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

The Importance of Trust in Remote and Hybrid Workplaces

The Importance of Trust in Remote and Hybrid Workplaces

Many professionals are still working remotely or in hybrid work environments. While this type of arrangement can be great for convenience, productivity, fostering creativity and better use of resources, one issue I keep thinking about is the challenge associated with building trust.

Leaders and the Self-Awareness Gap

Leaders and the Self-Awareness Gap

Leaders: how accurate is your understanding of your impact on others? According to the Industrial/Organizational Psychologists at Psychometrics.com, 95 percent of leaders believe they are self-aware, while a shocking 10-15 percent actually are. Ouch, that’s a big...

Self-Awareness is Crucial for Leaders

Self-Awareness is Crucial for Leaders

Do you know how others view you as a leader? Regardless of where you are in your career, self-awareness is a key building block for effective leadership. Being conscious of our strengths and weaknesses helps us develop and provides insight into how others perceive us.

“The Great Work Breakup” and What Women Want (Part Two)

“The Great Work Breakup” and What Women Want (Part Two)

Women are demanding more from work, and to get what they want, they’re switching jobs at the highest rate possibly in history. The pandemic kicked off the Big Quit; now we’re into “the Great Breakup.” Women are no longer putting up with conditions that don’t work for them. Some of them are even “rage-applying” …