I heard the words. It happened, but I still can’t believe it…
“Sorry, we have to let you go.”
My brain went numb as my now former boss stood up from his chair and held out his hand for me to shake. His mouth was moving, but I could not hear what he was saying.
I think he said something along the lines of he ‘had the pleasure of working with me and if I needed anything, to contact him’… Really??
A security guard was waiting nearby for me with his hand on his gun to collect all my stuff from my desk so he could escort me out… So I wouldn’t try to attack anyone on the way out. Why am I all of a sudden being treated like a prison inmate; a criminal?
After 15 years of hard work, of me feeling like I spent half my life in this stupid place… now it’s over… just like that!
No more job security… at least not for now. What in the world am I going to tell my partner when I get home?
Life doesn’t go as planned sometimes does it? Your last job was humming along beautifully… and then BAM!… you’ve been fired.
While it is indeed beneficial to seriously reflect on how and why the job loss occurred, let’s not cry over spilled milk shall we?
NOW is the time to get up, dust yourself off and find a new (and hopefully better) place to work!
Your next move is crucial, and we’re here to help. If I had the points below in mind before I got fired, I probably would have been back to work quicker…
Read on to find out how to get back to work after losing a job.
If you keep the below 7 tips in mind, you’ll know exactly what to do
1. If possible…PLAN NOW BEFORE THE AX FALLS!
When a termination happens, you are angry and emotionally drained because you gave that job the best years of your life, right?
You may even be tempted to ‘take some time off for me’.
Think about this though: have you ever heard people say that when you HAVE a job it is easier to FIND a job?
That is a true statement. To be out of the job market for a long time means that when the time comes for a new opportunity, it will be harder for you to get back to work.
Many times though, and some may disagree with me here… but a firing usually does not always come as a total surprise.
So when you see the ‘writing on the wall’, take heed to any warning signs you see and start your job search as soon as possible.
It’s better to act quickly now before a total surprise attack happens.
2. Discuss and find solace with a trusted work friend
A firing can have you seeing red and it may be hard to keep your emotions in check.
However, now is NOT the time to vent your rage about your former employer’s mistreatment on social media. This may come back to bite you in the future, and you certainly do not want to burn any bridges right now.
Do it privately if you have to talk with anyone at all. Find a trustworthy friend or friend you worked with to share your story, share your thoughts with them. They may be able to point out any things you may have missed.
Make sure to chat with them about any future possibilities!
They may have heard about another position at another company and that can be very helpful to you right now.
Remember to not burn any bridges, because you might have to take that bridge to your next job.
3. Utilize Your Network.
It is wise before the hard times come, to have already worked on building your network of contacts and connections. (look for an article coming soon on how to expertly build your network!)
It is important to build goodwill with people within your profession and within your circles of influence whether you have lost a job, have been fired or just want a fresh start.
It is even more important that you touch these connections and let them know that you are looking for something different before the firing day has come!
4. What to say when someone asks “Why don’t you work there anymore?”
Be ready with some sort of short statement— but no one needs or asks for all the gory details.
Have you ever seen someone’s face when you’re going through a long and drawn out explanation as to why you got fired?
Trust me, their facial expression is screaming: ‘I didn’t ask for all that!’.
Employees always lose jobs. It happens every day and for a number of reasons. Companies go through restructuring and downsizing on a regular basis.
There is no rule stipulating that all the details for the job loss must be provided.
It is usually enough explanation simply to state that the company has reduced its size, eliminated your role or went through a re-adjustment period with its employees.
And, because of fear of legal retribution, be aware that your former company is not likely to share any details.
So rest easy. If anyone calls your former company demanding to know the real reason you were fired, they legally are not supposed to divulge this information.
We have an upcoming article we’re presently writing on how to get to really give some good answers to the question when an interviewer asks you “So why did you leave your last place of employment?”
5. Shift your entire mindset to positivity ONLY
Losing a job can be personally and professionally devastating… but it does not have to CONTINUE that way.
Do NOT let yourself descend into a pit of depression and despair!
Use this time to change your thinking and read books that change your outlook.
Although it can be difficult to maintain this positivity, remember that you are not the only one who has been fired or the last one.
Instead, consider how your future is shaped by this experience and what an example of resilience you can share.
Keep your mind busy by discovering and building a new skill you haven’t had the time to work on.
6. Surround yourself with positive people.
Sometimes you may not have been the only one fired or laid off from the same company.
It’s a good thing if you want to share best practices or successes in your search for new jobs. Or maybe you want to share new leads you know of with your former colleagues.
Note that it’s a totally different situation altogether if they decide to meet and have a complaint session about how the company dismissed or managed its employees badly.
Connect to positive people who look to the future and want to improve themselves.
You will get dragged down still further if you constantly surround yourself with negativity and remember this not good for you in the long run.
Volunteering will help you get off the couch and get involved with local organizations to enhance your skills.
Do you keep hearing the mantra ‘give back to the community’? Well now’s your chance to do so. You also build relationships with members of community organizations.
Try to find something that uses your previous job’s skills. This allows you to fill up your new free time, help touch other people’s lives.
You never know, you may be able to meet others who can lead you to a new job.
8. Find a LinkedIn Good Samaritan
You were probably fired by one person who did not appreciate you. The good news is that likely many other people that know and appreciate your expertise, respect you as a colleague, and recognize your superb work ethic.
Ask your connections on LinkedIn for a critique or positive feedback about you to assist you in boosting your presence in the social media.
Remember to be specific though. You need more than just someone to say nice stuff about you.
The following is an example of a specific request:
“Steve! Hi! You might have heard that I’m searching for a new job. To secure my new potential role, I want to improve my LinkedIn profile. I enjoyed working with you in the past on (insert project you worked on together here) and would love it if you would write some positive expressions as a recommendation for LinkedIn regarding my skills. Just let me know, I am more than happy to do the same for you. Please let me know if you can assist with this? Thanks!
When the reader sees exactly what you want, they don’t have to guess and will more than likely oblige your sincere request to help you out. It doesn’t hurt to ask!
If you need more information on how to approach people (and who to approach) for suggestions, we have a blog post coming soon on how to get great LinkedIn Recommendations. Look for it..!
9. Searching for a new job takes work. Act like it!
The search for a new job can be a lot of work (especially in a highly competitive job market area) and you should look at it this way if you want to find a position quickly.
Don’t shy away from work! Record everything, so that you know your progress and can measure it. Create a list of the positions you have applied for, create a table to record the responses to your application, and maintain a folder so you know who responded to your request for a testimonial.
Also, include in these data lists any dates of contact and a follow-up timetable.
It can be difficult to get a job after being fired. You will be well on your way to a new job opportunity, however, by following the above tips and remaining positive.