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Southern_girl29
10-31-2008, 07:38 AM
I was fired from my job on Monday after nine years with the same newspaper, seven of them as Lifestyles editor. Nine years of good evaluations, seven years of placing in the Tennessee Press Association contests, never been wrote up, it's too bad I live in a "right to hire, right to fire" state. This is the only real job I've ever had; I started when I was 22.

I ran a book review on of our reporters wrote, and the publisher said he was firing me because it didn't have any local ties. He also said that in the last few months, I had lost interest in my job. I probably had to a degree because I was pregnant and found out that the baby I was carrying had a chromosomal disorder, and she was stillborn in August. I came back to work two weeks later and have managed to do my job and never miss a deadline. I believe that's his excuse, and he only fired me to give his wife the job. She starts on Monday according to a friend of mine who works at the newspaper.

Ok, enough of the venting. I've decided to try to make a go of the freelancing. I get to draw unemployment (the publisher told my editor he would do that for me, what a big heart he has), but I really want to make this work for me. I got a call today from an editor at another newspaper, who was told about what happened and wants me to freelance and write features. She's infuriated at the way he treated me. She's only going to pay $25 a story, but it's a start.

Any advice for me? How do I handle the fact that I was fired? Will the editors of the different publications even ask why I left? Will being fired hurt me in the freelance world? Thanks for listening.

Cassiopeia
10-31-2008, 07:44 AM
I was fired from my job on Monday after nine years with the same newspaper, seven of them as Lifestyles editor. Nine years of good evaluations, seven years of placing in the Tennessee Press Association contests, never been wrote up, it's too bad I live in a "right to hire, right to fire" state. This is the only real job I've ever had; I started when I was 22.

I ran a book review on of our reporters wrote, and the publisher said he was firing me because it didn't have any local ties. He also said that in the last few months, I had lost interest in my job. I probably had to a degree because I was pregnant and found out that the baby I was carrying had a chromosomal disorder, and she was stillborn in August. I came back to work two weeks later and have managed to do my job and never miss a deadline. I believe that's his excuse, and he only fired me to give his wife the job. She starts on Monday according to a friend of mine who works at the newspaper.

Ok, enough of the venting. I've decided to try to make a go of the freelancing. I get to draw unemployment (the publisher told my editor he would do that for me, what a big heart he has), but I really want to make this work for me. I got a call today from an editor at another newspaper, who was told about what happened and wants me to freelance and write features. She's infuriated at the way he treated me. She's only going to pay $25 a story, but it's a start.

Any advice for me? How do I handle the fact that I was fired? Will the editors of the different publications even ask why I left? Will being fired hurt me in the freelance world? Thanks for listening.Just because he fired you doesn't mean you can't get unemployment if he doesn't let you. He has to prove to the unemployment agency he let you for just cause.

I was "let go" with a week's severance pay back in June. No warnings, no reprimands, no talking to..just you are taking our company to new heights of professionalism. Then without warning, I was let go. They said they were going a different direction and weren't at liberty to discuss it. The boss' son came home early from an LDS mission and I suspect he needed him where he could keep an eye on him. Of course, now the son or anyone can take over, I set up their entire HR department for them and created new policies and proceedures for them. I live in a right to hire state as well. Unfortunately for me, no unemployment. Only was there 9 weeks. I hadn't worked for 11 years prior to that so no unemployment benefits.

ritinrider
10-31-2008, 07:53 AM
sorry to hear that happened to both of you. Sometimes employers can be real jerks. Back when I was working, at a job I hated, they "laid me off" uh-huh, they fired me. But, like Southern girl I was able to draw unemployment for a time.

Now to your question, I don't think the fact you were fired is any body's business, and I don't think they'll ask. If you're sending out queries or articles there's no need to mention you were fired. You just give your experience.

If you put your job on a resume for, which you'll need for some of the freelance jobs, just say you left for personal reasons. It's not a lie, being fired is very personal, despite the spin an employer will try to put on it.

