Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Why do Bright Employees Get Fired?

I first shared this list about 3 years ago when a colleague told me the story of a bright mid-career professional who was terminated for saying too much to a client.

No one, including her immediate supervisor, stood up for her. Why? They all felt she had it coming. Everyone felt it was just a matter of time before this bright employee imploded her own career.  It turns out the fired employee had told a client about some of the logistics issues her company was having delivering services. She actually encouraged the client to find a different provider, since her own company "couldn't seem to get anything done". The client called the CEO and the employee was fired.  This really bright employee had crossed the line and jeopardized her own career.

It turns out that bright employees get fired all the time.  Sometimes for making dumb mistakes.  Here is my list of why bright employees get fired. After 13 years in the career management field, I think I might have seen all these before.

1. Someone else who is better connected wants their job.
2. They don't know when to stop talking and say the wrong thing to the wrong person.
3. They are too cocky to learn anything new. They have all the answers.
4. They are in the wrong job and under performing.
5. They refuse certain assignments they think are beneath them.
6. They show no respect for the corporate culture or chain of responsibility.
7. They mix work and play and have Facebook running on their desktop all the time.
8. They whine about everything from salary, to assignments, to co-workers
9. They have offended so many people, no one is looking out for them.
10. They wait too long to get a mentor.