Getting Fired: Things To Do When You Lose Your Job

Updated: February 18, 2021

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. It could be that 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 to think about, but it really helps to be prepared when it happens. It to a friend months ago, it happened to a neighbor last week, 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 to get into the game again.

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 Kubler-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 a 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 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.

Evaluate yourself.

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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11 comments

  1. Great post Fitz. I also suggest updating your online profiles right away and let friends know that you are available. The sooner one can move forward and explore new opportunities, the better also.

  2. This is so timely. I guess the key is to really be prepared and find a means to replace your earned income now, no procrastination please as you have said, and the rest of your post puts a plan of action for this. Just like in the Cashflow 101 game by Robert Kiyosaki, accumulating enough passive income generating assets will not affect one so much when downsized and one must have this goal in real life and act upon it.

  3. @Janette
    I agree, update your online profiles! Thanks for the additional tip.

    Which made me think that one should also “Google” oneself and evaluate one’s online profiles. Employers can do a check on you online and you better make sure that you have no information or profile online that would affect you negatively.

    @Jay
    Yes, multiple streams of income (both active and passive) is the key to financial security during these difficult times.

  4. Very timely 🙂

    As of now, I am exploring the world of problogging and slowly venturing into a number of niche blogging. I am also exploring my other interest which is scriptwriting.

    Looking for a job is very hard these days, but it doesn’t mean that you have no hope of getting one again. Think of ways on how to earn and be happy like Fitz! weee 😀

  5. Nice and useful article. Keep up the great work. I agree, let us turn every moment of our life into great opportunities. – Problem is a thing that should be indulge as an opportunity.

  6. I like your post. Just got hired on new job. Ayoko pang maranasan na masisante. Kaya after being burned out of my 2 year old job, nagresign na lang ako. Thank God that may opportunity agad.

  7. Losing a job can indeed be tough but people with a positive mindset moves on and ultimately find a better job than the ones they used to have.

  8. My husband recently lost his job and it’s been 1.5 months. At first he was kinda sad but he said that after it had sinked in, he’s over it. I am glad that he has a good disposition and he thinks of it positively. Since I am a homemaker, I am thinking of ways on how to earn again. I just don’t know if I will still be hired because I am in my mid-40’s. I sometimes ask myself why I retired more than 10 years ago, maybe if I am still working right now, it would not be hard to accept it. My husband’s officemate lost his job too and it has been over a year and he hasn’t found a job yet. I sometimes ask myself, what if the same fate would happen to my husband. What will we do if our funds run out? We are in our forties and it’s harder for us to find a job.

    Please give me some advise.

  9. Strive to make yourself so valuable to any employer that they will always be thinking twice about parting ways with you. When you are young, maximize your education and never stop learning.

    I love to joke with people that: ” you can’t fire me, I am retired.” This is partially true. I drew my US Social Security very early at a reduced rate witch freed up my time to work on my option selling (inside my IRA accounts) at night time here in the Philippines. I wake up to trade the US stock & options markets witch open at 9:30 AM EST in the US. Yes, it is my night job, I love it and will do this until the brain matter turns to mush. I CAN NOT be fired and only a total loss of capital can end the fun!

    I have often commented on this blog about my Beautiful Bride’s occupation as a academic writer. Fitz has a high concentration of likeminded folks who earn as freelancers. My wife is well educated with three college degrees. She earned a degree in psychology and then, as a double major, earned a nursing degree in the AM at one school and across the road at a different college she earned a law degree in the PM. She finished up work on both degrees within a few months of each other. She is currently working on a degree in education.

    Since our marriage four and a half years ago, I witnessed many changes to my Wife’s industry. New writers are often treated very badly by some companies. Many companies take the “customer is always right” position way too far. These days, many clients really do not understand what their assignment is. They send a request for a paper and ask for revision after revision witch is generally provided for no extra charge. There used be a limit on how much extra work will be provided and companies used to demand additional payments for a writer who is basically creating a second or third brand new paper. Some companies are now trying to pass this off on the writers to keep nasty clients happy. These hardworking individuals doing the work wind up earning little to nothing after multiple revisions & rewrites.

    What I wrote above is the reason I say be the very best you can be. My wife has walked away from several companies that started out great and offered very good rates. She has multiple specialties beyond her degrees. Many companies do not, for example accept any work that needs multiple regression. My Bride has actually been contacted by several companies after she left asking (actually begging!) for her to take these assignments. For over two decades, academic writing has been her bread & butter even though we now own local business ventures earning way in excess of what she earns writing. My wife always says that writing is her passion and that academic writing is like being paid to stay in school because of the amount of research she does on new topics.

    Beautiful Bride recently signed on with a wonderful company that is proud to state that they support their writers as far as possible. After few weeks, a clients did try to pull off getting their paper completely rewritten to an extant that the original work and the new paper were in no way even close. Her new company pointed this out and told the client that they would need to pay for a new paper if they insist on what they now wanted. The client agreed and paid the tab! See, good companies to work with are out there, you need to experiment and try them out.

    My wife’s advise to new writers is always produce your very best, original work. Show your worth right out of the gate. You may develop a following of clients after a short time who will repeatedly request YOU. They likely will not know your name, only a writer ID number but they like your work and will ask for you again and again. This is how you build your credibility and move up the rate scale rapidly. Also, develop those specialized skills like multiple regression as this will make you even MORE in demand.

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