How do you deal with a job you were fired from on a resume?

Last October, I turned down a pay raise and a promotion at my old job to take a much better paying job in DC. Long story short, it was a terrible fit and they canned me after four months. I don’t regret leaving because I was miserable there from the first day, but it’s the first time I’ve ever been fired. I was laid off two years ago from another job, but that was because the company had been bought out. I can’t go back to my old job because I have already been replaced.

Should I put this job on my resume, and if not, how do I explain what I was doing for the past four months?

Moreover, at 41 is it possible or practical for me to go to grad school and/or make a career change?

Well, I’ve never personally been fired, but according to the Resume 101 course I took, you should list the job and just omit the contact information. If they ask, you can put a “Square Peg, Round Hole” spin on it.

However, as you were there for only 4 months, you could say you were job hunting. The US economy is pretty crap right now (or so I’ve been led to believe) - 4 months is not an extreme out of work period during a recession.

As to persuing grad school or other training. You’re 41. Theoretically, you’ll be working for 15 - 25 years more. It doesn’t seem unreasonable to take a year or two out to develop your current skills, or learn some new ones. I believe that you don’t have family/children that are counting on you for $$, so you have more options.

Good luck! :slight_smile:

Your situation was similar to mine. I took a job which was ok at first, then I got a new boss and the project was coming under purview of a different department with a real type A asshole as director. I was canned because they wanted to replace me with one of type A asshole’s boys.

Anyway, I was out for four months before my next job. How did I treat it on my resume? Simply listed the duration of the assignment. How did I explain it in interviews? I told them my contract was coming to an end and they decided to make a change (not untrue). Luckily, the job I have now didn’t ask too many questions. But I’m an IT contractor, so having short duration jobs and gaps in employment aren’t as big of a deal as in other professions.

I say don’t even mention the 4 mo. gig. I leave out the short one I was fired at (and even the longer short one I quit). I personally think it’s hard enough for us “over 40” folks to get a decent gig without giving them ammunition.

And yes, you can go back to school. I would if I could afford it. My girlfriend did it and created a great career for herself. You’ll be so glad you did!

Go for it, gobear. I’m your age and I’m doing it. It’s always worth it, I think. No sense in being miserable at work.

It’s just that I feel that I need to settle on one career instead of being a generalist. The trouble is that while I had a great time in my 20s and 30s, my career path would not impress most Washington-area employers.

During college and the decade following, I worked in hospitality management in the national parks system in order to be climb and hike on days off, including a 3-year stint at Phantom Ranch at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. In 1993, I went to South Korea where I spent six years teaching English and writing and editing textbooks. In 1999, I moved to the DC area where I have had a series of copy editing gigs. The trouble is that I’m not cut out for desk jobs. My interests are in history, science, and Far Eastern cultures, and I prefer to walk and talk to people instead of being chained to a desk as my life ticks away to the sterile hum of fluorescent lighting.

I was told not to list <6 month jobs after you are experienced. That is only for people fresh out of school who need to list their summer jobs, etc.


I quit a job after 4 months - and no future employer will ever know I had it. (I was 25 at the time, and I still didn’t list it.) If you are filling out applications for federal or state jobs that require you to list your positions, put it one there. But ti does not have to be on your resume. It is something you can talk about in an interview - everyone know that some people are not the right matches for an organization’s environment. HOWEVER, if your actions are the reason for the termination of employment; IOW - if you are a trouble maker at work, change your evil ways!

There’s no law that says your resume has to be complete, so just drop the job. No loss there.
And there’s even no law against omitting things on an application form that has stern warnings that they can fire you for omissions. You can leave stuff out, and they are free to fire you for it later, but that will in fact never happen, because there is no way for them to know.

I have to disagree with Mysticetes, people get fired for “lying” on employment forms (including omitting information) fairly often. It provides a good excuse for firing someone management wants to get rid of, but can’t (perhaps due to ‘just cause’ requirements). Or it can show up as an additional cause if you’re being fired for other reasons. HR people are now routinely advised to scrutinize the application materials of employees who management wants/needs to fire. And it’s not that difficult to track down someone’s employment history if you have the social security number, so they can find out even if you don’t mention it.

That being said, the short duration of you job will probably prevent it from being a problem. I’d put it on the resume with no contact info, and be willing to explain it as a bad fit.

I switched careers at 32 by going to law school. It was the best decision I ever made. I had the advantage of being single with no children, but it did put all retirement saving on hold for several years. I am earning more now, but more importantly, I love my job so the thought of having to work until I’m 70 or 80 doesn’t scare me. :stuck_out_tongue: