Job loss may seem like the end of the world, but it doesn't define who you are as a person.
Fired, terminated, released: No matter the wording, it happens to the best of us. Life goes on, and we must pick up the pieces after a job loss. Getting fired from a job is as close to a physical ailment as career stress comes — but it doesn't have to be the end of the world.
Tempting as it may be to tell the world how unfair your former employer is, this isn't the time to fall apart. Have a good cry, drown your sorrows for one night, and then brush yourself off and take the next steps to a better career. Don't do anything rash. Instead, follow these tips on what to do after a job loss.
Don't use social media as a diary
Social media, especially Facebook, has changed from a communication platform to some people's personal microblogs and diaries. Don't give in to the urge to overshare; social media isn't the place to tell people your issues or complain about your boss.
Remember, future employers may be able to see what you post. Negative posts about former employers or getting fired from a job are red flags for hiring managers.
Pick up the phone and call someone instead. No email, text, direct message, or other electronic communication can replace verbal conversation.
Don't lose control
You should not — we repeat — you should not tell your supervisor what you've been holding back for years. If you go for the low blows, bridges burn and fall, colleagues lose respect for you, and those negative references start piling up pretty fast.
If you're given an end date, continue showing up for work on time and professionally attired. Fight the urge to be lazy and continue doing your job as if you were working for a promotion. Be dignified in all you do.
Hiding in your home after getting fired from a job with the drapes closed and Oprah playing on the TV may be a good for a few days, but don't drown yourself in pity long term. Get up and live.
Losing your job may feel embarrassing and painful, and it's natural for you to want to avoid interacting with others as you cope with this emotional roller coaster. Just don't let it overwhelm you. If the depression is too much to handle, see a counselor to help you cope. Remember this:
Grieve but don't give up.
Look for motivation and inspiration.
Ask for help from friends and family.
The truth will set you free, whereas a lie could cost you a job. Potential employers may ask why you left your previous job. Don't lie; tell them the truth instead. This may seem a little scary, but here are some strategies to prevent any negative impact after a job termination:
Explain your side of the story, without placing blame.
Take ownership of your mistake, if applicable.
Offer solutions to prevent future mistakes from happening again.
Seek a positive reference from your past company to negate any negative references.
Most companies are more interested in your qualifications than bad references and lost jobs. Unless you were criminally prosecuted or made a serious ethical breach, the lost job is not as bad as you think.
Don't lose faith
Looking for a new job is daunting. It may take a month (or longer) to even land an interview. And then, it may take several interviews before finding the right fit. Don't give up and become discouraged. Discouragement from a job loss can come off as low self-esteem in an interview.
Hiring managers pick up on those subtle emotions and make judgements on your abilities based on it. Preparation and dedication go a long way in keeping your faith, boosting confidence in yourself, and preventing depression and loss of motivation. Stay motivated by:
Setting a time and place to look for jobs.
Polishing your resume and practicing for interviews.
Know your rights
Depending on the circumstances preceding termination, you may receive termination papers that you'll be asked to sign. For example, you may receive termination papers that ask you to legally agree not to sue the company or agree to a non-compete clause.
Should you receive a document including something to this effect, it's important to take your time and not committ to signing until you have either consulted with a lawyer or feel fully confident in your understanding of the details of the document. Whether you choose to sign or not, always keep a copy of every document you sign.
Job loss doesn't define who you are
Getting fired from a job may seem like the end of the world, but it doesn't define who you are as a person. Use the experience to learn from your weaknesses, develop strategies to prevent history from repeating itself, and don't get hung up over the past. Sweep the dust under the carpet, move forward, and start your day fresh. Each day is a new beginning; there are more jobs out there waiting for you to conquer.
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