Corporate Scapegoat: How will I ever get another job?
Corporate Scapegoat: How will I ever get another job?

So you got fired, and not because you got caught smoking in your office after hours, or tried to fix the motherboard of the copier with a flathead screwdriver. 

Person Being Run Over By Bus

Thrown Under the Bus

No, it was more sinister than that. Like a lamb led to the slaughter, you were hauled into a meeting with corporate and grilled about losses on an account you didn’t even work on. Confused, you look over at your boss. He refuses to meet your eyes, shaking his head.

They didn’t even do it in person. It was by email. After confirming receipt, you’ve got 20 minutes to pack up your stuff. In 15, security arrives to escort you out of the building. Boom. Just like that, five years down the toilet, and a reputation in tatters.

It seems so unfair you’d almost think something like that doesn’t really happen. You’d be surprised. When people think their job is at stake, hitting the panic button can take out numerous innocent bystanders. What should you do if you’ve become a corporate scapegoat?

Here’s my advice:

1) Seek your own legal counsel immediately. Refuse to accept in-house counsel or any outside firm that represents your employer, if offered. Your company’s lawyer is not your lawyer, and you are not their client.    

2) Your lawyer will guide you through the process of wrongful dismissal. This will help to repair some of the damage your reputation has suffered, but in the meantime, don’t look for work in the sector you’re in, especially if it’s small. You don’t want to waste time proving your innocence (that’s your lawyer’s job); instead, focus on getting back to work.

3) Think about how to repackage your skills to make them look attractive to employers outside the sector you’ve worked in. Even if you’ve worked in a very specialized industry, there are certainly numerous transferable skills you’ve acquired that have contributed to your success. Use what you know, but in a slightly different context.

People Pointing Fingers at Corporate Scapegoat

Career-Damaging Finger Pointing

4) Clean up your digital footprint. While those company Christmas party photos might have been hilarious at the time, future employers are going to be snooping around the internet to find the “real” you. If they find you’re an expert at topless keg stands, they might have concerns about your professionalism in the workplace.

5) Market yourself. Get out there and start networking. Get yourself some business cards and hand them out. Tell people you’re looking for new opportunities, and encourage them to look at your personal webpage, an essential marketing tool that can easily be created for free using sites like about.me or LinkedIn.



Contact me by email, phone, or via direct message on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn if you’d like to discuss any of these topics in more detail.


More than career coaching, it’s career psychology®.


I/O Advisory Services – Building Resilient Careers and Organizations.™


Easily share this article using any of the social media icons below.

Latest Posts

Scary Work: Revisiting Some Haunting Past Situations

Scary Work: Revisiting Some Haunting Past Situations

The real-life corporate psychopath usually isn’t the over-the-top caricature of a masked, axe-wielding maniac chasing his victims down a dark alley. But, when we’re unlucky, corporate psychopaths do walk among us. They can have an extremely detrimental impact on their peers and people who report to them, and can hurt the organization for which they work. There are also other things happening to some of us that make for scary work situations.

The Big Quit Continues: Why Employees are Unhappy at Work

The Big Quit Continues: Why Employees are Unhappy at Work

Job dissatisfaction is at an all-time high. Despite fears of a recession, the Big Quit is still underway, with more and more people quitting their jobs in search of something better. I’ve written previously about the Big Quit phenomenon, and how the uncertainty of the pandemic has impacted our work-related choices. Certainly, wages are a major factor in this decision-making process. With the cost of living rising and wages not keeping pace, it’s no wonder that people are looking for greener pastures. But there’s one key factor that’s driving a lot of churn in organizations …

Black Psychology – What is it and why is it important?

Black Psychology – What is it and why is it important?

While largely unknown, Black Psychology as a discipline has an established history. As a graduate student, Dr. Helen stumbled upon a book called Black Psychology (Third Edition) which was published in 1991. The book addressed the need to develop a Black perspective on the conceptualization, research, and practice of Psychology. So many years later, with so few Black psychologists in Canada and the United States, there still is a significant gap in the field. This Q&A blog provides a quick overview.