I was recently let go because of an honest mistake and misunderstanding with my manager. I only meant to compliment my manager but she took it the wrong way. I was shocked and it blew my mind. No matter how honestly i explain this, i can tell that its costing me a job... how do i explain this in interview and still get a job? Do i say it wasnt a good fit? If future employers were to find out the details or i was let go due to harassment, would i be let go again?

Edit: if i were to answer honestly and let interviewers know, wouldnt they see me as a liability and avoid me at all cost?


You have to have honestly learned what you did wrong, and how you're not going to do the same in the future. So when asked in an interview, you can say something like:

I complimented my boss's dress and was let go for harassment. I've realized that it's inappropriate to comment on the body of a co-worker, and the way I worded it, it certainly could have been taken as a comment on her body, not her clothing. It was inappropriate. I no longer make comments about co-workers, and I am careful to treat all co-workers with the same respect. In fact, if I want to compliment a co-worker now, I will comment on their work - since that is what we are here for.

In other words: admit you messed up, explain what you learned, and how it's not part of who you are any more. That is your best approach when you are fired for any reason.

HOWEVER - if you can avoid bringing it up at all, if it doesn't come up, then you simply need to internalize the lesson. You certainly don't proactively bring up the reason you were fired from a job in an interview. If it comes up, then you explain why now is different and what you have learned. If it doesn't come up, don't bring it up.

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    I definitely learned my lesson and realized that we live in a sensitive world. Showing that ive learned and reflected is something i am going to let interviewer know, but is theres another way to go about explaining this misconduct? I feel like every interview i had is considering me as a liability.... when in fact i am actually a really hard worker. I just honestly didnt think my manager would take it as offense because she and i would talk casually all the time. This really caught me off guard.
    – Lfhelpxyz
    Jul 31 '19 at 17:24
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    @Lfhelpxyz You're only a liability if you don't learn. You have to learn all sorts of things to do your job, this is just one more thing. Sure, there were consequences because you didn't learn it sooner, but that's also true of other things. If it comes up in an interview, you have to convince them you've learned and changed. Jul 31 '19 at 17:27
  • I just feel like nobody will ever hire me if i were to go into details. This has crushed my self confidence. I feel like my career is ruined.
    – Lfhelpxyz
    Jul 31 '19 at 17:47
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    @Lfhelpxyz actually, harassment doesn't have to be intentional. In many cases, it's unintentional but also unthinking, not realizing you're treating women (or another category) different from men, because you're not thinking about it from their point of view. To put it in more concrete terms - if you hit me with your car, but it was unintentional, I am still hurt. Jul 31 '19 at 19:03
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    @Lfhelpxyz - unfortunately, as long as you look at it as "we live in a sensitive world", you don't really understand. I'm not "sensitive" because I was hit by a car. I'm tired of being hit by a car and having to assure the driver that it's all ok. You're still not getting outside of yourself, and seeing what it's like having co-workers comment on your body, as a compliment, over and over, and over. When you really wish the co-worker would quit seeing your body at all and would instead see your work. It's not "sensitive" to be want to be known as competent and equal. Jul 31 '19 at 19:31

How does it even come up? I wouldn't mention it. You can say you were let go because of a personality conflict with management, or difference of philosophy.

Having said that, explain you've learned since then, and have grown as a result.

  • We were just talking one day and i complimented her. It wasnt anything malicious or intentionally to harass. I just assumed that since she and i have a good foundation of mutual respect and trust, i can talk to her freely. What i didnt realized was that i was wrong. I mean, she was someone who really understood me as a person and we got along really well. I had no idea things would turn out like this.
    – Lfhelpxyz
    Jul 31 '19 at 18:00
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    @Lfhelpxyz do you compliment your male co-workers in the same way? No? But it's past now, you've learned, and being able to see your male and female co-workers as just co-workers is a valuable skill to have. Beating yourself up about the past isn't as fruitful as changing your future. Jul 31 '19 at 18:25
  • @Lfhelpxyz -- no, I mean, how does it come up in an interview? How do they now to even ask about it? Do you have a police record? Does it come up on a background check? If not, don't tell them. It sounds like you committed no crime, and there is no reason to volunteer to anyone that it happened.
    – Keith
    Jul 31 '19 at 18:31
  • Im doing my best to be positive. Would you think if i say i was let go due to personality conflict, would that be appropriate or would i be lying? I would go with misunderstanding but im not sure if i will be asked for details. Then i wouldnt know what to say. @thursdaysgeek
    – Lfhelpxyz
    Jul 31 '19 at 18:36
  • @keith i was NOT convicted of any crime. I would think it would come up when i was asked why did you leave your last job? I would obviously let the interviewer know that i got terminated (no problem owning that up). Then i would think interviewer would press for more details..? Furthermore, i was told that my previous employer will release the date of employment, title, and can i be rehired. And that reason for termination is strictly confidential. At least thats what i was told during exit interview. But im still afraid that they might release the reason as well..?
    – Lfhelpxyz
    Jul 31 '19 at 18:40

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