What to Do When You Think You’re About to Get Fired by Whitson Gordon:


Kyle Platts
Things have gone from bad to worse at your job. Maybe the company’s showing signs of financial trouble or your boss has given you more than a couple stern warnings about your performance. If you have an inkling that your job might be in jeopardy, here’s how to prepare yourself.

Don’t wait to do this things when you get an inkling. Plan for the worst so you’re ready when it happens.

Get direct feedback and look for the signs

“In theory, you should be getting feedback along the way if you aren’t doing well,” said Kim Scott, the author of “Radical Candor: Be a Kickass Boss without Losing your Humanity.” “Solicit feedback well before you think there’s a problem. Either you’ll be reassured that things are not as bad as you think they are, or you’ll hopefully get some feedback you can use.”
Come up with a go-to question you ask with some frequency. Merely asking “do you have any feedback for me?” isn’t always going to help. Instead, put your manager on the spot and ask a more direct question like, “What can I do to make it easier to work with me?” Give your boss time to answer — at least six seconds of uncomfortable silence is usually enough — and don’t get defensive when they reply.
Of course, not all organizations are run so well. In some, getting feedback may be like pulling teeth. In others, they may not say explicitly that your job is in danger, so you’ll have to read between the lines.
Ideally, that will give you something to work with, and you may even be able to keep your job. If not, though, you’ll at least be able to say you gave it your all.

Document what your manager says, too.

Prepare for the worst now

If all signs point to a potential firing in the near future, it’s time to get your ducks in a row. “When you’re fired or laid off, it is very likely that you’ll be asked to leave right away,” said Alison Green, the author of the Ask a Manager website and book. “You may be allowed to go back to your desk to grab some personal items, but you’re probably going to be locked out of your computer.”
So start thinking now about the stuff you’ll want to have with you when you leave — contact information for friends and useful connections, statistics that might bolster future job interviews, or anything else that might come in handy. Just be sure not to take anything confidential or that you’ve signed an agreement not to take.
It’s also a good idea to make any medical appointments you might need before your health insurance goes away. Similarly, make sure you have a healthy emergency fund in your savings account, if you can: enough money to get you through a few months (experts suggest three to six) without your regular salary. This will make things a lot less stressful when the hammer finally comes down.
Next, Ms. Green said, “read your employee handbook. You might find things in there about separation procedures. It might prompt you to start thinking about negotiating a neutral reference, or you might find out if they pay for unused vacation.” These types of logistics are easy to forget when you’re in that fateful meeting, so if you think about them beforehand, you’ll be well prepared for anything that comes your way.
There are, however, a couple things you’ll need to discuss during the meeting. First, agree on a story about why you left. “Sometimes you can negotiate with your employer, and they will agree to say you weren’t fired,” said Ms. Green. In some cases, they may agree to just confirm your dates of employment when called for a reference. “The time to do that is in the meeting, when the firing is happening, because they have an incentive to wrap this up as pleasantly as possible.” You might even be able to negotiate for more severance.

In the U.S. and a lot of other countries, there is a difference between being laid off and being fired.

Fired usually implies cause: poor performance, insubordination, incompetence, criminal activity, or violating terms of employment (sexual harassment, racism, &t.) Fired for cause will often include a history of poor reports in one’s personnel file. Being laid off is better. It implies you were “let go” for general staff reductions or as part of a reorganization but not for poor performance or criminal activity.

Negotiating severance that this point is important. When I was laid off many years ago I was able to double my severance plus get a career coach, access to resources, and some other things that helped me find a great job just before my severance ran out.

Finally, try to turn that meeting into a learning opportunity. “If you’re not too devastated by having gotten fired, this is a great opportunity for you to get the feedback that you didn’t get earlier,” Ms. Scott said. Ask what you can do better, so you don’t find yourself in the same situation next time. “Then I would ask my boss, ‘Where do you see me working? What kind of opportunity do you think I would thrive in?’ If the boss is a total jerk, you’re probably not going to get any useful information, but usually people have an idea of where you would really do well.”

This is fantastic advice.

Hit the ground running at your next job

Don’t wait until you’ve been fired to start searching for your next job. “As soon as you start being worried, start the job search,” Ms. Green said. “Reconnect with your network, and start looking around at what’s out there.” Make a list of everyone you know who might be able to offer you work — or might know someone who could. If you’re in a field where freelancing is common, see if you can line up some potential freelance work during the gap. “The sooner that you can start, the better,” said Ms. Green. “You don’t want to go home from that meeting and be at square one.”

