This is a guest article written by Natalie Wilson
Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer for many different business publications. With a range of knowledge in the business and insurance sector, she is an avid researcher and writer in the field. Having worked with a number of different businesses, Natalie is now a freelance writer looking to specialize in the topic.
The experience of being fired or going through a job termination is perhaps one of the most stressful and worrying events that can happen during your working life. Everyone wishes to be and feel safe in their job and career and if they were to leave, then most people would wish that it is on their terms, rather than their employers.
Unfortunately, getting fired does happen and whether it’s come as a shock or is something that you’ve been suspecting for a while, then you are going to need a little help and support to get back on your chosen career path. Here are 5 things to do if you have just been fired and how you can get the most out of your situation.
1. Don’t Burn Your Bridges
Whilst you may not be leaving the company under the most ideal circumstances, how you leave your job can have an effect on your future successes down the line. It can be extremely awkward and uncomfortable for colleagues to say goodbye to an employee who has been fired, so avoid going from person to person announcing your departure in the time following the news.
Simply call your closest work friends that evening and explain the news. They will, hopefully, respect and understand your wishes to be discreet, given the situation.
After being fired, it isn’t uncommon to feel anger or frustration towards certain employees or the company, but you should never publicly bad-mouth a former employee or employer, especially online.
You never know when you may need a reference and that short-lived satisfaction you got from slating a former company or employee will be outweighed should it cost you a job.
2. Keep Your Emotions In Check
Whilst you might think that your future is bleak and uncertain, it is vital that you remember that being fired is not the end of your career. Keeping your emotions in check, however, can be difficult. Especially if you had invested a lot into your role.
One aspect that people fear the most after being fired is having to tell family and friends for fear of judgment and reactions. Remaining positive and forward-thinking is important when it comes to talking about your job termination. Avoid dwelling on the past and ask for input from your closest friends and family members regarding your next step.
3. Pick The Right Battles
While it is common to feel anger towards your former employer, taking legal action is only advisable for certain cases. A lot of people, simply put, are fired because they don’t get along with their boss or employees and you cannot file a lawsuit against a company just because of a bad relationship.
There are, however, some circumstances which do warrant legal action, such as civil-rights violations.
No one can be fired because of their age, race, sex, disability or national origin.
If there is a manager who is prejudiced against someone in these classes and then fires them, then this is actionable. If you are thinking of using your previous employer, then unless you have a solid case then you are unlikely to get anywhere.
The best advice is to let it go, as hard as it may be, and start afresh. If you are looking to take legal action against a former employer, then the best thing to do is contact local lawyers or solicitors who specialize in employment issues. Gorvins and Citizens Advice are great services to turn to when you are in need of employment advice, especially if they contain legal worries.
4. Start Over
When you’ve been fired, it’s vital that you take some time out to emotionally heal and get over the anger of being fired. Whilst you might want to get straight into the job hunt in the days following, it won’t do harm to take time out and just relax. A lot of people get into a rut of not feeling good enough, especially if they just apply for job after job without thinking. Take some time to reflect on what you really want from a job and what you want to do moving forward.
Make your bad time a good opportunity. Ask yourself if you were in the right position, if you felt undervalued or if you want to completely rethink your career path.
A good way to move forward is to get a friend to help you outline your previous accomplishments and rebrand yourself ready for a new job hunt.
Stress what you have learned in the past and frame your answers so that you can let interviewers know that you see this new opportunity as a way to achieve the ultimate career objectives.
When you get invited to job interviews, have a good grasp on the fact as to why you were fired and when asked why you left your last job, your answer should be as concise, true and positive as possible. Don’t start your resume cover letter or interview with bad news, as they’ll soon get round to asking why you left your previous job. Try the tell the truth in less than 20 seconds.
In interviews, the key to explaining why you were fired is to not make it about you. Anything from “the new boss bringing in his own team” to “the entire department was being downsized” is much better than admitting that you lost your job due to your performance.
5. Prepare To Move On
Finding a new job may not come easily to you, particularly if your chosen job field is highly competitive. When it comes to searching for a new job, it’s very important to forget about what has previously happened and to move on. Maintain your focus and keep a positive mindset, particularly when you go for an interview.
You may even want to enlist the help of a recruitment agency or network with people within your field on social media, such as Linkedin. These people will keep an eye open for jobs that you may be suited to and let you know or even put a good word in for you. Do not be discouraged if you don’t hear back after an interview or don’t get the job, there are plenty more out there. You can view the interview process as practice runs to iron out any creases in your CV, especially if you were in your previous job for a long length of time. Your dream job will come to you in time.
The thing to remember after being fired is that this isn’t a permanent outcome. Losing your job doesn’t mean that your career has ended and, in fact, many people learn valuable lessons from the experience of being fired and come back stronger. A lot of us get our self-worth and value from our jobs, so it is understandable to be upset and emotional following a job termination. You may ask yourself a lot of questions in the weeks following, such as what you did wrong or if you were good enough. This is perfectly reasonable and is something that you need to deal with.
Taking time out and preparing yourself for the job hunt ahead is a huge step in overcoming this. Take a few days out to reset, recharge and figure out where you want to be in your career. Looking for a job can often feel like full-time work, so being rested beforehand will help immensely. Get your CV sorted, arrange your references and recommendations and set up a professional Linkedin account where you can sell yourself. If you want further professional advice, seek the help of a professional resume writing service, as they will be able to specially craft your CV to fit your experience and preferred career path.