The fact you already have one editor wanting you is in your favor. Just go forth and make a living with freelance. One of the benefits, you get to select your bosses, and you get to fire any you don't want to work with.

Good luck.

JoNightshade
10-31-2008, 07:59 AM
Oh man, that's horrible!!! You must be so furious. This is nowhere near as bad, but when I was a teenager I was once fired in the middle of my summer job so my boss could give his daughter the job. She didn't actually do anything, she just showed up now and then and he felt justified in giving her some actual cash. Me, who actually needed the cash? Pfft. Anyway, yeah, that's a raw deal.

If you have any actual documents or emails or positive evaluations from past reviews, I would collect them. Then in case anyone asks why you were fired from your previous job, you can politely say, "Here are the glowing reviews they gave me. They didn't tell me why I was fired, but the boss's wife now has my job."

Jersey Chick
10-31-2008, 08:12 AM
I don't have any real advice (I'm more of the hugging type anyhoo), so I'll leave the advice to the people who are actually helpful, and just do one of the things I do really well {{{{HUGS}}}} (I know it's been a rough last six months)

Henri Bauholz
10-31-2008, 08:13 AM
To Southern Girl,

Welcome to the brave new world of freelancing, although the circumstances of your arrival are not the best. Having been in the publishing industry should be a big boost to your freelancing efforts, plus you seem to know what you what to do next. It sounds to me that in a short time you will be doing fine and enjoying the writing business a lot more. At least that's what I hope happens.

I found myself in a similar position a year ago last May, when I quit a job because I could see the handwriting on the wall. There was no future for me at this place. Also the fact that I was on the graveyard shift was causing a gradual decline in health. After quitting things got only worse, I tried selling photographic greeting cards, but that went fizz. A year ago I sold my first paid article to a content site and got paid a whopping five dollars.

Since then I had to take on a part-time job that had nothing to do with writing, but slowly my article sales have been increasing both in amount and number, so now that I am making some money at it and can see the day, when I will be making a decent living from my writing. It has been a rough haul, but I am glad I had foresight to leave the night job before something unforeseen caused me to lose my source of income.

MY Blog (http://yeyeright.wordpress.com)

So good luck and keep at it and I hope some things break your way.

Southern_girl29
10-31-2008, 08:40 AM
Thanks everyone. It's a terrible feeling. I've never been fired before. I like saying that I left for personal reasons. I think that might work.

aka eraser
10-31-2008, 08:52 AM
My sympathies for the tough knocks you've been weathering.

There's no need, as a freelancer, to mention the fact you were fired. In your cover letters/queries you can, and should, mention your newspaper background to help establish your bona fides. It might help crack a door ajar. But it's the work you produce now that will swing it open.

Yeah, the money offered by the other paper is no great shakes but it'll keep you in the game and supply new clips. You never know where the contacts you make there could lead.

Seems to me that you have what it takes to make a go of freelancing. Good luck. :)

Skyraven
10-31-2008, 06:01 PM
southern girl, that sucks! Royally sucks! I'm also sad to hear about your baby. That has got to be so difficult especially going back to work two weeks later. Remember this, what goes around comes around. You've worked hard and the benefits of that will come back to you. :) Hugs!

Tish Davidson
10-31-2008, 07:53 PM
I was fired from my job on Monday after nine years with the same newspaper, seven of them as Lifestyles editor....
Any advice for me? .

Start checking out the jobs on http://www.journalismjobs.com. You have the right kind of background for the jobs on offer

How do I handle the fact that I was fired?
Don't get mad, get even--- find a better job

Will the editors of the different publications even ask why I left? If they do tell them "It's the economy, stupid." Newspapers and magazines are downsizing like crazy. No one will think it is odd that you were let go.

Will being fired hurt me in the freelance world? Why would anyone ever know. Don't advertise the fact. Just state your credentials. In my 20 years of experience as a freelancer, I have found editors care about two things: Can you write the story and can you turn it in on time without being a pain in the butt.

Good luck. You might also check to see if your state press association has a job site.