Always have “irons in the fire” even if things look good at work. It will keep you in-tune with the marketplace, help you focus your training and experience to that market, and maybe that next great opportunity comes along.

Hopefully, that will help you line up interviews quickly. Just make sure you’re prepared to answer the question of why you left your last job. You don’t have to say “I was fired,” necessarily, but don’t lie outright, since the interviewer will likely talk to your former boss. Instead, come up with a brief, nondefensive explanation of why it didn’t work out. Ms. Scott offered a simple script: “You could say something like ‘I realized that I’m really not well-suited for XYZ kind of opportunities. But that’s why this job is really appealing to me, because I’ll be playing to my strengths.'” If you can show that you’re a person who takes feedback and learns from your experiences, good employers will take notice.
Finally, remember that no amount of preparation can inoculate you against the blow to your ego. Give yourself a few days to recover, but try to shift your focus to the future. “The road to insanity in these situations is obsessing about injustice,” said Ms. Scott. “Sometimes there really is injustice, and you may want to take action. But usually, it’s a better return on investment of your time to get a new great job.” After all, the best revenge is a life well lived.

Agreed. The Stoic practice of negative visualization can help with this. Prepare for the fact that you may not be able to be as prepared as you might like.

You can check put my previous posts titled “Preparing for the Pink” on this very topic here, here, here, and here. I should collect these into a page for easy navigation, so na?

How Recapping My Days Changed My Life:

in 2015, I made a New Years resolution. At the start of each day, I would review what I had done the previous day and log it in a text file. This wouldn’t be literally everything (Otherwise it would get rather tedious); just things that were worth remembering or indicated some kind of action had been taken that would move me forward, no matter how small. If I made a new recipe, it would go in. If I saw a new movie, it would go in. Four years later, and I can safely say that this is one of the best decisions I have ever made. These are some of the ways recapping my days has changed my life.

1. Gives my life an arc
There’s a famous quote from C.S. Lewis: “Isn’t it funny how day by day nothing changes, but when you look back everything is different?” Life can feel like it’s rushing by you, and you can easily lose of track and how you got to where you are. By logging my days (usefully in single sentences; this isn’t a lengthy diary), I can more easily trace how I got to where I am now When did I move into my current residence? When did I leave a previous job? When I look back on my logs, I can see that my life is a journey, rather than just being a Groundhog Day where everything is always the same.

2. Keeps me accountable
When I don’t feel like doing anything, I remember that I’m sabotaging the “tomorrow version” of myself, who’s going to wake up and not have anything to put in the log. Occasionally, I’ll have to cop to not doing anything and log a “?” for those days. If the day is almost over and I’m scrambling to do something, I’ll add a sentence or two to a short story I’m working on. Then, I can wake up the next day and put “I worked on my short story” for that day’s log. It might not be writing a novel, but it’s still something I can be proud of.

3. Lets me cherish the really important days
At the end of each month, I mark especially notable days in bold. These “Bold Days” don’t have any specific criteria; they’re just ones that were especially important in terms of development or effort. For instance, if I complete an important project or go to a new place, that can be considered a Bold Day. The hope is to make every day a Bold Day. It doesn’t always happen, but I’ve been doing pretty well.

4. Allows me to reflect
Another aspect of this project is reflections. At the end of each month (and year), I consider what has happened and how it has affected me. This has been things like the start of a romantic relationship, adapting to a new living situation, or simply dealing with mental frustrations. Being able to write how I’m feeling without judgment of said feelings allows me to bring more mindfulness into my life.

5. Helps me remember things
I’m not going to say that I have a perfect memory, but I can confidently say that recapping my days has helped to make my memory stronger. When I look back on previous logs, I can better recall past experiences. As we get older, life can feel like it’s going by in a flash and that there’s a lack of meaningful experiences. Taking note of my experiences lets me play movies of my life in my head. Plus, if I ever want to write my memoirs, I’ll already have extensive notes available.
Brody Kenny is a freelance writer. He focuses on self-improvement and mental development, as well as arts & culture. Learn more at brodykenny.com

(Via Pick the Brain | Motivation and Self Improvement)

I’m working on this. While I’m using on-line tools for this, I find analog note taking more satisfying and something I will be more willing to read later versus the digital version.

