Anybody can be fired at any time – no exceptions. When it happens, it feels like a lifeline has been lost. Income is a primary source of our independence, and living without ones means being struck with anger, sadness, and confusion. Where to from here?
Maybe you think that it won’t happen to you, that for some reason, you’re an exception. But really, what makes you so “un-firable?” You’re just like everybody else, with strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. The reality is this: Sometimes termination has nothing to do with you. Most have heard of downsizing before, and it’s something that happens to lots of companies. When it comes to downsizing, the only thing that matters is getting rid of things that cost money (even if that thing happens to be a good worker).
So clearly, being fired is possible for anybody, including you and me. But being fired isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it can serve as a wakeup call and force you into searching for a job that really works for you.
But there’s a delicate process you need to follow in order to make sure you leave your old job on good terms. It’s important because you want to impress any future employers with what you can bring to the table. It won’t look very good if they found out you threw a temper-tantrum when you were fired, and then made the whole ordeal 10x worse than it already was.
People get fired. It happens, and employers understand this. But if you can just convince future employers that you are still worthy of being hired, then you’ll have done your job.
In order to do that, you’ll need to follow the process outlined here.
1. Remain Calm, Confident, And Quiet When You Find Out You’re Fired
It’s easy to let emotions go out of control in a stressful situation. And when people are emotional, they do illogical things. You might want to shout to the world that you’re being unfairly fired, but don’t do it. Instead, keep your cool and respond to your boss with something like “I appreciate the opportunity you’ve given me to work here.”
It’ll be hard to remain composed after hearing news like that, so it’s probably best that you not talk to your now ex-co-workers until you cool off. Ggo home, de-stress, vent to a friend/family member, give it a few days, and move forward with a clearer mind.
2. Don’t Sign Any Documents Without A Lawyer
Before signing any forms (like severance), wait a few days so you can clear your mind and find a lawyer to oversee all documents involved. It’s possible that you were fired unlawfully or that you can get a better severance package, but you’ll need the sharp eye of a lawyer to find those things for you.
3. Budget Your Finances And File For Unemployment
It’s impossible to tell how long you’re going to be unemployed, so you’re going to need to take stock of how much cash you have and how long it’ll last you. Start by listing out all the bills you pay each month, and then see where you can start slashing expenses. It’s going to suck, but you’re going to need to be a lot more frugal with how you approach your money. This means less on entertainment, less eating out, and less on anything else that’s extraneous (which will vary from person to person).
It’s also going to be important that you sign up for unemployment. Depending on the reason you were fired, you may or may not be eligible. But in general, if you were fired through no fault of your own (e.g. downsizing), then you may qualify for unemployment.
4. Use Up The Last Of Your Health Insurance
Even if you’re fired, you’ll probably still have your insurance for little while longer. Make sure to take advantage of this fact and schedule for check-ups right away. It’s care that you are owed, and it could prove to be important. That bothersome twitch you’ve been neglecting could be a preventable issue that will cost you a lot more when your insurance runs out in a few weeks.
5. Find Out How Your Departure Will Be Described To Future Employers
Future employers will ask you why you left or were fired from your old job. You can’t lie about this as it’s grounds for immediate termination at any point of employment, but at the same time you don’t want to stain your image in front of a potential employer.
Call your old employer and see if you can get them to agree to re-frame your termination in a less negative light. Express your concern that their description is interfering with your ability to get hired, and that you’d like to come up with a more neutral sounding one together. They might say no, but that’d be a worst-case scenario. And at best, future employers will be less influenced by the fact the you were fired from your last job.
6. Update Your Work Profile And Resume, And Start Your Job Search
Now it’s time for you to start looking for a new job. Start by updating any professional profiles you have (e.g. Linkedin), revamping your resume to match your current skill-set and expertise, and looking for places that offer jobs.
Start with your current network. Check with friends, family, and old co-workers about positions that you could apply for. This should be your first course of action, as these people will likely be able to get your foot in the door for jobs they know of. Check out suitable job boards online and start adding your resume to them. Some job boards have an alert function or an RSS feed that you can use to keep track of job openings, so make sure you take advantage of these options. Don’t neglect the help section of the newspaper either. These jobs are likely to be local, which would greatly benefit you as well.
Keep in mind that even though you could be fired, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. Plenty of people have bounced back from such ordeals; you just need to keep a calm head and follow advice like this to get you back on track – and towards a better future.