In this episode, Dr. Cari Wise discusses the topic of getting fired as a veterinary professional.
Dr. Wise emphasizes that getting fired does not mean that the individual is bad or not cut out for the job, and encourages individuals to approach the situation with curiosity and compassion, seeking to understand the experience and learn from it.
The importance of organizations providing clear employee expectations and regular feedback in the workplace is highlighted, as well as the role of leadership in firing employees.
Key takeaways from the context include:
- Getting fired does not define one’s worth or value as a human being.
- It is important to approach getting fired with curiosity and compassion, seeking to understand the experience and learn from it.
- Employers must set clear expectations and give regular feedback in the workplace in order for employees to perform and grow.
- Sometimes getting fired has nothing to do with the individual and may be a result of organizational changes or position eliminations.
Mentorship for Veterinary Practice Leaders- email firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Resource: Vet Life Academy
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This transcript is auto-generated and may contain typos.
Hi there. I’m Dr. Cari Wise, veterinarian, certified life coach and certified quantum human design specialist. If you are a veterinary professional looking to uplevel your life and your career, or maybe looking to go in an entirely new direction, then what I talk about here on the Joyful DVM podcast is absolutely for you. Let’s get started. Hello my friends.
Welcome to episode 163 of the Joyful DVM podcast. Today we’re going to be talking about getting fired. It’s something that many of us have experienced and a lot of us have experienced more than one time. So because it is one of the things that I am most commonly asked about and that I work with coaching clients on really frequently, I think that it’s time to talk about this whole concept of getting fired here on the podcast because I know there are many of you who have had this experience yourself and you have just not had an opportunity to really talk about it with anybody and to consider it from some different alternative perspectives that can probably help you move forward.
So first and foremost, what does it mean to get fired? Basically, it just means that an employer no longer wants to keep you as an employee. So it’s determination of an employment position. Now, why do people get fired? The bottom line is that the employee who gets fired is not a good fit for the organization. But let’s dig into that a little bit further because there’s all kinds of reasons that this may be true.
When people get fired, oftentimes they’re just told that it’s just not a good fit. That, and then they’re not even given any additional information. So I think this is one of the first things you’ve gotta ask yourself. If you’ve had this experience where you’ve been fired, or if you’re an employer and you’re getting ready to fire somebody, what is your reason?
And are you going to give them or have you heard it’s just not a good fit, you’re just, you just don’t fit in? Well here, that may seem like a really legitimate reason and maybe once we get to what’s underneath it, it is, but in and of itself, it doesn’t give anybody enough information to move forward from. So if you are the one who has been fired and you’ve just been told you’re just not a good fit for the practice and you’ve been let go,
don’t be afraid to ask for a little bit more information. What do you mean? Can you give me some specific examples? It’s not that you’re arguing with their decision because odds are you don’t have any ability to argue to keep that position. And I would even go as far as to say that if it’s someplace that doesn’t want you to work there, do you actually want to continue working there?
So we’ll kind of get into that a little bit more later. But if you’ve just been fired without any reason, and even though there are many, many states that there is, you can be fired without any cause at all, right? You don’t have to give a reason when you’re gonna fire somebody. It’s still okay as the person getting fired just to ask for some more information so that you can learn from the experience and really take it as part of your own personal growth process.
So understanding why you’ve been fired, asking why is really valuable information. Now, that doesn’t mean my friends, that we are going to believe everything that is said to us when we get fired. So whatever they say about you doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s true. And so this kind of goes on to our next point. My next point here about getting fired is that getting fired does not mean that you are bad.
So it doesn’t mean you’re a bad vet, a bad vet, tech a bad person, it doesn’t mean you’re not cut out for this job. It doesn’t mean anything about you personally. When another human makes a decision to eliminate your employment with their organization, you are still a human and a human experience, which means you are still infinitely valuable and worthy simply because you exist.