Cyber-insurance shock: Zurich refuses to foot NotPetya ransomware clean-up bill – and claims it’s ‘an act of war’:

Snack company client disagrees, sues for $100m

US snack food giant Mondelez is suing its insurance company for $100m after its claim for cleaning up a massive NotPetya ransomware infection was rejected – for being “an act of war” and therefore not covered under its policy.

Zurich American Insurance Company has refused to pay out on a Mondelez policy that explicitly stated it covered “all risks of physical loss or damage” as well as “physical loss or damage to electronic data, programs, or software, including loss or damage caused by the malicious introduction of a machine code or instruction.”

The claim stems from the 2017 NotPetya cyberattack: a Windows-based piece of ransomware that encrypted a hard drive’s file system table and prevented the system from booting. The code then demanded that a Bitcoin payment be made to regain access. Mondelez says it lost 1,700 servers and 24,000 laptops as a result of the malware.

The Register has an almost uncharacteristically restrained take on this. This bit about Zurich trying not to pay out is particularly interesting:

That is a very unusual position to take – Mondelez called it “unprecedented” in court papers – since the insurance company will be obliged to prove that it was in fact the Russian government that had carried out the attack as a hostile action. It is notoriously difficult to pin cyberattacks on specific groups, governments or organizations.

If Zurich does succeed in arguing in case in court and wins, it would have an immediate impact, causing all large companies to review their policies and most likely creating a new market in cyberattack insurance almost overnight.

Why did Zurich come to this conclusion? Infosecurity provides a good summary.

Zurich Refuses to Pay Out for NotPetya ‘Act of War’:

Led by the UK, the Five Eyes nations came together in February last year to blame Russia for the attacks in June 2017.

“The attack showed a continued disregard for Ukrainian sovereignty. Its reckless release disrupted organizations across Europe costing hundreds of millions of pounds,” a Foreign Office statement noted at the time.

However, despite their strong statements, the governments didn’t produce hard evidence to back up their claims, which could make it difficult for Zurich to prove its case, according to experts.

… NotPetya cost losses that ran into the hundreds of millions for the likes of FedEx, Maersk, Merck and many more. It was claimed in November that they have now exceeded $3bn.

I thought this analysis was interesting in that a security practitioner provided it and not someone from the insurance sector (from the same article):

The insurer should instead have invoked a gross negligence clause, because Mondelez was hit by the same ransomware twice, argued Igor Baikalov, chief scientist at Securonix.

“The ‘fool me once’ proverb is fully applicable here: while many companies fall victims to ransomware, one of the first steps to recovery is to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” he added.

“Zurich is likely taking one for the team here, testing the waters for the whole insurance industry on the efficiency of the war exclusion and their ability to attribute attacks to a nation-state. I wonder who insures the insurers: what kind of cybersecurity protection is on Zurich’s own policy?”

ZDNet offers their own take in NotPetya an ‘act of war,’ cyber insurance firm taken to task for refusing to pay out:

NotPetya is a type of ransomware similar to Petya but it received a raft of upgrades and increased in sophistication before being released to the point researchers separated the malware out into its own family.

The ransomware will often use the EternalBlue and EternalRomance exploits to propagate. Once executed on a vulnerable Windows machine, the malware will reboot the system and overwrite the master boot record (MBR) with a custom loader and a ransomware note which demands $300 in Bitcoin (BTC).

As reported by Bloomberg, the Mondelez-Zurich dispute has been given an interesting facet in the field of cyber insurance due to attribution, and one which has the potential to prompt insurance companies worldwide to reexamine their policies.

… While the insurance policy covered “physical loss or damage to electronic data, programs, or software” by way of “the malicious introduction of a machine code or instruction,” Zurich apparently chose not to pay up, citing the NotPetya spread as “hostile or warlike action in time of peace or war,” which, therefore, voided the claim.

Marsh & McLennan argues, however, that as NotPetya struck non-military targets who operated “at places far removed from the locale or the subject of any warfare;” the damage caused was purely economic rather than resulting in any loss of life or injury, and “the chaos caused by NotPetya bore greater resemblance to a propaganda effort rather than a military action intended for “coercion or conquest,” which the war exclusion was intended to address.”

“As cyber-attacks continue to grow in severity, insurers and insurance buyers will revisit the issue of whether the war exclusion should apply to a cyber incident,” said Matthew McCabe, senior VP of Marsh. “For those instances, reaching the threshold of “warlike” activity will require more than a nation-state acting with malicious intent […] most nation-state hacking still falls into the category of criminal activity.’

