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Question: “I have been fired from almost every job I have ever had. My friend says I’m just unlucky, because I seem to wind up in impossible situations that I can’t escape. I know that difficult people are everywhere, but I guess I haven’t learned how to properly navigate around the worst ones. I’ve tried the fight-back approach and the just-deal-with-it approach, but neither seems to work. Last time, I made a pre-emptive strike by complaining to human resources, but I still wound up on the losing end of the stick. I have been fired from five jobs in seven years. What would you recommend for someone like me?” — Nathan

Marie’s Answer: Getting fired five times in seven years is not bad luck. It’s a self-destructive pattern.  Consider these suggestions:

•    Whenever you experience the same problem repeatedly, it’s quite likely that you are the cause. Instead of continuing to blame “difficult” co-workers, you should take a long, hard look in the mirror. 

•    Apparently, you allow yourself to get emotionally "hooked" by certain types of people. When conflict results, management begins to view you as a liability. The solution lies in learning to control your reactions.

•    To identify your problem behaviors, review the events that preceded each termination. How did your actions make the situation worse? How could you have responded differently? 

•    If answering these questions is difficult, ask for feedback from managers, co-workers, friends or relatives. Listen to their comments without arguing. 

To salvage your career, you must become a stable, cooperative, undemanding employee. If you can’t make this change single-handedly, then you should seek professional counseling. 

For some clues about what really bothers bosses, see "Six Signs that You May Be "Hard to Manage".

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ashley September 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm

This answer is complete horse ****. I’m so sick of people being put down because they just aren’t right for boring, meaningless, mundane jobs. Instead of trying to force everyone into this perfect little worker mold, how about we try to make people feel comfortable with who they are and help them find jobs that will best match their personalities?

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Annoynimous May 16, 2012 at 1:27 am

Question what can you do if your past job loss was do to something that was not completely within your control. Like a learning disability or ADD? This is a common problem for those like me that are lucky enough to have it. So, how can I be helped to keep a job I don’t really want to loose it? Is there help out there like job coaching or something like that? Thank you.

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