not really matter. The biggest problem was how it affected me and working through my feelings. I found little support and felt stigmatized. However, once I was over the initial shock, I found that it had little effect on my career.

If you have them energy, money and time, then maybe consult an attorney. It may help you to feel less victimized. Also, I would recommend counselling to help you sort through the issues. Do whatever you need to do to put this behind you and move on is my advice.

BelleKat, BSN, RN

1 Article; 284 Posts

Specializes in CVICU, Burns, Trauma, BMT, Infection control. Has 36 years experience.

Unfortunately that's textbook "horizontal violence" at its "finest. I was also treated that way by a Nurse Manager. I would talk to the attorney if I were you. JCAHO is really taking a hard look at hostile work environments.

These kind of people and that kind of environment are why Nurses are leaving the profession in droves.

If the attorney can't do anything or advises against it just do your best to leave it behind you because it doesn't sound like you did anything wrong.

My old employer wont even let the managers give references. THey automatically transfer the call to hr who only gives dates of employmnet. I would have a friend call and see what they say. THen you can honestly say you needed to leave due to differences.

gonzo1, ASN, RN

1,739 Posts

Specializes in ED, ICU, PSYCH, PP, CEN. Has 20 years experience.

You state that the manager may have been jealous of you. This is one reason why I feel it is very important to downplay personal life at work until you have been someplace long enough to get a feel for the "personalities" there.

The less staff knows about you the safer you are.

Also, in my experience it is important to downplay how "smart" we are until we have a chance to get a real good feel for the place.

My father once gave me what has turned out to be valuable wisdom. He said "keep your mouth shut" and do your job quietly. Over time staff will come to listen and like you.

In my experience the new hires who come in wanting to "prove" themselves have a tendency to alienate staff. Offices are very territorial and it is hard to enter and be accepted.

Unless you are a person with a glowing personality (which I am not) it generally takes about a year for staff to warm up.

The other thing is that office "personality" tends to trickle down. If there is a mean spirited person in charge, then that tendency permeates the entire office. I have worked in both situations. There are definately mean, nasty bosses out there and we hope to never be stuck with one.

Experience has taught me to leave environments like this sooner, rather than later. These people rarely change their minds and warm up after they pick a target. It is better to move on before things can escalate to being fired.

Always try to get a written reference from someone there who did like you before you put in your notice to leave.

There are very few of use who have not been fired from a job at some point in our lives. So welcome to the ranks of reality. I think you will find that it has very little impact on the rest of your life.

Trauma Columnist

traumaRUs, MSN, APRN

153 Articles; 21,229 Posts

Specializes in Nephrology, Cardiology, ER, ICU. Has 31 years experience.

I would skip the question about "have you ever been fired?" and then explain in an interview. I'll be honest too - I don't recall this question being asked in the last few years I've filled out applications.

In the interview, I would explain that there was a conflict and that it was better that you part company.


8 Posts

ALWAYS get a letter of reference from SOMEbody there - ask the Dr., or the accountant or somebody to write a letter. If your only problem was with the one person, and if it was as obvious to staff as you describe, the Dr. should be willing to write you a short note saying how (s)he appreciated your contribution to the organization.

Then make sure you sign up with an agency or a recruiter NOW to have aslittlegapaspossible in your resume!!

Good luck.

I know it doesn't seem like it now, but this was a blessing to you. Life is too damn short to work for a witch. And we all know they're out there!!!

Good luck and God bless.


54 Posts

I agree with what others have said. If you do pursue litigation remember that you are taking a stand for this type of behavior against nurses. Lawsuits have been known to create national change, you could precept such an amazing event. With whatever you choose, know that they haven't fired you but set you free.


547 Posts

First of all, your 'turd' has sisters in every hospital, and we all work with one of them.

Second, I would love to know what you have that we all want. Just sayin'.

I agree with the one year rule. It takes women a loooong time to warm up to the new kid. That girl's father is correct: stay on the down low, and let others come to you.

Remember: you can't hurry love. :p


22 Posts

Thank you guys so much for all of your great advice and support. I used to visit this site quite frequently and now I remember why.

I definitely hear what some of your guys are saying about not coming off as too smart, especially as the new person onboard. I have always been acutely aware of how I come off to others, actually for just that reason. Throughout my life, I have observed that there is definitely an inordinate number of people in this world who truly do have "issues" (and the kicker...) THAT THEY ARE NOT EVEN AWARE OF.

In my experience, those folks usually tend to be some of the nastiest ones, preferring/choosing to just react to any negative feelings that another person may inadvertently elicit within themselves instead of taking the time to probe and discover why such feelings are so easily, and inappropriately, elicited. And all the other person (the innocent bystander) is guilty of is possessing some great quality or accomplishment. I mean, hey, we all know that a "gloater" is a different story altogether.

I would actually describe my natural way of relating with others as one that downplays any outstanding qualities I have, for fear of appearing in any way, shape, or form a gloater. I'm talkin' to the point of almost putting as much energy and focus into not upsetting others than the actual dialogue itsself. Sad really.

Sorry - I told you guys I was a little brevity-challenged ;)

WHile I still wrestle almost daily with feelings of being victimized, as well as being stigmatized like Chigap was saying, I just want to move forward at this point.

I think some of you guys were possibly alluding to the idea that I should just leave this off my application/resume? Then I have to deal with the whole fairly big employment gap thing.

Also, another big stumper: The employer where I was before crapsville is where I want to reapply (in a different dept.). Their online application does specifically ask the question "Were you ever fired from a job before?". While I did like what TraumaRus said about just skipping it, I think it may be one of those things where you are forced to answer or it will not allow you to proceed (I'll check on that). But here's the other thing...I'm not sure what the manager wrote in my employee file as to why/how I was leaving. Long story short (I mean it this time :), I put in my 2 weeks as a FT employee before starting at Amityville and staying on as PRN for another month or 2. But, I simply could not meet all the requirements (annual nurse testing and constant stream of tutorials, health screens, etc. and barely met the minimal time requirements for PRN status - had a significant health problem that lasted for several months). So what I'm getting to is that I think I have to tell them on the application that I worked there because it may be in my file already (or something to the effect of leaving for another job elsewhere). On one positive note, there is one MD there who has offered to give me a good reference.

How do I talk about this without sounding like a victim?

I'm sorry ya'll for being so needy. I've just been so distraught & gravely depressed that it's been hard to think clearly about this. Not only that, I also figured that nurses love to problem-solve and most are darn good at it.

Whatever thoughts/additional comments you guys have....PLEASE send 'em my way. And thank you again in advance!!


22 Posts


I know it's been a while ago for you, but please share how you dealt with your ordeal when applying/interviewing at your next job. Did you tell them you were fired on both the application and interview? Just at the interview?

I'm sorry you had to go through that junk - sounds like you had as hard a time with it as I am now. Really makes you question humanity, and how some people can be so evil. It's infuriating really - to not only have no consideration of the impact something like this has on a person's life, as well as their psyche, but to make a concerted, daily effort to spearhead such a sabotage!?!?! I just don't understand being that flippin' twisted and morally bankrupt!!!

So glad you overcame this successfully ;)

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