This confluence of cyber-insurance, attribution, and security hygiene will prove interesting to see play out. I’m no fan of attribution generally and think too many organizations look at cyber-insurance as a “get out of jail free” card for immature security hygiene and responsibility avoidance.

As I have no particular insight into this specific case other than what the press reports. I will stay tuned (via the above ZDNet citation):

The case, filed with the Cook County court in Illinois (case: 2018 L 011008), alleges that Spanish food giant Mondelez’ insurance company Zurich did not pay out following the attack, which took place in 2017.

6 New Year’s Resolutions to Make If You Live in Japan:

As we step into 2019, here are six suggestions for achievable resolutions that can have a positive effect on both you and your surroundings.

Be More Minimalist

While there are many benefits to living in Tokyo, small apartments are not one of them. Instead of constantly rearranging your possessions like a game of Tetris, convert to a more minimalist living arrangement (bound to refresh your headspace, too). Take inspiration from the abundance of Japanese interior style magazines or read up on space saving and life fixing theologies from experts like Marie Kondo and Fumio Sasaki. Organize your wardrobe, commit to decluttering and embrace the ethos of “less is more.”

PLUS: Read our interview with Marie Kondo at hyperurl.co/TWmariekondo

Reduce Your Plastic Waste

China recently introduced a ban on importing plastic waste, which means the 1.5 million tonnes previously being offloaded from Japan each year now have nowhere to go. How can you help? Switch takeout cups and PET bottles for “keep cups” and flasks, and replace plastic straws with reusable metal or silicon alternatives. Keep eco bags on hand, say no to plastic shoppers, and try to change out your regular purchases for sustainably packaged products. Some brands, like LUSH cosmetics, even offer rewards for customers who recycle empty plastic bottles back in their stores.

PLUS: More green tips at hyperurl.co/TWgreen

Get Active, Japanese Style

Arguably the most frequently broken New Year’s resolution is to lose weight or get in shape. To help make exercising more motivating, mix in some culture and take a class in one of Japan’s traditional sports or performing arts, for example martial arts, matsuri dancing or taiko drumming. If low cost and low impact is more your thing, even practicing radio taisou morning exercises can be a step in the right direction. Tune in at home on your TV or radio, or head to your local park to stretch alongside your neighbors.

PLUS: Five Tokyo martial arts classes to try at hyperurl.co/TWmartialarts

Improve Your Cooking Repertoire

While Japan has an abundance of diverse cuisine on offer, few foreigners ever attempt to make authentic dishes at home. Make 2019 the year you master healthy Japanese home cooking. From cute bentos to homemade gyoza, there are dozens of books, video tutorials and cooking schools out there to sharpen your skills. You’ll even find local cooking teachers on skill-sharing apps and in meetup communities who run classes from their own kitchens.

PLUS: Our favorite Tokyo cooking classes at hyperurl.co/TWcookingclasses

Try Your Hand at Horticulture

Getting in touch with nature can reduce stress, keep you active and improve your mood, regardless of whether it’s cultivating houseplants or organic vegetable farming. Lately, the demand for shimin noen (city farms) and allotment plots has been increasing, so try contacting your local ward office to find out if there is space available or a community project with which you can get involved. Your apartment balcony or rooftop are also potential green spaces where growing plants, flowers, herbs and vegetables will not only have aesthetic and culinary benefits but can also provide a crucially needed habitat for the endangered honeybees who help sustain our agriculture system on a much larger scale.

PLUS: How to add greenery to your balcony at hyperurl.co/TWgardening

Visit Recovering Areas

When choosing your vacation spots this year, consider supporting areas that have been hit by natural disasters. The Tohoku region, for example, is still working hard to recover after the devastating 2011 tsunami. Tourists remain less than a tenth of what they were before the disaster, and local industries and agriculture are struggling to sustain business. In order to regenerate communities and restore valuable landmarks, affected areas rely heavily on the support of visitors in order to repair and flourish. Up-to-date online resources make it easy to research and confirm any potential dangers and closures before you visit.

PLUS: Top things to do, see and eat in Tohoku at hyperurl.co/TWtohoku

Let’s block ads! (Why?)

Via Tokyo Weekender)

I’m not going to grow anything, but the other five seem doable.