What To Do When You Get Fired

Okay, deep breath…it happened.  You get laid off.  Yes, it stinks.

You’re not alone.  In fact, as of the end of September, you joined 749,999 other Americans who lost their jobs this year.

But just because you get laid off doesn’t mean you have to get laid out.  Life isn’t over.  In fact, almost all of us know someone who ended up in a position they liked even better after losing a job.  With the right approach, that can be you. 

Here are five suggestions for moving on to something better:

  1. Lean on your network.  Family, friends — who makes you feel good?  This is the time to surround yourself with support.
  2. Say good-bye nicely.  Send an email or hand-written note with your new contact information to those with whom you worked.  Try to include a positive point or two about your time with the organization.
  3. Do something good for yourself every single day.  You’re hurting and you’re going to have to do things you may not particularly enjoy — perhaps cutting back on expenses and going through all of the administrative work involved in seeking employment.  That’s why it’s really important to plan something for yourself every day that you enjoy and can anticipate.  It may be as simple as spending 30 minutes reading a novel.  Or working out.  Take care of yourself so you have the energy to do the other things that might not feel so good.
  4. Never badmouth your former employer.  Resist the temptation of complaining about how bad things had become or the unfairness of the decisions that were made.  Take the high road and if you need to vent, count on that support network in Tip 1 above.
  5. Tell everyone you’re looking for a new position and I mean EVERYONE.  You never know from where a job lead might come.  Think outside of your professional network and talk about your job search with neighbors and acquaintances.  They just might “know someone who knows someone” that leads to your next chapter.

This is the third of four guest posts by Jenny Schade, president of JRS Consulting, who has interviewed more than 1,000 employees caught in turbulent organizational change. 

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