I worked as an english teacher at my country and for about 1 year and a half I had never missed a day of work. One day I asked them for a day off on a saturday 1 week before the actual saturday that I needed to be off. To be completely honest here I was going to a farm that day for religous reasons.

They declined it, said I had to work that saturday. I was okay with it, but then at friday night for some reason I decided I'd go to the farm, I went to school and told the secretary I wasn't going to work the next day and I headed to the farm.

When I got back to work on monday my boss was burning with hatred, he said my attitude was outrageous and irresponsible. I kinda had to agree, a few weeks later I was fired.

What should I say on my next interview, when they ask that question: 'Why did you leave your previous job?'

Should I be honest and tell what happened, or should I translate it into something else?

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    It looks to me that you are ready, able and willing to do what you did again on your next job. Nov 30, 2016 at 12:31
  • not really, I do regret what I did to the company and the way I did it, it was mostly irresponsible and caused damage, I was correctly fired there. I would just like to know what to say on a next interview.
    – Vinícius
    Nov 30, 2016 at 12:36
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    What is not clear to me is if this was a compulsory religious holiday/practice. If it was you should explain that your religious practices are very important to you and you sometimes need a day off for them. Your previous employer was not able to accommodate you with a day off and, because your religion is more important to you than your employment, you could not continue working for them. Obviously, such priorities limit the job pool available to you.
    – Roland
    Nov 30, 2016 at 12:44
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    @AlexandreVaillancourt Sure, maybe. But would you say that in a job interview? I guess my point is that OP needs to look for a job that is compatible with his religion.
    – Roland
    Nov 30, 2016 at 12:56
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    @Roland Yeah. Mentioning it in the job interview, you'll see beforehand how they can accommodate your needs. "Well, you can take a day off for whatever reason, but we'll have to know 4 weeks in advance so we can find a replacement for that day."
    – user48138
    Nov 30, 2016 at 12:58

2 Answers 2


I recommend telling the truth, i.e. the facts: 1. You were let go for taking an unapproved day off on Saturday, which was a religious holiday you had to observe due to your faith. This was the only time this occurred out of 18 months of work.

That's it. I would say nothing more and nothing less than that. Your next prospective employer would need to decide how to interpret this information, but I would avoid dramatizing the situation, or saying anything that would make you appear defensive, irritated, or angry about it. Simply state this information in a neutral tone.

The message you want to communicate is: This is what happened, I wish it did not but this is the choice my leadership made. I feel it was unfortunate and did my best to communicate my preference, and will do my best to do so in the future.

Do not apologize excessively (this admits your fault). Saying this was unfortunate and that you are sorry this happened does not mean you admit the blame for it, but says that you regret that things worked out the way they did. This is not quite the same as admitting fault. Rather, you are acknowledging that things did not work out very well.

The interviewer's responsibility will be to determine where they stand on the issue, namely if this issue is worthy of dismissing your candidacy, or whether they understand the situation and are willing to give you a chance. If the employer is reasonable, they will likely give credit to your honesty rather than attempt to misrepresent the situation. Good luck!

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    "I recommend telling the truth, i.e. the facts: 1. You were let go for taking an unapproved day off on Saturday, which was a religious holiday you had to observe due to your faith" That is not the truth. The OP says they "decided" "for some reason" to go to the "farm" unapproved. .... that being said, I agree with the rest of your answer, and with your advice. Apr 24, 2017 at 8:39

You can't avoid that question, basically because your new employer can easily contact your former boss for references. So if that question arises it might be a bad idea to lie about.

I'd say that you had an unfortunate problem to communicate to your former boss your issue regarding your religious practices. Then you explain to your new employer what means for him your religion, because you have learn (thanks to your former experience) that it was important to inform in advance to your boss, in order to prevent another problem like the one you had before. If your new employer is aware of your limits, no matter what are these limits, there will be plenty of time to reschedule a class and prevent any other misunderstanding. And naturally, your new boss is going to have your full commitment in this new job, because now you're aware of the problems that your boss might have if you miss a day. After all, you both are in the same ship.

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