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The Psychology Behind 'You're Fired!'

How this mindset manifests itself in four major areas of our personal and professional lives.

Our president-elect rode this phrase to astounding heights. Why are we so enamored by this gut-wrenching statement? Is it schadenfreude or a power play? Rather than brush it off we have decided to examine how this mindset has manifested itself in four major areas of our personal and professional lives.


Our wedding vow of “until death do us part” is proving to be too high of a bar. Divorce statistics show that 50 percent of marriages end in divorce after less than eight years. Are we too quick to pull the divorce rip cord? I propose that we supplement 'til death do us part with let’s bring in an experienced professional to help us work out our problems. An experienced professional will help you understand that your struggles are not unique and they will establish a detailed plan to get you out of your rut.


At the end of every season we watch as coaches are given their walking papers. Is this another area where we give up too fast? I vote yes. Seems like the most successful teams—the San Antonio Spurs, the New England Patriots and the Alabama Crimson Tide—all have tenured head coaches. Might be worth further review.

Financial Advisors

Warren Buffet invests in companies with no intention of ever selling them. Compare that to the average holding period for other “investors,” which has dramatically fallen from eight years in the 1960s to five days currently. Our hair-trigger approach has insured poor performance and guaranteed disappointment. Most wealth managers establish policies for their clients based on the long term (defined as 10+ years). My anecdotal experience over my 28-year career is that much like the decreasing investment holding periods, wealth management clients are prone to firing money managers and ultimately firing their wealth advisor before their 10-year plan can run its course. We have also noted that tracking the number of times a client checks their account balance online, using Google Analytics, is a good indicator of how nervous a client is and a good reminder to give the client a call to address any concerns before the concerns grow to a level that needs to be addressed by firing the advisor. 

Our Jobs

Looking at our own LinkedIn profile and our friends’ profiles shows an average three-year tenure at each job. This reality is confirmed by a Bureau of Labor Statistics study showing that the average person will change jobs 12 times in their career. Most of the changes are instigated by the employee but some are the result of being fired. Looks like our restless nature rears its ugly head in this area of our life too. The outlier, a Wall Street stock broker, has a significantly longer job tenure of seven to nine years. What is Wall Street’s secret? Big money and restrictive employment contracts.

How can we exterminate the ants in our pants?  Our advice is to start by examining our behavioral mistakes and establishing timelines that can help you avoid quitting too soon or even worse yet — getting fired.

Jeff Spears is Founder and CEO of Sanctuary Wealth Services and author of the blog, Wealth Consigliere. Follow Jeff on Twitter and Facebook.

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