Reports say Omarosa Manigault was fired in dramatic fashion. But the former reality-star villain maintains she resigned ahead of her one-year mark
“Apprentice” villain-turned-White House aide Omarosa Manigault found herself in fresh drama last week when the Trump administration announced her upcoming departure from the Office of Public Liaison, where she served as comms director.
Anonymous White House sources told tales of Manigault storming President Trump’s residence and being physically escorted from the premises; one reporter alleged she’d “acted very vulgar and cursed a lot and said she helped elect President Trump” as Chief of Staff John Kelly fired her. Manigault, in a subsequent “Good Morning America” interview, dismissed reports of her supposedly turbulent firing and insisted she’d resigned — though she did vaguely allude to a separate White House controversy.
Sources say General Kelly did the firing and Omarosa is alleged to have acted very vulgar and cursed a lot and said she helped elect President Trump. The word is a General Kelly had it and got rid of her.
— AprilDRyan (@AprilDRyan) December 13, 2017
Also read: 4 signs it’s time to quit your job
“When I have my story to tell as the only African-American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people,” she said. “And when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear.”
Though circumstances around Manigault’s exit remain murky for now, here are steps anyone can take to control the narrative around their departure — firing, resignation or otherwise — from a company:
Time your exit. This is one way to convey that your leaving is “a normal departure rather than an abnormal and suspicious departure” that raises a lot of questions, management consultant Dorie Clark told Moneyish. Alleged drama notwithstanding, she said, Manigault’s planned end date of Jan. 20 — capping Trump’s first year in office — makes logical sense. You might choose to split after a certain number of years or after a major project wraps; for seasonal work like retail, she added, you could leave at the beginning of the year after completing the holiday shopping season.
If you know you’re already on thin ice, Clark said, consider leaving on a gracious note by proactively offering your resignation around your annual performance review. “You can often salvage the situation to a certain extent by acknowledging the situation and making it easy for them by offering to resign,” she said. “No one likes to fire people — that is an incredibly uncomfortable situation.”
Negotiate the messaging with your company. Ask to talk about the narrative or messaging that will be involved in announcing your departure, career coach Julie Cohen suggested. If you manage a team, you might ask to share the news with them yourself. You could also request you write your own email announcement for the company to disseminate on your behalf.
“If the message you’re showing is one of sustaining relationships and positive messaging and you want to partner with them to make this smooth for everyone, most organizations are not going to say, ‘Oh no, we want to make this horrible for you,’” Cohen said. “They want to get you out and keep it good on both sides.”
Take the high road and don’t burn bridges — no matter how badly things went down. “Don’t (publicly) condemn your previous employer if you can avoid it,” career coach and writer Kathy Caprino said in an email. “People who complain bitterly about previous experiences at an employer, unfortunately, lead others to think that these types of problems will occur for this individual, even in the new job.”
Keep your emotions in check. Being let go can understandably provoke a range of negative emotions, Cohen said, but what’s important is how you manage those emotions in the moment. “Escalating or taking an approach of spite … (or) being aggressive back to your employer is not going to facilitate a smooth departure or a smooth disengagement with that employer,” she said.
Don’t name names when discussing a job that went south, Caprino said. Try speaking more generally about how “the existing conditions changed from when I was hired, making it more challenging for me to be able to achieve the goals I was hired to,” she said. “It’s never about one person. It’s always about the system around you, the context and the conditions, as well as the individuals’ interaction within the system, that brings about success or crushes it.”
Hone the elevator pitch about your experience, especially if your now-former employer is controversial, Clark said. Strike the right balance between highlighting the good parts of your experience and acknowledging the company’s drawbacks, and “refocus people on your role, specifically,” she said. “Don’t go down the rabbit hole of badmouthing (your last job),” Caprino added. “Find a way to share all the parts of it that the new employer will be excited to hear.” Practice makes perfect, Clark said.
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