What to Do After You've Been Fired
Denene Brox | HotJobs
“The experience of being fired from a job is high on the list of stressful life events that can happen to anyone over the course of their employment,” says Dr. Melodie Schaefer, executive director of The Chicago School, Southern California Counseling Centers.
So how do you manage the stress of being fired and get on the road to your next job? Here are some steps.
Don’t burn bridges
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Although you’re not leaving the company under the best circumstances, how you leave can affect your success down the line.
“It can be awkward for colleagues to say good-bye to a fired employee, so don’t bother going from cubicle to cubicle to announce your departure,” advises Jeffery Cohen, the author of “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Recession-Proof Careers.” “Simply call your closest friends at work that evening to explain the news. They’ll understand your desire to be discreet, given the circumstances.”
After being fired, it’s not uncommon to feel anger toward the company and certain employees.
“Never bad mouth a former employee or employer online, offline, or via social media,” warns Cohen. “You never know when you’ll need a reference. That small sense of satisfaction from dissing a former company will ultimately be outweighed if it costs you a future job.”
Manage your emotions
While you may feel that your future is uncertain, it’s important to realize that getting fired is not the end of your career.
But keeping your emotions in check can be hard, which is why Schaefer recommends good self-care—for instance, by exercising and journaling to relieve stress after being fired.
One aspect of getting fired that can weigh heavily on your mind is how to relay the bad news to your friends and family, for fear of their reactions and judgments. Schaefer says that remaining forward-thinking is vital when talking about your termination.
“Say, ’I’d rather not have to dwell on the past and would really appreciate your input in helping me think about my next steps, now that I have a chance to consider making a change,’” she advises.
Pick your battles
While it’s common to feel anger toward your former employer, taking legal action is viable only in certain cases.
Paul Lopez, an employment attorney with the firm Tripp Scott, says that he regularly receives calls from people seeking legal advice after being fired.
“A lot of people are fired simply because they didn’t get along with their boss, and you can’t sue a company because your boss was a jerk,” says Lopez.
However, there are circumstances that warrant legal action—such civil-rights violations.