Your Career Coach
In a Small Town
I was wrongfully terminated from my job and remain devastated. I haven’t moved out of town. I dread running into the former supervisors who mistreated me but I know it will happen because they continue to work and live in the same small community. So I’m kept up at night rehearsing what to say or do.
I still haven’t come up with a plan. I don’t think I could spew enough insults to compensate for the damages they caused. Plus, they are so malevolent they would probably revel in seeing me overtly hurt.
Whenever I leave home to go anywhere near my old workplace or anywhere I might run into them, I wonder if today will be the day I will be called to maintain my dignity. It’s a very difficult thing to live with and I’ve contemplated moving my family to another town so I can heal/start fresh. This would be difficult because my husband is currently our only breadwinner.
People have suggested I re-establish my career because success is the best revenge and a good way to regain self-esteem. But what if I can’t achieve success because they secretly bad-mouth my business and the economy is so bad. This is such a nightmare psychologically, spiritually, financially … How can I write a happy ending to this?
— Princess Charming
I’m so sorry you’re having to deal with this. I can feel your hurt and frustration — and it’s unfair. So what are you going to do? Your idea about spewing insults is understandable.
Here’s Michele’s Theory of Dealing with Jerks: In all cases, be a person you can be proud of. Did you do anything wrong to get terminated? If not, then hold your head up. When you act like a spanked dog, the jerks win. Be the class act you know that you are — and conduct yourself accordingly. And when you get a new job, do it with dignity, thoroughness and joy. That way, when someone from the old job tries to badmouth you, your new colleagues will say, “Not her — she’s great!” Your integrity and positive attitude will say more about you than any tales a mean-spirited jerk could possibly spread.