No B.S. Coaching Advice

If You're Fired, Should You Sign the Paperwork?

If You’re Fired, Should You Sign the Paperwork?

Fired. Laid off. Terminated. Excessed. RIF’d. However they describe it, you’re out of a job. They’re sliding paperwork in front of you to sign. Should you?


I’m Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter, I coach people, I try and help you be more effective at work,  with your job search with hiring, managing, more effective in the workplace, as well.

And this is a question someone asked me. It’s one of those painful situations that people wind up with . . . in where they’re fired. And they’re brought into the conference room, a bunch of papers are slid in front of them. Maybe it’s not that they’re fired. They’re laid off as part of the mass later layoff. And everyone’s surrounding you, and the pressure is on and you’re emotionally spent, because it’s a shock.

They slide this paperwork in front of you, and they ask you to sign it. What should you do?

The answer is, don’t sign it. Don’t sign it, because you’re not a lawyer, and you have no idea what’s in there. And they may talk about being standard stuff and all sorts of crap like that, that basically says, “What are you an idiot? Sign this thing already! We’ll give you a check.”

But don’t sign it. They may say, “Just initial it like you saw it.” Don’t initial it. Don’t do anything. Just simply say, “I want to run this by someone and see their thoughts. I’m also, you know, having a degree of distress right now and I’m not in a position where I could actually read it with five people standing around me and pressuring me to sign it.”

“No, no, we’re not pressuring you.”

“But the very . . .  your very presence here is pressuring. So I’d like to take this with me. And after I’ve had a chance to review it, consider signing it.”

Notice, “consider signing it.” They may have other people, you know, indicate that they’ve witnessed you not signing it or witnessing you that they’ve shown it to you. So what? So what?  You haven’t agreed to anything at that point. What they’re trying to do is to get you to sign off on certain terms and conditions that benefit the corporation and not necessarily you.

They may be waiving the idea of a check around. But, you know, they can cut a bigger check. Sometimes, if you threaten “the lawyer,” not there, not there, all you want to do is take that agreement and get out the door. If you threaten a lawyer or do some negotiating, you can get more money, but they’re just trying to tie things up neatly for the corporation.

They don’t have your interests at heart. What they have at heart and all these people are going to be bombarding you with is the corporation’s interest. Not you. They are not your friends. This boss that you would share secrets with for years is not your ally at this moment. They are a stooge of the corporation. Don’t fall for it.

I’m Jeff Altman. I hope you found this helpful. Visit There’s a lot more there that you can watch, listen to a read that will help you help you with finding work, help you with managing people with hiring, being more effective in the workplace. That’s how I’d view career coaching. And then from there, I’ll just simply say, one on one coaching, you can schedule a free discovery call with me at the website at

If you want to subscribe to my channel on YouTube, click the small icon in the lower right hand corner. You’ll get notified whenever I release a new video and I’m also on That’s an app for 90 some odd video services including Apple TV, Fire TV, Roku, 90 similar platforms. Download the app. Watch me there. Hope to have a chance to help you. Have a great day and take care!


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