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March 2012
My dear friends, colleagues, clients and students:

A warm welcome to those of you who have recently started receiving this newsletter.

All of us experienced some temporary turbulence in our personal and professional lives during the past few years. The final outcome is expected to be positive. Hiring seems to have picked up since the start of 2012, and we sincerely hope that this trend will continue.

This Month's Feature Article
This month's main feature is: "You're Fired!" How to Make A Graceful Exit. If life gives us lemons, at least we can make lemonade! The purpose of this article is not to create a morbid atmosphere but to provide tips to survive effectively, when the inevitable hits. Let us have your feedback, which is always appreciated. And yes, rest assured we do respond to your comments and share them as appropriate (with your permission, of course!).

"Career Doctor Don Answers Your Questions"
"Career Doctor Don Answers Your Questions" appears as a regular feature in the International Society for Pharmaceutical Engineering (ISPE) - New Jersey Chapter newsletters. Visit to read more.

Articles on
Several of our articles will continue to appear on the website The mission of this website is to "Help Garden State Business Grow."

CareerQuest's Blog
If you have not checked out our revamped blog recently, please do so. We have some interesting things to share with you, several times a week. You can find it on Your feedback is always appreciated.

Book Endorsements
We at CareerQuest published a book titled Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career Is A Pathway To Your Soul!). There was no comparable book in the market. This book contains a series of thought-provoking essays and musings. Without encouragement and nudging from you, dear readers, this venture would not have been possible. Our sincerest thanks to all of you. This book can be ordered from Amazon, iUniverse, Barnes & Noble, or your local bookseller. You can peek inside the book at Amazon. You may even find your name in the Special Acknowledgements section, since I have given credit to almost three hundred of you! Check it out! It is also available as an e-book from iUniverse.

  Career and Life Counseling From the Heart book cover
Our book, Career and Life Counseling From the Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!), has received many excellent reviews. Eleven reviews gave the book a 5-star rating, and four have a 4-star rating.

Richard Nelson Bolles, author of What Color Is Your Parachute? says:
"Don Sutaria is one of the career counselors I most admire in the U.S. He talks about things other career counselors don't, like "your soul." Now he has written a book I like a lot, with brilliant short chapters you can digest day by day. I recommend it unreservedly to everyone."
We are deeply grateful for his endorsement.

Andrea R. Nierenberg, President of The Nierenberg Group and known as the "Queen of Networking," has reviewed our book. Nierenberg calls it: "An excellent book....Chicken Soup for Your Career!" Thank you, Andrea.

Free Career Directions Workshop
A Career Directions Workshop is being held for 10 consecutive sessions at Presbyterian Church of New Providence, New Providence, NJ. It is in partnership with Long Hill Chapel, Chatham, NJ. The workshop began on Wednesday, January 25, and will end on Wednesday, March 28, but you can join at any time and take as many sessions as you like.

This workshop is free and open to all at no charge or obligation. Advance registration is appreciated. You may register online at or call Diane Hill at (908) 665-0050. This workshop will be presented by A. J. Rice and T. Wilson. Details can be found on or or by calling (908) 665-0050. Registrations will also be taken at the door.

Until we meet again through the magic of e-mail...

Peace! Love! Shalom!

Don Sutaria, MS, IE (Prof.)
Founder, President & Life-Work Coach

  "You're Fired!" - How to Make a Graceful Exit  
  by Don Sutaria


If you have been 'laid off,' euphemisms do not make the intense psychological pain go away! The supervisor doing the firing also suffers somewhat, but not as much as the victim! Be aware that the supervisor would be less than human if that person did not spend a sleepless night prior to the layoff. I think only Donald Trump can actually say "You're fired!", in a television program. Typically, the terms used are: sacked, canned, released, let go, axed, ended working relationship, discharged, given a pink slip, relieved of duties, right-sized, down-sized, smart-sized, workforce reduction, reduction in force, mass layoff, attrition, early retirement, redundancy, workforce optimization, simplification, outsourcing, restructuring, furlough, leaving for personal reasons, need to spend more time with the family, looking for an encore career, leaving for health reasons, pursuing other interests, and the like!

"Periodic layoffs are here to stay. How well employees and employers manage them will reveal their true characters. And yes, the future morale and financial health of companies will also depend upon how humanely layoffs were handled."
This is a two-way street between employees and employers. We intend to give you a conceptual framework in this article, to balance both sides of the equation.


There are no classes available which teach you how to get fired. I have been laid off before, not once but twice! The first time it happened because of poor personal chemistry and philosophical differences on how to handle some projects. The second time, it was an economic situation, lack of work and drop in profits. So, this qualifies me, I believe, to share some advice with you as a Wounded Healer!

