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Job Security? Take Nothing For Granted

It seems pretty obvious that Shirley Sherrod got a raw deal when she was pressured to resign this week from her top post at the Department of Agriculture. This, after edited remarks she made years ago led to allegations that she’s a racist.

Snap judgments. We’ve all made them at one time or another.

But if a top government official can lose her job because of a snap judgment, it’s anyone’s guess how many “ordinary” people in “regular” jobs suffer the same fate.

Sherrod’s story is a sad reminder that when it comes to jobs and careers these days, take nothing for granted.

At a time when employers are looking everywhere to cut costs, some decisions about who stays or goes are going to be made quickly – some might say in a snap – and not all the calls are fair or right.

So is the key for all of us is to walk a straight and narrow line—carefully thinking about everything we say and do—which may seem unrealistic at best, especially since decisions are often made on perception?

Surely there are smarter solutions, and we know you’ve got them. Tell us your tales of how a rush to judgment has impacted your career. Our online community is likely to have solutions and feedback to help.


  1. EBONY

    Hello my name is Ebony. I recently left my good paying private company job, for a position working for the city of NYC. While working for the private company, I had a baby boy. The love of my life n which caused the change. I needed to be home more with my son and besides his dad makes good money. Well now that im with the city not only is my check half, but the job is beyond boring. It also has no value and beyond depressing. Its nothing like the pace im used to, but steady schedule and no weekends. SOOOO i did what was needed for my family…

  2. Madeline

    Like Ms. Sherrod, I was acused of being racist. Infact, I didn’t even know that what I was supposed to have done was considered racist. I was talking with two young women of color (african american) and unfortunately, I made a remark that was taken for granted and a snap judgement on behalf of one of these two young women. I forgot the name of one of these women and because they had similar hairstyles and very similar facial expressions, mind you, I never, ever, ever made a mention about race. I had to fill out a report with my supervisor, who by the way is african american made sure that I answered each question very carefully. After a complete and comprehensive investigation, the determination was found that any remarks made by me were totally unfounded and taken out of context. The next week or so, both of these young women had left the employ. I found out later on that another african american woman in the company down the hall from where I worked had actually instigated the uproar. This woman had nothing to do with me. Again unfortunately, this was well after the facts and to accuse someone without any real proof would have been even more fatal.

  3. DC

    I too have been a victim of rush to judement on a job, which caused security and others to watch me closely. Only to find that the people who told the lie was doing something wrong. The tension was tight amongst co-workers, the department manager and myself; I eventually left. If one doesn’t have support from ones superiors, it makes it difficult to stay. Once the truth is out, it’s too late– the damage is done. Ms. Sherrod should had never been under such scrutiny. African Americans were also outraged by what was supossed to be her comments. The lesson to learn here is “GET THE FACTS.”

  4. kat

    Twenty or so years ago I worked for a bank in the marketing dept. (before e-mail and spell check days). My boss said his boss was ready to have me fired because of occasional typographical errors in memo’s. Interesting when some of the executives made errors in their memo’s. From that point on I asked our assistant to proof anything I sent out so they had no cause to fire me.

  5. Lois

    My friend Karen was fired after only three short weeks on the job. The decision was quick and without warning. They called her on Friday after she arrived home and told her not to come in on Monday: how shocking! She was a good and hard worker but keeping a job today requires more than that!


  6. Kathleen

    I reported to work after 1 year on the job and was told by my employer that she was dropping her main client and that my job, as well as the other two women who she employed, was over. She “allowed” me to finish the day, but that was it. There was no warning, and we were plunged back into the job market at an age that seems to lose out on opportunity due to the abundance of younger,less experienced women available.

  7. Millie

    It’s not only about judgements from work. It is also about judgements that people make about someone outside of the workplace and that has nothing to do with the ability to do a job.

    A negative reference was given about me ‘through the grape vine’ that had a severly negative affect on my career. I am determined to change the negative into something positive. I opened up a business that educates and creates change through art.

  8. Debbie

    I was at my “day” job and was frustrated because I work overtime sometimes and do not get paid for it, though I am an hourly employee. I asked someone in a management position if any of their staff worked overtime and she said “no.” Later, when a position that she oversaw opened, she refused to interview me because I had stated that I didn’t want to work overtime. She had no idea why I said that and didn’t ask for an explanation. She just assumed that I didn’t want to work overtime. All I was frustrated about was not getting paid. So, I was passed up for the position.

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