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I've read quite a few posts on this SE, but I would like some specific feedback to my situation.

I've been working at this company as a software developer intern for over a year. I'm a full time college student and will be graduating come this December.

Just a week ago, I had a performance review with my manager. She said she was very impressed with how quickly I was able to learn, had great feedback from my peers and my project manager, and my feedback in meetings and code reviews were helpful. She gave me a bonus and I asked her if she would be willing to hire me when I graduate - she said yes, because of the aforementioned reasons.

However, just yesterday, I had a quickly scheduled performance review with the same manager. When I was walking down the hall talking to one of my co-workers, I used a curse word. I wasn't aware of how loud I had said it, but more than one person heard. I guess that somebody very important had noticed and told my manager - she said she was letting me go, citing professionalism and that she's never had to have that conversation with others before.

She offered to let me stay for the next month until my co-worker and I are finished with the application, or leave immediately. I chose to stay as 1) I need the money, 2) I need some time to find more opportunities, and 3) I'd like to finish the first real production application that I've helped create, and I could show it off in later interviews.

I'm very saddened as things were going great. I'm working to get some endorsements from my peers and connect with them on LinkedIn currently. My biggest concern is how do I address this in an interview if asked why I left the job? Is saying something like "I was told I was performing well, but I said something inappropriate. I regret it and will now keep that kind of conversation outside of the workplace" not the best way to describe the reason? I feel like I can describe so many positives about myself, but I fear this one negative will haunt me forever.

I wish to finish the last month strong. Are there tips on getting endorsements/what to ask for when asking for recommendations, and how to word the reason for being fired in an interview and job application?

marked as duplicate by Chris E, gnat, Richard U, Draken, JasonJ Apr 7 '17 at 12:51

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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    You were not laid off, you were fired for cause. – HLGEM Apr 6 '17 at 15:13
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    Whilst cursing in a working environment is considered unprofessional, saying what you said wouldn't normally result in immediate dismissal. A verbal/written warning perhaps. Are you sure this is the only reason for your dismissal? – DavidT Apr 6 '17 at 15:33
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    it could also depend on who you were calling stupid... – NKCampbell Apr 6 '17 at 17:01
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    Sorry, I was writing this right before class so I forgot to also mention this: I was late to a meeting I shouldn't have been late to. It started before the time I usually get into work, and it was entirely my fault as I didn't check my calendar before. I didn't notify anyone I was going to be late, as I didn't know I had the meeting. I own that mistake too, but the combination of being late and the curse word usage resulted in my demise. – user355381 Apr 6 '17 at 17:08
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    @Nvoight, if you are not at a software company (where the rules appear to encourage a frat boy atmosphere which does make for a harassing workplace if you aren't a boy child) or if the phrase refers to a person who is much higher than you on the food chain, it certainly is cause for firing in most places. That kind of behavior was filtered out of most workplaces in the 1980s. – HLGEM Apr 6 '17 at 17:17
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Is saying something like "I was told I was performing well, but I said something inappropriate. I regret it and will now keep that kind of conversation outside of the workplace" not the best way to describe the reason?

That's a great approach.

Talking about it as a learning opportunity shows that you are self-aware, taking blame for your own actions, but are moving on.

One incident like this probably won't be too harmful.

You should probably have a discussion with your manager to see what "lack of professionalism" consists of in her mind. If it was solely the one curse word and being late a single time, well you are young and young people make mistakes - not a huge deal for many interviewers. But if there were other factors, then you want to know what they are so that you can address them. Many managers will give honest feedback to interns if you truly want to listen and learn.

During interviews, don't even bring the issue up unless you must (some companies won't know you were fired or won't ask why). But if you must, I think you have the right idea.

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    Great answer. The last paragraph is a good point--internships are generally temporary, so in many cases the OP probably won't even be asked about it. – user45590 Apr 6 '17 at 16:25
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    +1 Great answer in focusing on the long-view. It might seem like the end of the world, but you're right, it won't have long term effects on the OP's career. – Richard U Apr 6 '17 at 18:06
  • I do want to add that I was overthinking this a bit and it turned out to not be a big deal after all. I finished my remaining time there strong, even doing bug fixes on the last day, got some great references from my co-workers, and the recruiter there referred me to the recruiter at the new place I applied to. I wasn't asked about this at all in the interview (like you said, they probably wouldn't have), and I did get the job! So, definitely being careful to not screw up this time. Thank you to everyone who contributed! – user355381 Jun 21 '17 at 2:58
  • Good answer, but I'd actually be more specific because some will assume "inappropriate" means far worse than a single curse word. I'd say "I was told I was performing well, even receiving a performance bonus. However, one day I let a curse word slip while walking down a corridor, and my boss had a zero-tolerance policy for cursing. I regret my language and will not use curse words in the workplace in the future" – WetlabStudent Oct 25 '18 at 6:17

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