Southern_girl29
10-31-2008, 09:53 PM
Thanks again. Tish, I have my resume posted on the state press association's Web site. The problem is that the publishing company that owns the newspaper I worked at owns all but two of the newspapers in a 100 mile radius. One of them is the one I'm going to freelance for. I'm not willing to relocate right now because I don't want to pull my five-year-old out of school, which is why I'm going to give freelancing a chance.

Chumplet
10-31-2008, 10:00 PM
Our newspaper let go three people last week. Two were redundant, and the other was a long time manager with 22 years experience. I expect he got a good package.

The newspaper business is definitely suffering. Our Production department is working with minimal staff and when someone is sick or on vacation, we all feel the strain.

Your case is different, because it was for selfish reasons you were 'let go'. What a spineless dweeb your boss was.

MarkEsq
10-31-2008, 11:01 PM
Southerngirl,
I'm so sorry about your baby and now this, what a sucky time. I can't offer much but an e-hug and my sympathies. Good for you on trying the freelance thing, I hope it works brilliantly for you.
Anyone else think "lawsuit" with regard to the pregnancy-firing timeline? Is it just cos I'm one of them lawyer people?!
Just askin'. :)

Cindyh2k
11-01-2008, 01:33 AM
Hi Southerngirl,

I live next door to you in Alabama - lived in Georgia for most of life - both states are just like Tennessee. If the boss doesn't like the color of your hat, he can fire you. Anyway, that has nothing to do with what I wanted to say - other than those rules suck! These states don't do much for people when they get hurt on the job, either.

Anyway, I think you should view this as an opportunity. It is possible to make it in the freelance world - and you sound like someone that can make things happen if you set your mind to it.

Best of luck to you!

Cindy

Cassiopeia
11-01-2008, 01:46 AM
Hi Southerngirl,

I live next door to you in Alabama - lived in Georgia for most of life - both states are just like Tennessee. If the boss doesn't like the color of your hat, he can fire you. Anyway, that has nothing to do with what I wanted to say - other than those rules suck! These states don't do much for people when they get hurt on the job, either.

Anyway, I think you should view this as an opportunity. It is possible to make it in the freelance world - and you sound like someone that can make things happen if you set your mind to it.

Best of luck to you!

CindyThat's really a good point! It is an opportunity. I was miserable at the job I lost. These people were really abusive and violated every labor law. Probably why they let me go, I was enforcing labor laws as their HR Director.

So, I'm trying to figure out this whole freelancing thing myself because if I can work at home and study and provide for myself doing what I love then bonus for me!

jasperd
11-01-2008, 03:22 AM
This is meant to be. It will work out in the long run.

I was "let go" after I wrote an article for a newspaper. One article! It was my first one - ever. I saw it a few days after it was published. It was on the front page and quoted on the sideline so I don't think it was bad. I found out other writers grumbled because I didn't have a degree. I got hired by a rival newspaper about a year later and that went very, very well. Things will turn around for you.

I'm sorry you've had such a rough year. Next year will go better.

escritora
11-01-2008, 05:21 AM
Southerngirl - My suggestion is that you call your ex boss to come to an agreement on what the two of you will say regarding the termination. Every one of my clients, and I've been in the coaching business for over ten years, has had success in reaching a consensus with a former employer.

The agreement can be something as easy as stating you left for personal reasons (as stated by another poster) to you left because you have an interest in freelancing. As long as you and your ex manager agree on the terms, you won't have a problem.

rljude
11-01-2008, 05:27 AM
When one door closes, another one opens. It's hard to see it now, but there is a really, really good reason why this has happened and something better is on the horizon for you?

If I may ask, what section of Tennessee do you live in? East, West, Middle? I live in Virginia.

AmyDoodle
11-01-2008, 05:51 AM
Southern Girl, I've missed you around the freelance thread. I'm so sorry this happened to you, but I believe you will not only overcome this, you will excel. You can do it!

Southern_girl29
11-01-2008, 07:21 AM
When one door closes, another one opens. It's hard to see it now, but there is a really, really good reason why this has happened and something better is on the horizon for you?