1. It is quite acceptable to express shock and surprise when you are being laid off.

2. Ask for at least 24 hours before you come back and talk with your supervisor. Actually, the first 72 hours after you have been given the bad news of your layoff are very critical!


3. Try not to become overly emotional when the news is conveyed to you.

4. Resist the urge for verbal and physical violence.

5. The five most common emotions which exude from the person terminated are anger, fear, shame, sadness, and self-pity, not necessarily in that order. Every person may not experience all of the above five emotions. Confide in your spouse or a professional like clergy or a psychotherapist; it really helps!

6. When you come back a day later, discuss in great depth and detail your severance package with your immediate supervisor and/or a human resources representative. Be sure to check if a good outplacement counseling package is included. Believe me, you will need it! No point in going it all alone, when a professional can guide you. In a low-key way, you can question everything, and remember that almost anything is negotiable (unless it is illegal or immoral!). This may be a good time to discuss if the reference check would be good or at least neutral!

7. Don't burn out your contacts in your networking chain during the first week. You are not prepared yet for a job search, emotionally or physically.

8. Resist saying anything negative about your supervisor and/or your company; I know that's hard! Don't forget that an unchained tongue will affect your search for your next job.

9. Within the first week, file for unemployment benefit coming to you. It is not a dole; you have contributed to it during your working life and you deserve to claim it promptly.

10. Be prepared to develop a new thrifty lifestyle for you and your family until you land a new job.

(The Top 10 Tips)

1. Do everything you humanly can to make the blow as soft as possible when giving the bad news of termination to an employee. Your body language and your words will mean a lot! You'll be glad you did! There will also be less likelihood of litigation.

2. Anecdotal studies have shown that the terminated person can rarely recall exactly what you said or what you did, but will always remember how you said it, and made them feel at that critical moment. Their self-image, self-esteem and self-confidence are abruptly shattered! A little show of kindness from the supervisor giving the bad news of termination can go a long way.

3. When in doubt, let the old American-Indian prayer be your guide: "Help me never to judge another until I have walked a mile in his moccasins." Our Judeo-Christian ethic should also compel us to follow the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."

4. The way people are laid off gives a clue to the corporate culture and the desire of outsiders to join a company. A friend of mine, who was laid off from General Electric, never said a single negative word about his company for ten years. He said: "General Electric is a company with a heart!" Another friend who was laid off from IBM told me: "I am grateful for all that IBM taught me, and I would return to them in a heartbeat! My training has now allowed me to become an independent consultant." See the difference!

5. After a layoff, what is said to the survivors makes a big impact on the morale and productivity of the company. Openness and transparency of upper management is very important.

6. Some training may be necessary for the supervisors who have to lay off people under them. Skilled human resources personnel can conduct this training or contract it out to a competent outplacement counseling firm. If not, the whole delicate process of terminating people could be thoroughly botched up. The company can't take chances! Besides the terminator and the terminee, it is good practice to have a person from human resources (or an outside outplacement counseling firm) present in the same room.

7. It would be very profitable for a company to sit down with the terminators, human resources personnel, and outplacement counselors, after the layoff, to do an audit and discuss lessons learned.

8. Allow the terminated employees to say goodbye to their colleagues at their own pace. It will pay rich dividends. Because of this, it is highly unlikely they will steal anything from the company. Personally, I abhor the practice of escorting people out of the building, like criminals, with the police or security. Your employees are not criminals! You would not have hired them if you found they were involved with criminal activities, prior to hire. They have their own moral compass and ethics. This mode of operation will affect the survivors and the future of the company. Some companies mail the personal items to the terminated employee's home, which I think is a disgusting practice! Don't be surprised when the terminated employees file a court case when you have treated them like dirt!

9. If a terminated employee calls you, that is a good sign. Keep the lines of communications open by providing a decent letter of reference and doing small, inexpensive favors.

10. Be generous with severance pay and outplacement. Along with compassion and maintenance of dignity, it goes a long way!


This is not your father's world of work! Periodic layoffs are here to stay. How well employees and employers manage them will reveal their true characters. And yes, the future morale and financial health of companies will also depend upon how humanely layoffs were handled. Amen!


Don Sutaria, also known as "Career Doctor Don", is Founder and President of CareerQuest. He has been quoted frequently in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, on radio and television and has taught at various colleges. He is the author of Career And Life Counseling From The Heart (Your Career is a Pathway to Your Soul!).

Don Sutaria, M.S., I.E. (Prof.)   
Phone: (908) 686-8400     Fax: (908) 686-8400 (on request)     Cell: (908) 377-9015   
CareerQuest     2165 Morris Avenue; Suite 15     Union, NJ 07083     Satellite Office in New York, NY