It’s tough to lose your job, whether you get laid off or fired. But be careful what you say when you go! Most job leads come from former coworkers, and you might want a recommendation from your old boss. But you might not get either if you mouth off. So, here’s what not to say as you walk out the door: 

  • “I should’ve left years ago.” Because everyone will wonder: Why did you stay so long? They’ll also think you’ve been an unhappy slacker, and that you didn’t try very hard at your job.

  • Also, don’t say, “You’ll hear from my lawyer,” even if you intend to call one, because you’ll only create animosity. Yes, you might want to consult a lawyer before you sign a complicated release form, or if you think you were wrongfully terminated, but keep your plans to yourself. If you end up in court, you don’t want to give the company extra time to prepare their defense. 

  • Another phrase not to say: “I quit before they could fire me.” Sure, saying you quit makes you seem less like a victim. But prospective employers will wonder why you quit when jobs are so hard to come by, and they might decide you’re too impulsive and out-of-control. You’re better off saying: “I needed a new challenge, and I couldn’t look for a new job and give my old job 100-percent.”

  • The final phrase not to say when you leave a job: “Let me give you some advice.” First, if you’re an expert on the inner-workings of the company, why were you fired? And second, most people don’t take constructive criticism well, so, anything you say could damage your relationship.