If I may ask, what section of Tennessee do you live in? East, West, Middle? I live in Virginia.

I live in Middle Tennessee. I'm hoping this does mean something is better on the horizon. I loved my job there but hated the company and the man I worked for.

Southern_girl29
11-01-2008, 07:24 AM
Southerngirl - My suggestion is that you call your ex boss to come to an agreement on what the two of you will say regarding the termination. Every one of my clients, and I've been in the coaching business for over ten years, has had success in reaching a consensus with a former employer.

The agreement can be something as easy as stating you left for personal reasons (as stated by another poster) to you left because you have an interest in freelancing. As long as you and your ex manager agree on the terms, you won't have a problem.

Right now, I can't talk to him. I just can't. I don't think I would be very nice. However, my former managing editor has agreed to write me a glowing recommendation, as will the associate editor and assistant publisher. The three people directly under the publisher think I was a wonderful employee, yet he didn't. Sorry, still bitter. I may give their names instead of the publishers.

escritora
11-01-2008, 07:33 AM
Bitterness is understandable. All of my clients hesitate, but when they find that giving managers and supervisors names may not work they make the call. You asked for a suggestion. I provided one. It's an option for you should you need it. You may not. I'm not in the business of trying to convince someone to do something they don't want to do.

Best of luck.

Laurie PK
11-01-2008, 04:54 PM
My heart's with you, Southern Girl....I've been let go before, and it hurts. Even if the boss is a jerk, even if you hated the job, even if the commmute was horrible, even if, even if, even if........it's still a blow.

But, this is a huge turning point in your life! I've heard so many stories of people who were at total low points in their lives, who pulled it out of the crapper and managed to do exciting things they never dreamed they'd do. I bet you'll be one of those people. You'll explore your possibilities and maybe even turn freelancing into a vibrant career. Maybe you'll get a diffferent job in journalism, or start a blog............who knows what's in store!

Good luck - and stay connected.

Southern_girl29
11-01-2008, 06:40 PM
Bitterness is understandable. All of my clients hesitate, but when they find that giving managers and supervisors names may not work they make the call. You asked for a suggestion. I provided one. It's an option for you should you need it. You may not. I'm not in the business of trying to convince someone to do something they don't want to do.

Best of luck.

Thanks for the advice. Maybe in the next week or two I'll feel better about calling him. I do appreciate it.

JulieB
11-02-2008, 06:23 AM
I've been in that boat, too, and am sending good thoughts your direction.

If there's one thing I learned from my situation, it's not to dwell on it - at least for too long. You've been at that job for a long time, and there's nothing wrong with taking a little time to reflect and regroup. The bitterness can take a long time to go away, but it will be tempered when you start making sales.

joyce
11-02-2008, 07:10 AM
I'm so sorry to hear about your job. It sucks and there's just no other way around it. I'm sure something better is waiting for you, even if you can't see it right now. That's what I keep saying regarding my life right now. I've been in your shoes and I felt horrible at first. I think it was worse because I knew I'd done nothing to warrant the dismissal. Best of luck with your freelancing.

Southern_girl29
11-02-2008, 07:32 AM
Thanks again. It does suck. I know I did have a certain amount of "loss of interest," which is normal after the trauma of what I went through this summer. However, I didn't let this loss of interest affect my job. I still met every deadline, only took two weeks off and came back earlier than I intended when my editor asked me to.

Nicholas Yong
11-04-2008, 09:36 PM
Hello -

May I suggest a face-to-face visit off premises?

Reason: takes both of you out of the 'element' and puts you and the publisher on a different level.

In the office he's 'the boss.' Outside, while his importance may be known, you're effectively leveling the field.

Taken out of his element - he may be more 'concession giving.'

Write your terms. Give them to him. Although your state may be 'hire/fire', you have circumstances and also since you're a writer, your power is in the words you write.

Know what you want - because what's the worse that he can do - say No - fire you again? That's been done.

To Your Success