And it can be a little bit of a blow to our ego and to our self-esteem when we get fired. But we have to bring ourselves back to the truth, which is that you getting fired does not mean that you are bad, does not mean that you aren’t valuable and worthy. Those things are unshakeable. So in those moments when somebody gets fired,
I think if we can give ourselves an opportunity just to take a breath and to ask some questions, it will help us to understand the experience and the why a little bit more. Now, people may not answer you. They may decide not to have that conversation with you. And for those of you in leadership positions who have the responsibility of terminating employees,
I would encourage you to not shy away from these conversations. I would even take it a step further and say that if it’s a situation where your organization keeps firing people, you’ve got to take a look at your hiring practices. Because having to fire people over and over and over again is a reflection on your inability to hire the right people for the position that you have available.
And when I say the right people, I don’t mean people who are good enough, I’m just saying people who have the skillset to meet the expectation that you’ve set. And this kind of goes into a whole other side of this situation because in veterinary medicine, we historically have not been very strong leaders and people have been elevated to leadership positions with the ability and the power to make decisions about firing and hiring people without having any kind of skillset on how to do this effectively.
When we have to fire people, it is as much a representation of a failure on our part as leadership, as it is an awareness of the lack of meeting expectations on the part of the person who is fired. So my friends, if you get fired, this is a two-way street here, and this is why I think it is so important if you have the opportunity to do so,
to ask for some additional information about how you didn’t meet the expectations of the job or what you could have done differently. Now, in a perfect world, getting fired isn’t a surprise. So in a perfect world, there are processes in place whereby employees are getting regular feedback whereby when they are hired, they are clearly given the expectation. So the expectation is clearly defined in veterinary medicine.
I’m talking about things like employee manuals and policies and procedures, manuals so that everybody who works within an organization is on the same page regarding what is expected for the role that they hold. And then when it comes to an evaluation process, once you get hired, hopefully you’re getting a 30 day evaluation and then you’re getting quarterly evaluations for the first year and then maybe biannual or annual or yearly or twice yearly I should say,
to avoid confusion, evaluations from there on out. Evaluations don’t need to be feared. And in veterinary medicine, because this tends to be such a high paced kind of profession, leadership tends to just kind of push that stuff down the road and get to it eventually, and then races right through it without even understanding how critically important feedback is if you wanna build strong teams within your veterinary hospitals.
And so if you as an employee haven’t had those opportunities to have your expectations clearly defined to have regular feedback on your performance, and then all of a sudden you get fired outta the blue and told you’re not a good fit, I want you to see that you are not a bad person. And that this parting of ways between the employer and the employee is as much on them as it is on you.
None of us can meet an expectation that we don’t understand. If we have never been given any kind of feedback regarding our performance, but then one day we are fired for it, just realize that you didn’t have any opportunity to make any adjustments. And this is why I encourage anybody who gets fired to ask those questions of why. What could I have done differently?
How did I not meet your expectations? Not in a victimy kind of a way, not in an argumentative kind of way, but truly from a a point of curiosity, independent of self-judgment and shame. We don’t need to bring that in, but let’s just understand what drove the humans to make the decision to end the employment with you. You may not get that information,
so I’ll just be real upfront here. You may ask for it and you may not get it because if the person you’re talking to, if that person who is in charge of terminating your employment doesn’t have their own level of emotional maturity and leadership skills developed, then they are not going to be comfortable in that conversation. They’re gonna try to cut it off quickly.
It’s just not a good fit. You’ve gotta go. And I want you to just be acutely aware, my friends who have gotten fired in this way, that that is nothing for you to carry around as shame or burden on yourself. Because that type of situation, one that will not talk to you about the reasons why they have elected to terminate your employment or one that fires you and you are completely blindsided for blindsided by it,
that organization does not have their shit together for me to put it, quite frankly, and I know that sounds very judgmental toward veterinary hospitals out there and my friends, I’m not trying to be judgmental. I’m just trying to create some awareness to realize that if we don’t have strong teams in our veterinary hospitals and we keep pointing fingers at the people who we keep hiring,
who we then keep firing, we are completely missing that we are playing a major role in this constant turnaround of employees that we have. They cannot meet an expectation that was not defined. They cannot improve if you don’t give them feedback. And if instead you just say you’re too busy to do any of that, they should just know their job and they should just do it.
