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If you’re reading this post, I want to first say I’m so very sorry. Getting fired from a job is not only a hit on your professional life, but also your personal life.
I was fired once after 6 months at a job that I moved across the country for. I was completely devastated and shocked as it came out of nowhere for me. Getting fired from the job made me feel insecure, worthless, and completely lost in life. I questioned my value, capabilities, and competencies.
I want you to know that getting fired from a job happens to way more people thank you think. Getting fired is not a career killer. You can move on from this and you can recover from this.
Take a breath and follow these steps for what to do after getting fired from a job.
5 Steps for what to do after getting fired from a job
Give yourself some time to accept what has just happened
Give yourself a day or even a week if you need to recover from the shock of getting fired from your job. Most people who get fired never see it coming. Getting fired from a job can be a significant trauma that you will need time to accept and cope.
This is the time to be easy on yourself. Treat yourself to some pampering to wallow before you need to get back on your feet. Take care of your mental health. You may even go through the 5 stages of grief.
Take this time to take care of yourself because once you do get back on your feet, you’ll hit the ground running.
When I was fired from my job, it made me depressed for at least a good month. I still have some trust issues now years later from being fired. It’s ok to have these feelings, you are human.
Apply for unemployment
Find out if you are qualified for unemployment insurance and apply for it ASAP. You could still be paid and receive an income to support yourself while you look for a new job.
Although unemployment insurance may not be as much as your previous salary, something is better than nothing!
Each State (United States) or Province (Canada) has different requirements for what you need to qualify for unemployment. In general, you would need to have worked for a certain period of time and have lost your employment through no fault of your own. Being fired does not necessarily disqualify you. You could be fired and still quality for unemployment if it was not a result of misconduct.
You even quality for unemployment if you had quit on your own for a just cause such as harassment, discrimination, or a dangerous working condition.
Reflect on why you were fired
After you’ve taken some time for self care to recover, be honest with yourself and reflect on why you were fired from your job. I’m not talking about being laid off – that is out of your control.
Why were you fired from your job?
Were you in a toxic work environment and had a horrible boss? If this is the case, then you should consider being fired as a blessing. I know it may not feel like it now, but once you get a new and better job, you will be grateful that this terrible thing has happened to you.
Or were you fired because of your performance? If you were fired because of your performance, why were you not performing well?
Are there factors in your personal life that is causing you to not be productive at work? If this is the case, work on addressing these issues in your personal life.
Are you in the wrong career path?
How can you do better?
Perhaps you’re the type of person that needs more support and guidance from a manager to do your job well and you were not receiving this at your job.
When I was fired from my job, I did not have great management. The organization was not run very well. There was no communication of my expectations and responsibilities, no performance reviews that they were unhappy with my work or that I was not doing well.
But I also had to admit that I was not very proactive at my job. I was not happy. I was passive and waited for my boss to tell me what to do. This is a lesson that I have learned from getting fired, which I do practice in my career now – to be proactive.
Now, I proactively ask for performance reviews. I ask for additional responsibilities or projects. I come up with my own projects if I see there is an unmet need.
Reflect on what you need to be a good worker and try to achieve it in your personal life or in your new job.
Getting fired from a job does NOT reflect your value. You ARE capable and competent. Do not let it affect your confidence in your future jobs.
Life is all about learning and getting fired from a job is definitely a lesson you can learn and grow from.
Think about how to address getting fired on your resume and job interview
When I got fired from my job, I was working at a start up company. In job interviews when I was asked why I left my old job, I stated that I was working at a start up company and start up companies are often volatile and often unsuccessful.
I was not technically lying – start up companies ARE unstable! I just did not flat-out volunteer information and tell them that I was fired.
Think about how you might address being fired from your job at your next job interview. They may or may not even ask why you left your last position, but if they do, you need to be prepared. You need to be creative.
Be honest, but give it a PR spin.
If you were fired for performance, you could say that the expectations did not align. It’s honest, to the point, with a PR spin.
Other general things you can say are:
- It didn’t align with my career aspirations
- The company was restructured
- Due to personal reasons, you’re exploring other opportunities
- The job was not a good fit
Start your job search process
Finding a new job is now your full-time job. The good news is that you now have experience, so you’re not starting from scratch. Yay!
The biggest hurdle to landing a job is not having experience, and that’s not you anymore!
I’m not saying you’ll find a job tomorrow. Finding a job can be a long and strenuous process. But you should have an easier time now than when you were trying to land your first job.
Related: How to get a job fast
Getting fired from a job may feel like the end of the world. Trust me, you will recover, and you will move on. Follow these 5 steps for what to do after getting fired from a job!