If only hearing the words ‘You’re fired!’ from Donald Trump’s mouth gives you the jitters, you’re not alone. If you’ve just heard the words from your own boss, you’re not alone there either. Getting fired can happen to the best of us, whether it’s our fault or not. It could be because of a conflict, a dying project or simply a lay off. So what do you do if you are fired? What is the next step?
First and foremost, don’t panic. You may be a little shaken, but cursing yourself or your employer will not do anyone any good. The calmer you stay, the better you will be able to handle the situation. Never let your anger show and never belittle the company in front of the other employees. Instead, attempt at exiting without any hostility and with proper feedback. Don’t immediately start looking for a new job.
If you’re fired, it could be due to a genuine reason, or it could be wrongful termination. In either case, you need to be aware of the legalities. If you are asked to sign a severance agreement, run through the agreement in detail, speak to a lawyer and then decide how it will affect your future career. Depending on your termination, you may also be eligible for unemployment benefits. This is a relatively slow process, so get started on it quickly. Speak to Human Resources at your company and find out the exact process of termination, so you don’t miss out on any benefits you may be eligible for. Figure out your health insurance and make certain that you stay insured till you land your next job.
Keep an open line of communication with your colleagues, vendors and clients. You need not mention why you are leaving, but a simple ‘goodbye’ and ‘thank you’ e-mail can be a good way to maintain relationships. Reach out to your professional network both inside and outside the organisation to let them know that you are on the lookout for a job. You don’t want to start working immediately, but putting it out there can at least get the process started.
Get a reference
If the company itself is not willing to provide a reference, approach a supervisor or manager with whom you have a good rapport and who has a good standing in the industry. Your future employers may call the company to get a reference, so you want to make sure you put someone dependable on the list.
Social Media Presence
Social media like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook can be a good way to network. If you have a strong presence on these social circles, let people know that you are hunting for a job. Companies post vacancies on their social profiles, so following certain companies or individuals can work to your advantage.
If you’ve been a work horse for years and have finally gotten some time off, albeit due to the firing, take the time to relax and focus on your personal growth. Take a holiday, join the gym or take that cooking class you’ve been meaning to. You can focus on professional growth by attending business seminars or joining diploma courses. Volunteer at local Non-Governmental Organisations to boost your resume. Also take some time out to work on your resume. It may have been ages since you last looked at it, so modifications will definitely be in order. Update it with your latest achievements, most recent position and responsibilities, and your next objective. There is no need to mention that you were fired in your resume. There is no point in dealing with complicated circumstances unless you actually have to.
When sending out applications, if the form asks the reason for leaving the job, don’t be afraid to mention the termination. Never lie on your application. Companies usually look for references with previous employers so chances are they’ll find out about it anyway. Lying on your application now can lead to another termination in the future.
Every fired person always dreads the next job interview. The question ‘Why did you leave your previous job?’ is bound to come up. One way to work around this is to make it clear that you were fired from your previous job before the question is even asked. If it wasn’t your fault, explain why and how it happened. If it was your fault, make it clear that you have learnt from your mistake and are willing to work hard to compensate for it. Preparing for this question in advance can help. Draft a detailed answer and practice it, so you don’t fumble in the actual interview. Stammering on this question can give the impression that you’re lying or are not confident of your abilities. The last thing you want at such a sensitive stage is for the employer to think that you’re not trustworthy. Stick to your story and don’t meddle with facts. If you don’t lie, you won’t falter. No matter how bitter you are, never insult your previous employer in an interview. Leave all your anger at the door and respond to sensitive questions with ease. Slighting your old company will just make the employer wonder if you will do the same to him in the future. Don’t plead your case or defend yourself. That will just show the employer that you’re not strong enough to deal with the situation.
As hard as it may seem, you need to get over getting fired and move on. You’re life doesn’t end there. There are many employers out there who will not think twice before hiring a fired person, especially if they see a talent in you somewhere. A lot of good people are fired and move on to successful careers. So can you.
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