And then you fire them when they don’t meet your expectations. That is the quality of a terrible leader. And you will never grow your hospital to the point that you have a solid veterinary team if you can’t learn to lead in a better way. Now, for you team leaders out there, your organizations who are struggling with this, by all means, if you want some help with this,
reach out to me over here at Joyful DVM, because I do have organizational programs to help with this. And this wasn’t the point of this podcast, but I think that I can’t point out some areas of opportunity without giving you then some resources to help you. So if you need help in this area, reach out to me over at joyful DVM and we will hook up and I can talk to you about how I can help.
But back to our friends here who have been in a situation who have gotten fired, the first thing that I want you to know is that you are, and I’ve said it already, but I’m gonna say it again, that this does not make you a bad person. This does not make you a bad vet. This does not make you a bad vet tech.
This does not mean you’re not cut out for this field. Even if this isn’t the first time you’ve gotten fired, that does not mean that you are not still infinitely valuable and worthy simply because you exist. There’s always opportunity. Whenever we have any kind of thing happen in our lives, there’s always opportunity for us to reflect and to grow through these experiences.
There are no un wasted challenges. So these challenges that we come up against, they are here to help us grow and to help us evolve. And so as we go through these situations, we need to get into curiosity. We need to get into much compassion for ourselves to release any shame or judgment or guilt or embarrassment that we have about this situation.
And just realize that getting fired is just a thing, right? It’s just one human took an action that terminated employment. And I’m not saying that you didn’t do things that led to that, but what I am saying is that you have the, the right, if you will, to at least understand what you were doing from somebody else’s perspective so that you can consider where some of what they may be saying could be true so that you can then make adjustments if you want to.
Now, the way that we interact with other people always, so this is whether it’s the person doing the firing or the person getting fired, the the way that we always interact with every, with anybody else is simply the result of our own state of emotional wellbeing in any given moment. So if we are in our jobs and we are feeling very stressed out and anxious and overwhelmed,
and if we’re feeling disrespected or resentful, the way that we are going to interact with people within our work environment is going to be from that emotion. It’s going to be negative, it’s going to be, we’re going to snap at people. We are going to maybe be overly expressive with our body language. We might complain and blame and commiserate. We might gossip,
we might talk about people behind their back. We might just come in late for work. We might avoid conversations with people. We might skip meetings. And this could be either side of, of the leadership here, I’m talking about all of what I’ve said could be employee behavior, but could all of what I said could also be leadership behavior. Because it doesn’t really matter what the role is,
it’s how we feel from an emotional state. Where’s our net emotional state? That is how we are gonna interact with the world. So if we are already completely consumed with stress, completely consumed with anxiety, if we have people above us putting pressure on us, which a lot of people who are in middle management are often getting a lot of pressure from up top,
then the way that we interact with the people who report to us is usually not positive and encouraging and supportive because that’s not what we’re getting. And that, you know, to put it quite bluntly, shit rolls downhill. If we are an employee and we are feeling unsupported, we are feeling ostracized, we are feeling overworked, disrespected, we are confused,
we are not, we are not getting the help that we need to do our jobs, the job itself isn’t clear. Then all of that, the emotion that comes from all of that is going to have us interact with our coworkers and our leaders in a way that’s probably gonna be more abrasive than it would be if we were feeling supported, if we were feeling respected,
if we were feeling included. And so we have to just understand from our own perspective, if somebody keeps saying that we, we aren’t nice or that we’re rude, or that we’re disrespectful to the staff, then we wanna ask ourselves, okay, this is their perception of my behavior. This is not my intent, but what might be happening that is getting perceived that way?
This is where we have to get curious. We don’t need to punch ourselves in the face and say, I’m just a mean person and I can’t be nice to people. Like, we don’t need to go there. ’cause that’s not ever gonna be true. But what is true is that the way that we interact with people is gonna be simply the extension of how we’re feeling internally.
