Getting fired isn’t easy. Whether you’re an ambitious young professional or an old-time executive, you just never know when you’ll be handed the pink slip. It could be due to many reasons like company restructuring, downsizing, change in management, or because of your unsuitability for a role or disciplinary issues. Or this could be for extraordinary reasons beyond your control such as the current coronavirus crisis. Whatever the reason be, getting fired can wreak havoc on your self esteem and disrupt your life.
However the good news is that losing a job is not the end of the world and with the right approach and perspective you could turn something bad into something positive.
We spoke with many people who have lost their jobs, how they dealt with it, and have compiled this handy guide on how to deal with getting fired, with grace and make the best out of it.
1. Calm yourself
You feel devastated, dejected and angry and it’s okay. Go home, have a good cry, let it all out, binge on ice-cream. But tell yourself it’ll be okay. At the end of the day it was just a job. You didn’t even like it that much. You know it.
2. Talk to people
A termination, especially an unfair one or one during a difficult personal time could be disastrous for your mental state. Talking to close family members and friends would help see things in perspective. And if you find opening up to them difficult, do not shy away from talking to professional counselors. There’s no shame in seeking professional help, after all they’re absolutely qualified and empathetic to listen to your woes with a patient, unbiased ear and give constructive solutions.
3. Regain your self confidence
Tell yourself did not lose the job because you were incompetent or a good for nothing. Remember you were hired into this company because they saw something in you. But maybe the requirements have changed or increased with time, while you haven’t. The keyword here is “for them”. Take this analogy. You have hired a cook and he’s brilliant at churning out the best North Indian spread you can think of, is punctual and hygienic but suddenly you marry a Chinese girl who would love to have Chinese food everyday. Could you continue to have a cook that only can Indian food? You might have to let him go, but does that make him any less competent in his field?
4. Apply to other jobs
“Look at getting fired as a positive opportunity to reflect and grow. An opportunity to find a place where you can thrive. A reason to kick even more ass in the next thing you do” says, the founder of the Food tech Startup
Use your notice period to look at other suitable openings. But first, understand yourself, evaluate your skill sets and ask yourself an honest question. “What you really enjoy doing and can add value to” and apply to such a company. There’s no shame in having been fired, but moreover if you were fired for reasons like company priorities or your compatibility for the role, there’s no reason for you to disclose it. What’s important is that you are a good fit for the role you’re applying for.
5. Work on your issues
There is a good chance that you were fired because of disciplinary reasons such as low inputs, slack attitude to work, discipline, non punctuality, nuisance to other colleagues etc. It’s possible that you feel hard done and victimised, but think objectively about your behaviour and performance at your workplace. Are you someone you’d want on your team if you were the owner of the business?
If not, this is a deeper issue and now is a good time for introspection and think about identifying those issues and working on them. Getting a new job won’t help because some transgressions are universally frowned upon and discouraged and will continue to plague your career irrespective of where you work.
6. Take a break
Maybe this was a break you had meant to take forever but never got around to. Losing a job could be a blessing in disguise. Do that Himalayas backpacking trip you’d been dreaming of forever or join that Vipassana course you never could with a job. Come back with a clearer head and a fresher perspective. Maybe you realised your real calling was to teach children?
7. Learn a new skill
Did you lose the job because you couldn’t deal with the demand of an ever growing, dynamic workplace? This is a good opportunity and free time to upgrade your skill-sets to be ready for a new job. Maybe a new programming language, an advanced excel course or an introduction to marketing analytics is what you need to move on the next level in your career.
8. Don’t burn any bridges
You are pretty sore with the manager and the resentment might spill out on to envying your colleagues or lead into withdrawing into a shell because you “can’t face the world now”
But try to understand that it’s probably not personal. Your boss and your colleagues can still continue to have a perfect personal relationship outside of what happened at the job. You never know when you need references or referrals in future jobs.
9. Publish your story
If you are sure your termination was completely unjustified, and a bigger political agenda was involved,and possess supporting evidence do not be quite. Make a noise about this on all channels, including social media, but importantly job sites like glassdoor.com, etc. You may not be able to counter your situation, but at least a potential employee in the organization would be warned of the adverse HR practices and the exploitative culture prevalent at it. Don’t bitch, but provide an objective and constructive feedback.
10. Have a shot at freelancing
Getting fired suddenly and having no immediate job prospects on the anvil can leave you financially wrecked. If you have dependents, the situation can go from grim to dire in no time. But know that a full-time job isn’t the only way to earn money. Now’s the time to invoke that inherent hustle or build one. There are millions of people who go about their lives having never or not doing a fulltime jobs and yet earn an decent income. Map out your skills, interests and opportunities around you and see where you can find an opening for making some money. For example, you can always try to build a profile on the many freelancer websites like Freelancer.com, Upwork, elance etc to find projects that match your skillsets, bid on them, and win them to start earning a bit of a cushion money. Here’s a list on some other ways you can make an extra income.
11. Start your own something
“Indeed, after a life dictated by a controlling boss, an intricate employee assessment, and mundane tasks that had no relation to what I found most enjoyable, I was free. I now had, in my power, the ability to pursue any job I wanted — and my present employer would pay for my soul searching.” Says Dennis a now successful freelance writer and marketing guru.
Maybe this was the wake up call you needed to stir into action to start that cafe you never would have with the convenience of a cushy job. Put all experience from the job to good use and be thankful you could now work hard a making your dreams come true instead of helping someone else make theirs. For an inspiration, check out the stories of these 11 people who quit their jobs to follow their passion