I’ve Been Fired – What Should I Do?

“You’re Fired” – The Last Words Anyone Wants to Hear

So, you’ve been sacked, canned, pink slipped, terminated, axed, exited, let go, downsized – you’ve been fired. Someone other than yourself has decided it’s time to part ways. Now you’re looking for a new job.

And it really sucks.

Maybe this was something you saw coming. You may have seen the “writing on the wall.” But not all terminations are easy to predict. You may have been one of the unlucky ones who were completely blindsided when your boss called you in to talk.

For those in the former group, morale may have been low. You may have found yourself dreading the “daily grind” and daydreaming of greener pastures. Being fired will help you move on. For the latter group, parting ways could be very emotional. You might be leaving behind a job you loved or a team you loved – maybe both. Either way, job loss can be very hard on your mental health.

According to PositivePsychology.com:

“When individuals lose their job, they may also lose their source of income, personal work relationships, a routine and structure to their day, and a sense of purpose. It can almost feel like someone has stripped them of their whole identity overnight. They may perceive that life no longer has meaning and that they are no longer useful.”

Job Loss Happens – People Get Fired All of the Time

Regardless of how you were feeling about your job before you were fired, the decision has been made. It’s time to accept it and move on. But how do you move on when you feel like you’ve been “stripped” of your routine, purpose, and more?

First, it’s important to recognize that you’re not alone.

Initially, you should take some time for yourself. I know that it’s hard to take a “do nothing” stance when it feels like you must “do something.” However, getting into the right “head space” for your job search will be more important than you know.

Allow what just happened to sink in. Give yourself the opportunity to identify the feelings you are experiencing.  Are you feeling sadness?  Anger?  Fear?  Joy?  Not sure?  A little bit of all of these?  I’m here to tell you that’s normal.

You may be in shock and you’re most likely mourning the death of an identity that’s become comfortable over time. What do I mean by that?

We place a lot of emphasis on our careers. Asking someone new what do they do for a living is polite conversation. With our identities tied to our work, it’s normal to feel depressed or anxious when a big, unexpected change hits.

Once you’ve taken some time to let yourself feel the loss, it’s time to focus on more immediate needs. It’s all part of preparing for your job search.

How Can I Get Back on Track Fast?

The trick to getting back on track fast is in the details. Getting fired is a big deal. It can be easy to get lost in your emotions and overlook small details like budgeting and public image.

Start with your severance and finances.

If you were given a severance package, review it carefully before signing it. If you think you deserve or could get more, do the research, find out. Speak with someone who has “been there” or get legal advice if you think you need it.

If you weren’t given a severance package, review your budget. If you don’t have savings to back you up during this time, cut back on expenses.

Focus on your public image and what you’re “putting out there” to the world.

We live in a digital world. You’ve likely broadcasted your former identity/role to it. It’s time to begin letting the outside world know that things have changed. You’re no longer with your former employer, and you’re ok. In fact, you’re better than ok. You’re seeking new opportunities and feeling very enthusiastic about your future.

For many people this can be a scary thing to do. Don’t let fear take over, there’s a lot to be said for the “fake it till you make it” mantra.

While it might be true that someone may judge you for being fired, you can’t control that. You can control your reaction. People who care about you and really matter will be supportive. Who knows, someone from your network may even hold the key to your next job.

Get “Fired Up” About Finding an Exciting New Opportunity

You’ve processed your job loss, know how you’ll pay your rent/mortgage this month, and have softened the blow to your social media followers – it’s resume time.

Your resume must be up to date with respect to your past experiences and skills. However, formatting and style also matter to recruiters today. Your resume should demonstrate what you’ve accomplished and why it matters.

Once you’ve polished your resume up, have someone who knows what they’re doing look at it. A career coach can also be a great resource during this phase of your journey. It takes a little introspection to get fired up about finding a new opportunity. So, a resume clean up is a great way to reflect on your skills and what you’re looking for in your next role.

Remember – this is your chance to sell yourself.

Show your next employer the value you’ve brought to every company you’ve worked for – even the one that fired you.

Don’t Let a Termination Terminate Your Positive Attitude

I believe a positive attitude makes a big difference. I’ve watched many clients transform their lives with a simple attitude adjustment. Trust yourself, believe in yourself, know your accomplishments, and know your worth.

My leadership coaching advice? Let your positivity shine, even when you aren’t “feeling it.” No one likes being fired. The path back to job stability isn’t paved with negative emotions. Limiting beliefs limit options. You won’t find your next dream job while mourning the past.

One trick to putting a positive spin on being fired is to tell yourself (and others) a positive “leaving story.” Re-frame your leaving story and shift your new job search narrative.

Be consistent and work with someone if you need help.  It’s ok if you’re emotionally attached to what happened. It can be hard to see the forest for the trees when it’s your own story.  Once again, working with a career coach can be very helpful.

A Career Coach Can Help with Your Job Search If You’ve Been Fired

Once you have a solid leaving story, a great resume, you feel positive and secure, you’ve got all of the tools that you need to find your next job. Time to go for it.

Get the help you need for your career search. Add a coach into the mix provide the extra support that you need to land your next career role. Beyond this, recognize that being fired has given you this opportunity to make your next move – and you’re ready to make that count.

If You’ve Been Fired, Take my Career Change Assessment quiz

You’re ready for your job search.

Focused, determined, and feeling confident. Your next opportunity awaits you and a career coach can help you step up your game.

I’ll walk you through how in my next blog post, stay tuned!

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