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Career Q&A: Trying to move on after being terminated

Dear AskTheExpert,

Recently, I was terminated in employment. It was a long case. 2 years ago, I started an unofficial performance management on an employee in my group. He then started to record audio conversations between us. Last year, when I tried to give him an official unsatisfactory performance memo, the employee retaliated and presented the audio recordings, claiming that I have been sexually harassing him since 2006. The HR questioned me based on the audio recordings. The company training states that audio recordings of one-on-one conversations are prohibited at all times, with or without consent, and will lead to termination as their "privacy guidelines" intends to allow employees to talk freely. I have filed a complaint against the senior HR manager who has done that even though I don't believe there's anything incriminating in the audio recordings; however, I have mentioned a lot of things that I don't intend for other people to know. I felt so violated during the interview with HR.

In addition to that, HR went and dug out an e-mail exchange between another fellow colleague who is a good friend of mine. In this e-mail, I called the colleague a "idiot" and immediately apologised. That was the first time it happened. Our relationships were back to normal after that. Despite the colleague saying he doesn't want this to be filed as a complaint against me, the HR filed this as an allegation.

To cut the story short, I was finally terminated for "fraternisation" because I went out with one colleague to a hawker stall on one occasion, calling the other colleague an "idiot" and some other charges which I felt were baseless.

I am taking this matter to court but I feel the entire journey is tiring and humiliating. It's going to be a long road to travel. I'm not looking for legal advice but advice on how to move forward. At the same time, I think other people should know what is going on as I don't want this to happen to anyone else.

Frustrated

Dear Frustrated,

I sense your anger and frustration and I empathise with you. Your request as stated in your last paragraph is to know how to "move on."

You did not reveal how this incident has affected you so I can only offer you generic suggestions for "moving on".

If you're overwhelmed with negative emotions (anger, vengeance etc.):

Steps

1) Learn to LET GO - whenever you catch yourself thinking about the incident again, generating a negative emotion, acknowledge it. Don't deny or ignore it.

2) SWITCH your FOCUS - Think of things that delight you (positive stuff). Remember when you face the sun, your shadow will be behind you!

3) Ask yourself what you LEARNT from this experience. Turn a win-lose situation to a win-learn situation.

4) Challenges are there to build our emotional muscles, to make us stronger, more mature and wiser ... but only if we have learnt something from it.

5) Identify what you want to DO NOW - start to look for new opportunities? Talk to a friend? Do some charity work? etc.

6) TAKE ACTION and move towards the direction that you've set.

Let me share with you some facts about weight lifting:

Muscles are built by tearing them down. When you lift weights, you cause micro tears in the muscle fibers. Your body will repair this damage and it will also add a little more muscle tissue to prevent future damage. As a result, you get bigger muscles!

Life's challenges are sometimes like lifting heavy weights - they test our emotional muscles. It's painful ... but it makes us stronger.

Note: If you find yourself depressed and have trouble sleeping and eating well, then we suggest you seek professional help.

Coach Loke KW

Corporate Trainer

Certified Hypnotherapy Instructor

Author, Cartoonist

Any burning questions? Write in to: AskTheExpert@mabic.org

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