So I'm a current university student, and last summer I got a paid Nordstrom Retail Management Internship, the only problem was due to my extremely low working memory, (I officially have the diagnoses of cognitive disorder none specified) I couldn't always remember where all the shoes were, and what all the customers orders were and generally could not provide customer service to Nordstrom standards. After I disclosed my disability they switched my job to menial tasks for two weeks, until eventually laying me off due to "business fluctuations".

Should I just leave this off my resume? I was also going to college at the time, so I don't exactly have a work history gap, but I'm also rather proud of being able to often sell ~1k of shoes a day despite taking forever to find the right type of shoes.

The job I'm applying for is a UPS warehouse position and driver helper position, so I don't think I'll need remember details in the same way that I had to at Nordstrom, so I do want to include it. But it seems like people who have been fired get automatically screened out via online applications. I'm worried a hiring manager will just take the person who has not been fired over me.

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    You were officially laid off because of business fluctuations. That's not the same as being fired for cause, which would be a reason to screen you out. Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 12:54
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    You don't think remembering where stuff is would be critical for a warehouse position?
    – paparazzo
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 13:20
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    I am concerned that you are not indicating that you ever found a way to work around your disability. If this is indeed the case and you have nothing but your disability to offer as an excuse, you will tank the interview. And you won't be feeling good about going to interviews if there are questions that you dread because you don't have a satisfactory answer to them - and you never worked one out. We all have to work around our disabilities and weaknesses. Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 13:34
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    I should have been clearer, it is a job where I load trucks from a warehouse (It sounds like the boxes are more or less already in a clearly marked area)
    – anon
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 17:19
  • @vietnhi phuvan So you think I shouldn't include the job on my resume?
    – anon
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 17:24

2 Answers 2


In Brief

You haven't told us how long you worked at Nordstrom for. This is important - depending on how long the job was for will impact it's usefulness on your CV. If it was for more than 3 months, I'd keep it in (regardless of the reason for termination). If for 1-3 months think about it, and for less than 1 month I wouldn't really bother.

Less than one month and I don't think it is very useful to put a position - it just seems odd to have a job for that short of a time.

More Detail

Being laid off for "business fluctuations" is, as has been pointed out, different from being fired for a disability. The fact is the latter is actually illegal in the US, which is where you appear to be from.

You are worried about "being fired". Rest assured, being laid off due to business fluctuations is vastly different, and as this is the reason you were given you should suffer no ill-consequences.

Anyway, leave the position in (or not, depending on how long for), and list the key skills that are relevant for this new position you're applying for. If that involves manual work, then note you lifted shoe boxes, for example. If it involves working with others, note you enjoyed helping customers and working with your team mates to address customer requests. Perhaps note your enthusiasm for hard work and can-do nature let you sell ~1K shoes/day.

Do not mention in your CV that you were laid off - just list the dates and the relevant skills. That is all that is expected from anybody.

What happened at Nordstrom?

In any event, if asked why your Nordstrom job ended, you can say because it was temporary and based on seasonal requirements - which is true. The most UPS will do to check is check with Nordstrom if you worked the dates you said you did. Nordstrom certainly won't say "we fired this person because of a disability" because, again, that is illegal. They might say "the role ended due to seasonal fluctuations", because that is what they told you, and, also, a legal way to end a role. That reason, happily, does not disqualify you for any future roles anywhere.

Please don't mention to them your fears that you were fired because of your "working memory" issues. It is neither true, nor a useful thing to reveal. Rest assured Nordstrom, again, won't reveal this should they be contacted.

Going Forward

Finally, if you are still in college, if you haven't already do check with your student services. They should offer the medical care to work help work out this "working memory" issue you mention. This might be anything from undiagnosed ADHD or dyslexia, or a raft of other things. I'm not aware of any particularly untreatable ailments these days, I'm sure there is something to help you. You owe it to yourself to make this your priority.

Failing that, there should also be council and government services to help you with this - I don't think it would be fun to be going through life feeling that you are in some way impaired, and offer you encouragement and the best of luck in finding a resolution.


If you have such a disability, having worked in a warehouse myself, you are unsuitable for the job and even if you get it you will soon find yourself in trouble.

I'm surprised you're doing OK at University (no offense), but I assume you're studying one of the social sciences. You need to deal with the disability before getting any sort of job that requires memory skills, which is pretty much any job beyond unskilled labour.

If you must apply, don't mention why you were fired, and don't mention your disability. But be prepared to be fired again.

  • I'd suggest finding out what jobs other people with similar challenges have been able to excel at, and details of workplace support that is available in your area. Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 16:44
  • So you think I shouldn't include the job in my resume? Or do you think I should just say they fired me due to business fluctuations. I'd love to not apply but food costs money.
    – anon
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 17:36
  • Hahaha, I am not a social science major.
    – anon
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 17:45
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    i don't think it is nice to refer to the social sciences as places where people with working memory issues can successfully study. Also, you fail to answer the OP's question until the very last line of your answer, preferring to give unasked for personal opinions.
    – bharal
    Commented Oct 23, 2016 at 18:38
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    I have a degree in social sciences, and there is plenty in those programs that needs memory skills although it is true that analytical skills are much more important. From the way you worded that though it appears you don't have the faintest idea of how difficult social sciences can be. That is just ignorant. You need to fix that. I would suggest that you go to your local university and take a senior level history or political science or anthropology class. Then come back and apologize for your ignorance.
    – HLGEM
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 14:34

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