And we have to understand that first, think, feel, act. If we don’t understand how we feel, we can’t understand then or even start to, to uncover the belief systems that are, are creating that emotional experience for us. And we’re certainly not gonna be able to then make any adjustments in the actions that come from that emotional experience. So curiosity and compassion,
so important whenever we get fired, because we wanna try to get as much information as we can as to why this happened, why this decision ultimately got made. And if we can’t get that information, that’s okay. We can still reflect on the whole situation ourselves and then move forward from there. Another thing to consider when it comes to getting fired is sometimes it has nothing to do with you at all.
So sometimes when people get fired from positions, positions are eliminated. It’s because maybe organizational, there were organizational adjustments, there were changes in leadership, there were changes in ownership. And those new leaders and new owners simply made decisions about workforce and your position got eliminated as part of it. That’s not personal. It feels personal, it has a personal impact,
don’t misunderstand, but it’s not because you did something wrong to put it in a very black and white kind of way. When those kinds of changes happen, those positions get eliminated in that way. Sometimes they just happen. And I’m not saying that it’s right or wrong, but from the perspective of somebody who gets fired under those circumstances, I want you to understand that being angry about getting fired because of a change in leadership or a change in ownership,
that’s not gonna do you any good in moving forward in your journey. So just realize that there are times when positions get eliminated when employees are, are doing just fine in their jobs. And because in our society we tend to looking look at getting fired as something that’s bad, as punishment, if you will. And we become embarrassed about it. We don’t talk about it.
If this keeps happening, if we get fired more than one time, it’s very easy for us to start to believe that there’s something wrong with us, that we’re not good employees, that we’re not good people. And that’s just not true. It’s just sometimes it’s just circumstance, right? It’s completely outside of your control, you’re doing a fine job, they just don’t need you anymore.
Maybe you’ve been a part-timer and they’ve hired a full-timer. Like there’s a million reasons why that can happen. And sometimes there is a performance issue. And then that’s just opportunity. So if there’s an expectation and you haven’t met the expectation, then there’s opportunity for you to understand, to go into your, your know, own reflection. How is it that I didn’t meet their expectation?
Now, if their expectation was never defined, that gets tricky, right? And there’s a lot of organizations out there kinda feel like I’m circling back around this, but it’s important, there’s a lot of organizations out there that will tell you, you didn’t meet expectations yet. The expectations were never clarified. So if you, for anybody who’s listening to this episode,
if you aren’t sure what your role is and what the expectations are and whether or not you’re meeting expectations because nobody in leadership has ever had that conversation with you, then I am encouraging you to have that conversation to request that conversation, to request proactively feedback on how you are doing in the role, whether or not you’re meeting the expectations for the job that they have hired you to do.
Because without information, you have no power to change anything you don’t even know. It needs to be adjusted. And like I said before, one of the greatest opportunities in veterinary medicine is to make sure that we are giving regular feedback to our teams, because otherwise we’re just getting mad and resentful because they’re not performing at the level we want them to perform.
But we’ve never given them the information to realize that they’re not at that standard. And if they’re we’re expecting them to be at level four and they’re at level two, but we never told them we expected ’em to be at level four, we cannot be mad at them for not being there. On the other side of that, getting in trouble for not being at level four when you didn’t even know level four existed,
that’s just not fair, quite honestly. And so as employees, we have to be willing to ask for that feedback on our performance so that we can make sure that we are contributing in the way that is aligned with the place that we work. And this really brings me back to my next point, brings me around to my next point, which is that not every job’s gonna be a good fit.
So even though when you know somebody fires you and they say, you’re just not a good fit, we don’t need to take that personally, right? That there’s something wrong with us, we’re not good enough to work for them. That’s how our, our like lower brain often will take that. The physical mind will take that as evidence that we’re not good enough simply because it’s a habit and we don’t need to go there.
