It often comes unexpectedly. Yesterday, you’re happily working inside your cubicle and the next day, your boss is telling you that you’re being laid off.
People lose their job for several reasons. As many as the terms employers use to tell you why they’re letting you go – your job performance is poor, the company is downsizing (or rightsizing), the business is cost cutting, making adjustments or reorganizing.
Getting fired from work is something we try not think about but it really helps to be prepared when it does happen. It happened to me once, it happened to a friend of mine months ago, and it could happen to you.
So what do you do when you receive such bad news? Here are some things that could help you bounce back to your feet and help you get back into the game.
Know the reason why you’re getting fired.
When your boss tells you the bad news, ask immediately for the reason. Chances are it’s not your fault, so don’t wallow in self-pity. If however, it is because of your poor work performance, then you’re probably not cut out for the job anyway. Don’t be hard on yourself and realize that you’re probably much better off working somewhere else or doing something you’re really good at.
Make a respectable exit.
Be calm. Resist showing anger in the office. Depending on the reason for your dismissal, ask your employer for a good reference and recommendation in your applications. Furthermore, don’t forget to ask the company if you’ll receive any compensation or severance pay. Lastly, remember to back up all your personal files from the company computer and leave behind all proprietary information and documents.
Move through the stages as quickly as possible.
Elisabeth Kübler-Ross believes that you’ll experience denial, anger, bargaining and depression before finally accepting your fate. Try to get your grief out of your system as soon as you can. Take a short time out to reflect, relax and refresh yourself mentally and physically. Communicate openly with your friends and family, they are your best support system during these difficult times.
Get financially smart.
Make a cash and asset inventory and build a sustainable budget. Lifestyle changes usually follow after losing a job so be prepared to lessen or eliminate unnecessary expenses. Your needs become top priority but don’t neglect your financial obligations. Call your creditors, explain your situation and ask for a possible adjustment or consideration with your payments. Lastly, if you have an emergency fund (which you should), then remember to use it wisely.
Keep the cashflow coming.
For starters, talk to the people who owe you money. Then consider exploring alternative income opportunities, working part-time or doing some freelance work. Stay productive and be proactive. Not only will it help financially, but doing so could possibly lead you to your next career opportunity. When a friend of mine lost his job as a system analyst, he took a sideline job as an assistant in a production house. Now, he has his own events management company.
Getting fired could be a sign that you need to take stock and evaluate the direction you’re going. Perhaps you’re at the tipping point of your life. Go deep and decide what you want to do next in your life. Do you want to stay in the same line of business or change industries? Are you going to find new employment, explore freelancing, start a business or go back to studying to acquire new skills?
Make an action plan.
Whatever you decide to do next, it’s important to make a plan and commit to it. Don’t succumb to laziness and procrastination. Write a to-do list and focus on accomplishing at least one task everyday. If you’ve decided to go back to the job market, then update your resume and strategize where and how you’ll find your next work. Call your contacts and inform them that you’re looking for employment. Network like crazy and market yourself.
Losing a job can happen to anyone. When this happens, you can either take it negatively and let it break you; or turn it into a positive and life-changing experience. It’s up to you to decide but I hope you choose the latter one.
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Photo courtesy of dopez
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