3+1 Rule on What to Do When You Are Fired
Somebody close to my heart was just dismissed from their job. It is painful, demotivating and well…it creates that state of mind when you think: ‘I do not know what to do…’ When you lose your job, it is very stressful and always humiliating. Being side by side this person and feeling huge empathy for them, made me think about: What is the best advice I could give them? And what would I do? Here are my thoughts.
In a nutshell, this dismissal was quick and the employer was definitely not the most fair in many aspects. So this is a typical situation when you desperately want to leave the workplace which is not good for you, you are working on it, but your employer is just quicker. Hands up who was in such situation in past.
This is happening quite often, because when you hate your job, you kind of show it and this affects your performance. Always! So very soon this can lead to quick dismissal, which you kind of prayed for, because you just hated that job. You do not have to spend time there again, so it is indeed relieving. On the other hand, quick dismissal from side of employer puts you into a lot of trouble:
- To be able to find a job and keep it is important for your survival. This creates a lot of pressure, because you have to quickly sort out your financial situation.
- Unless you are on your own, this also affects your partner or family, which makes it even more stressful.
- And on top of that, you will need to find the way, how to explain employer’s dismissal (which in fact happened for a reason) to other potential employers.
Let me now comment on these 3 points and provide some useful advice. Here is my 3+1 rule on what to do when you are fired.
Rule #1: Have a plan!
If the dismissal happened really quickly, you cannot afford to wait for some miracle to happen. You are dismissed and you have bills to pay. At this stage you will feel enormous almost unhuman pressure. And fear. Do not be so hard on yourself. It is natural to be afraid in such situation. You have a lot at stake. But…never let the fear to paralyze you. Create a plan which will help you to go the right direction (towards a new job, of course). And importantly – your plan will keep you busy. At this stage your worst enemy is a lot of free time. When we have a lot of time, we all have tendency to think too much and procrastinate. This is not the time for procrastination. You need to be able to do concrete steps which will get you closer to your next job. Otherwise, the pressure won’t go away.
Rule #2: Talk to your close ones
If you are on your own, this situation will affect only your wellbeing, so you know this is all you have to focus on. But if you have a partner or family which partly or fully relies on your income, the situation is different. It would be a bit weird if you did not care about them as well. You may feel natural pressure and maybe you will even feel embarrassed in front of you partner. Some perceive this as their personal failure. Talk to your close ones and explain them how you feel. Ask them for help. People who are closest to you are the best source of emotional support. Moreover, some of them might be able to help you with new job offers. Even if it is just a short term job, this might be an important boost of energy which you need in this hard time.
Rule #3: Be honest and do not badmouth your employer
I already published an article on topic of badmouthing here. So read it through and think twice before you decide to spread some negative comments about your former employer. There are even some legal consequences which may surprise you. I know you might be very angry and feel this is unfair. I get it. But you won’t get anywhere if you badmouth your previous employer on social media or during interview for your next job. Remember, they dismissed you lawfully (employers are legally obliged and they cannot fire you without reason unless you are in a trial period). Most probably you did something which gave them the right reason to fire you (if not, talk to your lawyer).
You have in front of you a difficult situation. When you are introducing yourself to a new potential employer, they will sooner or later ask you: ‘So why did you leave your previous job?’ Be honest and prepare a truthful story about your departure from your former job. You may even expect them that they reach your former employer for feedback. If you lie or just badmouth them without showing any self-reflection, it is not gonna look very positive. What will definitely help you in such situation are positive references. If you are saying that you are a good fella and it was just the employer who did not appreciate you, then you must be able to prove it. Do you have some satisfied clients or co-workers who would be willing to provide you positive comments on your work? Get them on board!
And here is my extra rule: Use the time for self-reflection
If you are in a position when you cannot rely on any positive references, then it is the time for some self-reflection. We sometimes feel sorry for ourselves. We all have such weak times, but there has to be some balance. At some point you have to put yourself together and do the hard work. Your former employer might have been unfair, but if you turned yourself into a pitiful co-worker who stopped bringing any value to their clients and the team, do not be surprised that nobody would be willing to help you with references. You just let it go too far.
I’m aware that many of you have horrible bosses and I feel very sorry for you, because this influences your entire life. You may even have other difficult situations in your personal life. But put yourself together, find your inner motivation and mind your attitude. I wrote about it here. Self-reflect what has happened so far and summarize for yourself which things or events you can influence and which you cannot change at all. That’s how I do it and it helps me to focus on what I have in my power and my own attitude. Life is much easier that way.
I wish all of you are successful in such hard times and get the best out of it!
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