But on the other side of that, we also wanna see that there are jobs that we work in that are not a good fit for us either. So it might be that the organizational structure just isn’t the right fit for you, meaning you don’t like to work for an organization that is really kind of muddy on who’s in charge of what and who gets to make decisions and who has the final say,
like the lack of clarity of leadership is something that’s really, really confusing, especially in organizations like veterinary medicine where we are in kind of a high stakes, high paced kind of environment. Having this clear structure of leadership is really important. No matter whether you’re a single hospital or you’re a multiple hospital chain, that is really important for people to know who to go to,
who the leaders are, who to ask the questions from, and to be able to get answers. So you might find that you’ve had questions, you’ve had concerns and that that you’ve haven’t known who to take them to or you’ve taken them to the people that you thought you needed to take them to, and then they weren’t, you weren’t heard, they weren’t addressed.
Or maybe your concerns were dismissed. Maybe you did have concerns about particular people that you worked with and the way that they behaved in the workplace and you tried to talk to those people and they were just resistant to any conversation. Or maybe they become, became just kind of like belligerent with you. And so that you then did go to leadership. And when you went to leadership,
you were told, oh, that’s just the way they, that they are. Don’t take it personally and you were dismissed, my friends, this is not okay. And so if you get fired in a situation like that because you’re taking concerns to leadership and leadership doesn’t wanna deal with the concerns that you bring, just know that’s not on you, that’s on them.
And it’s such a great reflection for you to start to see that it’s okay for you to pick organizations that align with the way that you want to work with the type of culture that you want to experience. And it’s okay for you also to leave when that’s not the case. Sometimes even I would say often when we start to bring to leadership our concerns about culture,
sometimes when we have weak leaders in leadership positions, they become defensive and they would rather turn the situation on you as being a complainer than actually listen to the concerns of the employees. And so when you have a strong employee who’s willing to bring forth concerns and maybe repeatedly brings forth concerns or brings concerns to a higher level of management, it’s not unusual for those people to get fired.
And it’s not, I’m not saying that it’s okay at all because it’s hurtful and because it’s not a fun experience. But what I want you to see, if you’re on the end of that getting fired in that kind of situation, I want you to realize there’s no shame and getting fired from an organization that would not listen to you when you brought concerns to them,
who continued to dismiss you, who would rather just cut out the people who are trying to make a more inclusive and supportive culture than make changes. So getting fired is never black and white. It’s never, you’re bad at your job, you’re a bad vet, you’re a bad vet tech, you must go. It is almost never that easy from a position of,
of getting fired. It’s, it’s never just that. There’s something else going on there. And so asking the questions so you can understand what’s happening, and even if when you ask the questions, you get no answer, that is also a lot of information for you to take forward. The final thing that I wanna to talk about here in this, in this episode about getting fired especially,
and I, and for those of you who have been fired once or been fired multiple times, I want you to really listen up because all of this, every single time that you’ve been fired from your job is still an intentional part of your journey. It is an intentional part of your journey. I just wanted to say that again. So every time you’ve gotten fired,
it has meeting. Like I said, there’s no challenge left, wasted. So there are things for you to learn along the way. There are gonna be things for you to learn about yourself. There are going to be things for you to learn about others, about organizations, about all different aspects of your life that these changes in employment have influence on.
And so if you are in a situation where you’ve recently been fired or you’ve been fired again, that I want you to take a second to just breathe and just to remind yourself you are so infinitely valuable and worthy because you exist, that getting fired does not mean you’re a bad human. It does not mean that you’re a bad veterinary professional, that getting fired from this job was always going to happen.
You just didn’t know it yet. I like to remind myself of all the things that go sideways in my life because I think everything happens exactly like it is supposed to happen, including every challenge that I ever come up against. And those challenges, the ones that blindside me, the ones that I don’t see coming, I always have to bring myself back to the truth.
It was always gonna happen this way. I just didn’t know it at the time. And what I can bring myself back at that, that gives me permission then to look a little deeper and say, okay, what am I learning through this? How am I growing through this? What can I take away from this experience that will help me as I move into the next chapter?
