How do I explain being laid off because my father in law was dying? He lived in India and I had to go over there and be part of the prayers and everything that lasts about 1 month. I told my internship about this and they said it was fine to take that time off. I even informed them I was not able to work there because for some reason it wouldn't allow me onto that website we had to add in our code. But two weeks afterwards they laid me off.

I even called that employer and they said they won't give me a recommendation because I got laid off. What can I do? I was very loyal to them for the time I was there for the time for the internship.

I don't want to say anything bad about my previous employer but how do I explain this in my resume if this is the only work experience I have in the field that I am pursuing?

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    Did you get anything in writing about being allowed to take time off and which country Is this. Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 17:41
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    For cultural considerations, what country was this and are you looking in?
    – Chris E
    Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 17:55
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    This was in the USA. It was a remote company, but I feel that it was wrong. I just had a death in the family. They shouldn't have told me that I was fired afterwards but they could have just said that they couldn't give me that time off since it was so long. I would have been fine with that. They didn't have to say that. Commented Jan 15, 2018 at 21:26
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    A month? When I worked in Florida, an Indian colleague's father died, leaving him as the head of the family, and therefore the one to have to arrange the funeral. The company told him that he could have three days leave, including travel time, and that he would be sacked if he took longer. I am just surprised that you discussed this with any American management and asked for something equivalent to two years annual leave, all at once, and they agreed. Could there have been a misunderstanding? Perhaps about how much time you would need? ...
    – Mawg
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 15:07
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    I have worked overseas for a few decades, and travelled between continents to bury very close family members several times, but even in more "relaxed" places than the USA, I would not have contemplated taking a month off. Bear in mind that, in your life, more close family will die. If you want to take a month off each time, then you will probably need to work in India, for an Indian company, where this is, presumably, socially acceptable. Otherwise, you can probably expect to be "laid off" again. Sorry, but that's way the world seems to work.
    – Mawg
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 15:07

1 Answer 1


You were hired to do a certain job, for a certain length of time. You left (for a good reason), leaving the company in a lurch. You need to live with the consequences of your choices, even if this particular choice was forced upon you by personal tragedy.

Understand that the company has a certain time-frame within which work needs to get done. Management may be understanding of your circumstances, but at the end of the day they need someone working to fix the company's problems. It's their responsibility to find someone who will - it's nothing personal.

Also understand that your leaving means that the company will have incurred certain costs: money spent to on-board another intern, bring them up to speed, and then get them to complete the tasks that you should have been assigned.

It's understandable that your manager would feel uncomfortable giving you a letter of recommendation under these circumstances. After all, you weren't with the company all that long, you left them hanging, and you've caused them a headache.

This is not to say that I am berating you for the choice you've made. Family is important, and you had to be there for yours. That's a difficult situation to be in, and you made the choice that made the most sense to you. However, also understand that your employers don't owe you special consideration, even if your circumstances are difficult.

As to how to explain the situation to future employers, simply state the truth: you had to deal with a family emergency, and suffered a personal loss. You needed time off, and your employer obliged by laying you off instead of firing you. It was unfortunate, but - thankfully - not an every-day occurrence.

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    It is a fairly hard consequence, based on the fact that they originally said it was fine to take this time off. So OP made their decision to prioritize this on the false pretense that they could return to their internship. Even if it is an emergency, there is a decision included that might have been different had they had a way to suspect that they would be laid off.
    – skymningen
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 12:56
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    @skymningen - you're right, it seems unfair. It may very well be that one manager green lit the absence, but someone higher up decided against it at a later time. We don't know. However, the reality is what it is, and the OP has to move on with his career.
    – AndreiROM
    Commented Jan 16, 2018 at 13:40

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