Do’s And Don’ts After Getting Fired

By Zach Seybert
In September 13, 2017

Our friends over at the VIKTRE Career Network recently published an article titled “How To Handle Getting Let Go From A Job,” and that got the team here at NexGoal thinking about how the lessons learned during this trying time can be applied to the general job seeking audience.

Whenever someone loses their job it is a difficult, emotional experience – whether the individual sees it coming or not. In the age of social media, it is easy for someone to rip off a few Tweets or Facebook statuses complaining about the company or the situation. While this might seem like a good outlet in the moment, I can assure you that is is not.

This is an example of what you should not do if and when you are fired from a job. There are many resources available providing some advice on how to properly respond (not react) to this situation. Our friends at Monster.com published an article by Denene Brox that details how you should manage this stressful time.

Don’t Burn Bridges

You never know when a relationship that you have developed with someone at your previous job will come back into your life. Depending on the manner in which you leave the company, your future success can be greatly affected.

By publicly badmouthing former colleagues and/or the company, any connections you had made will be compromised (the bridge will be burned), thus exacerbating the situation. As you begin the search for your next job, you never know when you will need a reference. It is not worth the temporary satisfaction of a social media rant. While it is common to feel angry towards your previous employer, the way you manage your emotions is key during this time. This leads to the next point…

Manage Your Emotions

Being let go from a job is a very emotional time period. Anger, frustration, anxiety and betrayal are all common emotions felt by the individuals who have been fired. It is important to realize that this is not the end of the world or your career. While there is certainly a feeling of uncertainty regarding next steps, you will figure it out. That said, keeping these emotions in check is far easier said than done.

Dr. Melodie Schaefer, executive director of The Chicago School, Southern California Counseling Centers, recommends exercising and journaling as stress relievers when enduring this process. She also advises to remain forward-thinking when talking about your termination with those close o you. “Say, ‘I’d rather not have to dwell on the past and would really appreciate your input in helping me think about my next steps, now that I have a chance to consider making a change.'”

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Pick Your Battles

Whether you see it coming or not, being fired feels like you are getting betrayed by the company for which you worked. There are different grounds for termination and each case varies greatly, but sometimes legal action can be taken. “A lot of people are fired simply because they didn’t get along with their boss, and you can’t sue a company because your boss was a jerk,” said Paul Lopez, and employment attorney with Tripp Scott. Certain cases can lead to legal action, such as civil-rights violations. “No one can be fired because of their sex, race, age, disability or national origin,” he continued. “If there’s a manager who has a prejudice against someone in those protected classes and fires them – that’s actionable.”

Filing a wrongful termination lawsuit can be a slippery slope. The process can be drawn out and can lead to thousands of dollars in attorney fees which, depending on the outcome, might end up being for nothing. Employment attorneys suggest picking your battles and only filing a suit if you have a legitimate claim against the employer.

Start Over

Give yourself a few days to settle down and feel sorry for yourself. Once that has passed, it is time to re-energize and re-focus towards finding a new opportunity. Getting relieved of your duties could be a blessing in disguise in that a new opportunity might be exactly what you needed. By looking at this experience as a life lesson, there are many positives that can come from it.

Wrap Up

In one’s “career cycle” getting hired, fired and eventually rehired by another company is part of the status quo. These days, studies have shown that a person has upwards of 10 jobs before the age of 40. Having to find a new career path is basically guaranteed. While getting fired is a difficult thing to go through, by handling it correctly your career can actually benefit from the lessons learned. All too often we tend to react rather than respond in times like this, but cooler heads usually prevail, especially after getting fired. If you do the aforementioned four things when you lose your job, your setback will turn into a comeback.

Before You Go

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Zach is a Digital Content and Marketing Specialist with NexGoal, who specializes in creating career transition and job search preparation content.