There is no challenge that is wasted, my friends. And when we get stuck in a spiral of self shame, of guilt of judgment, when we get stuck in bitterness and frustration, that is when we really miss the point of these things happening in our lives. And I know it can just compound because it can feel really bad. It can, we can feel embarrassed,
we can feel ashamed, we can feel even guilty or horrified, but there is no reason to stay there. You know? Yes, it’s an unexpected event, so it’s going to feel very life-threatening, but at the end of the day, it’s not life-threatening. It was just a job. It was just an organization. And when they told you that they don’t want you to work with the organization anymore,
they did not mean that you’re a horrible person and that you don’t have a place in this world. Your mind might try to offer you something like that, but it is never ever going to be true. And I think that when organizations decide to fire people that when we are on the end of getting fired, we just have to consider, do you wanna work with an organization that doesn’t want you to work there?
I look at this exact same thing with personal relationships. If you break up with your significant other, like if you get dumped to use a phrase that’s commonly used, if you get dumped and then you’re all down on yourself for getting dumped, you’re completely forgetting that you at the core of who you are, you do not want to be in a relationship with somebody who does not wanna be in a relationship with you.
The same thing goes for jobs. Now, I’m not saying that, not that each and every one of us doesn’t have opportunity for self-growth, self-reflection, self-improvement, because we do. That’s why we’re here. That is why we’re here. And so what I’ve found in my own life is if I have things that just keep happening over and over and over again,
I’m probably missing the lesson and it’s going to continue until I stop and I learn the lesson. So when you have had these repetitive things happen in your life, ask yourself, what am I missing here? What am I supposed to learn from this? How is this helping me grow? Because I promise you, ultimately everything happens exactly the way that it’s supposed to.
Everything is an intentional part of your journey. And even more, everything that happens in your life is happening for you, not to you. So when we can look at these situations, even these uncomfortable situations like getting fired through the lens of this is happening for me. What am I learning from this? How am I growing from this? How is this helping me to where I’m going in the future?
When we can look at it with just pure curiosity from that perspective, we’ll start to pick up the pieces of information that we need to fill in the puzzle of the steps in front of us. My friends, getting fired is not something to be ashamed of. Getting fired is not something to hide. Getting fired is just simply a thing that happens. And it’s a two-sided situation.
It’s a combination of all kinds of reasons that you may or may not even know about. But I promise you that when your employment is terminated, it is not 100% your fault. There are things that are happening on both sides. There are opportunities on both sides. And yeah, sometimes we just make some silly mistakes and then that is a reason that we get fired.
That’s fine. But you are still going to learn from that, and you’re not going to do those things next time. But also realize there are a lot of management managers in organizations who are just going to fire people rather than put any time into developing them. And in veterinary medicine, that is not going to fly with the future that we are creating here.
So if you’re leading organi organizations, leaders, owners, if you’re leading from a position of not spending any time in development of your people who work for you and not defining the expectations and not providing any kind of performance evaluation, and not giving them the appropriate training on how to do things within your organization and you keep firing people and you’re frustrated and you’re starting to tell yourself a story that there’s nobody who wants to work out there,
you’ve gotta take a minute and step back and ask yourself, how am I part of the problem here? Because the way that we used to do this job where the revolving door, there was always somebody who wanted these jobs, that doesn’t exist anymore. And it costs you far more as an organization to have to recruit and hire a new person than it would to actually develop the one who’s already there,
the one who already raised their hand and said, yes, I wanna work here with you for you. So we have to take ownership of this. If we are firing people, we have to look at our role in it because we may wanna blame them, but it is never 100% their fault. There are two sides to every employment agreement. And when that employment agreement no longer exists,
both sides have responsibility in it. And if we aren’t looking at it from both perspectives, both as the organization and the person getting fired, if we each aren’t looking at our role in this situation, we are missing so much of what we are actually here to learn. So my friends, as we close here today, I wanna remind you one more time,
getting fired is not the end of the world. Getting fired does not ruin your life. Getting fired does not make you unhirable. Getting fired does not mean you’re not infinitely worthy, valuable because those things are true. Simply because you exist. Getting fired is not going to put a damper on your future. It is one episode in your life. It is one challenge that you are working through,
that you are growing through. And as you embrace that with curiosity and compassion for yourself, you will start to see how absolutely everything that happens in your life is ultimately for your good. All right, my friends, that’s gonna wrap it up for this episode. I’ll see you next time. Bye for now.