Career Advice

What To Do When You Get Fired?

Let’s face it, being fired stinks. Not only do you have to worry about where your next pay check will come from, but you also have to contend with a bruised ego.   But all doesn’t have to be lost.  You can learn from being fired and take that knowledge with you to your next job.

“When you get fired, the most important thing is to really learn from the experience and learn more about yourself,” says career strategist Nicole Darling. “When you get let go, always ask the question: What can I take away from this?”

For many of us, when we lose our job, whether it’s because of poor performance or downsizing, our immediate reaction is to get defensive and blame everybody else.  Doing that may make you feel better, but it’s not going to improve your situation.  Making a concerted effort to gain from the ordeal will.

Look within

The first way to learn from your firing is to take a step back and look at the situation in an unemotional and unbiased way. Did you do your job correctly, were you always on time, and did you follow instructions are some of the things you need to ask yourself. Also how did you feel about the job in general? Was it something you were passionate about or was it just a means to a paycheck. Being self -reflective will help you as you search for your new job.

“If you weren’t performing well in the last job, you don’t want to put yourself in another position where your best skills are not being utilized,” says Darling. “Take some time to ask yourself what did I like about the job, and what did I dislike about it. What part of the job were you really good at and what part did you struggle with.”

Keeping a positive attitude during the process is also important. Always remember that you aren’t the first person to get fired nor will you be the last. Many very successful people were fired at one point or another and went on to have great careers.

According to Willie Jolley, a motivational speaker and author of Turn Setbacks into Greenbacks, it’s extremely critical to stay clam even though you’ll have that “kicked in the gut” feeling. “You can’t panic. You have to stop, look at what you learned and what you can do to put yourself in a better position,” says Jolley.

Get feedback

When your boss calls you into the office to fire you, try not to get defensive and react in anger, instead use the opportunity to get some feedback. Some bosses aren’t willing to give that kind of input because of the fear of lawsuits but hopefully your company has an exit interview process where you may be able to glean some information as to why you were canned.  Talk to co-workers to get their perspective on what you could have done differently.

How you leave the job matters too. You don’t want to yell or scream or sulk out of the office. After all, you never know when you will run into that person in the future. “You need to be open minded and stay positive because sometimes how you end the relationship impacts the next relationship with them,” says Jolley. “You don’t want to burn bridges.”

Be honest on interviews

When interviewing for a new job, it never looks great to be fired, but worse is lying about it. Darling says to use words like terminated or let go instead of fired.  She says to give a quick reason why and explain what you got out of the situation. Keep it positive and try to move on quickly.

“If you try to dodge it or change your story people tend to get suspicious,” says Darling. “The best approach is to be honest and show that you learned from the experience.”