Your Professional Reputation: Fired or Laid off?

In our current economic climate, more and more people are losing their jobs. In the Netherlands, we have been hearing about the casualties every week on the news: 3000 from one company, 800 from another. If you find yourself among the ever-increasing number of unemployed, Dutch and foreign alike, you should do all you can to increase your chances of future employment, starting with changing your vocabulary.

English course Utrecht

“I got fired” is the go-to expression in the Netherlands. However, this expression implies that you did something wrong and that you left your company on bad terms. When you say “I got fired,” you will usually be asked to explain what happened (you weren’t performing, you cooked the books, you couldn’t get along with your manager). Most companies are going to view the phrase “I got fired” as code for “I was a bad employee and my company had to get rid of me.”

Most likely you will want to use “I got laid off”: because of circumstances outside of your control, the company could no longer afford to employ you (and probably many of your co-workers). This expression implies that you could be a good employee, but your business division or your job was made redundant. It strengthens your argument if you can say something along the lines of “I survived three rounds of layoffs before it was my turn.”

Another neutral option is “I lost my job.” Use this when you don’t want to give information about the circumstances surrounding your dismissal.

Best of luck on the job market!

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Filed under Business English, Language Learning

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