So You’ve Been Fired: 5 Ways to Bounce Back
I might be naive, but I kind of thought that people who get fired usually did at least a little something that may have merited firing. I’ve always been sure that there are exceptions, but generally, that’s how I thought. Then two good friends of mine got fired. I had worked with both of them and knew they were incredible. They weren’t weak links, jerks, or even disorganized. The fact is that they had awful bosses who saw integrity as a liability for covering up unethical decisions and organizational dysfunction.
Talking with my friends shortly after the unfortunate events, I saw two different scenarios. One, I could tell, felt self-conscious, like she’d done something wrong. Upset, hopeless, and worried about the future, she was unsure of what to do next. The other was more emboldened by the event, knowing that she was in the right, and glad that her involvement with the company was over.
My question was how do you move forward after being fired? What do you do?
- Stay calm. Don’t make any rash decisions. It might seem like a good idea to flip over a desk on your way out (and it sounds so damned satisfying), but refrain. It’s generally a pretty good rule to follow that you calm down before acting on anything, and this is certainly no exception.
- Weigh your options. Can you file for unemployment until you get back on your feet? Do you have other sources of income? Would this be a good time to go back to school? It’s a good idea to take a deep breath and think about what exactly you can do, and then make the best choice from there.
- Get moving. Unless you don’t really need to get back to work (which seems like the rare scenario to me), get going on finding your next gig. If you’re not in real financial danger, I’d suggest not applying for anything too far below what you’ve been doing. I’ve been there, and it’s uncomfortable to get a low-level job, and then get better offers and have to quit after a week (or in my case, two days). Other than that, start putting the word out and sending in resumes. The job market moves fast, and you need to jump back in.
- Don’t freak out. Chances are, you’re not going to end up living on the street. Even if you have to string together a few less-than-ideal positions, you can make it. You’re tough. Being optimistic can be better for you in interviews, too. If you’re throwing a pity party, it’s going to show.
- Learn from your experience. The lesson might simply be that now you know the signs of a terrible boss. Or maybe you really did something wrong and can admit it. Whatever it is, think it through and sit with it for a bit before moving on. We are the sum of our experiences, and now your sum is greater than it was before.
It sucks. It might be totally unfair, but there’s nothing you can do about it (unless you were wrongfully terminated). Besides, the best revenge is living well, so get back out there and be a success. Then, once you’re settled in your new (better) job, that’s when you can find a way to rub it in.