They fired you. It’s going to be okay, I promise. I know. I’ve been there. You will survive this. As if the termination isn’t jarring enough, you may have unanswerable questions. It’s awful, I know.
When it happened to me, the people with whom I worked, people I considered as friends, said nothing. It was radio silence. Don’t let it surprise you if you’re suffering the same isolation. People don’t know what to say because they have their own stuff going on.
In my case, it was the best thing that happened to me. I was able to regroup, get out there to get another job, which led to a bump in my lifestyle one year later. Two years after the fact it was a distant memory.
Right now your head is spinning with emotions and thoughts, so we’re gonna take you through some steps you must take to get your life organized. This is not going to be easy, but you can do this.
Step 1: Stop
It could also read “step 1: feel,” or “step 1: breathe,” but you might’ve stopped reading early if you saw either of those subheadings.
The first thing you need to do is stop long enough to collect yourself. Some of us would push past this important moment, missing some of the opportunities we can’t yet see.
Even if you’re not a sensitive person, you should stop for a minute. There will be plenty of time to run, but in a straight line after you’ve taken the time to collect yourself.
If feelings come up, fine. If it’s thoughts, those are good too. Take some time to write all those feelings and thoughts down.
The sooner you put them on paper, the sooner they stop cluttering your head.
Step 2: Own
This one is gonna hurt. Your first instinct will be to blame everybody and everything but yourself.
You know what? You’re right. It was unfair circumstances. That person who had it out for you? They did have it out for you.
You can run this one past all your friends and family, gaining all the validation you need to hear about how it wasn’t your fault. Congratulations. You’ve just made yourself a victim. Don’t do that.
Instead, find what you can own. What could you have done instead? What will you do going forward in your next job? Start small, but try to own it all.
The more you can own, the more you believe you were in control.
Ownership, albeit painful, is power. You want everything to be your fault. That means you were in control the whole time, but you made some bad choices.
Same as step one, write these things down. It will make the next part much easier.
Step 3: Forgive
If you’ve done your homework, this one is much easier. There are two people you must let go, not for them, but for you. The first one is yourself. The second person is everyone who is not you.
The first one is pretty easy, once you take possession of fault. You can spin your wheels for months being mad at yourself for whatever mistake you made.
You won’t be able to move forward until you accept that you’re human. We make mistakes. Every error we make refines us.
With other people, you will never forgive anyone that blame for your circumstances. Taking fault means there is nothing to forgive from anyone else.
You don’t need to let them know you’ve forgiven them. That’s a cheap move to demonstrate you don’t believe things were your fault. Keep it to yourself.
Write it down if it helps. (Of course it does.)
Step 4: Trim
Everyone wants to jump ahead to this step. Getting here without the first three is a mistake. All your work on step four rests on your ability to get through those steps first.
You need to find more work, but first, you need to drop some excess weight. No, not your body fat, we’re talking about relationships and expenses that are weighing you down.
It’s not uncommon for trauma to call many aspects of your life onto the table. You may question everything, from relationships to the amount you drink.
Put a pause on any of it that isn’t a positive influence on your wellbeing. You’ve gotta have a roof over your head, food on the table and the means to maintain your health.
Maybe for now you stop drinking or slow down, stop hanging out with people who influence you to spend time or money you don’t have.
It’s not their fault, it’s yours, but you can admit you lack the strength to make the right decisions when you’re around those friends.
Instead, hang out with people who are a positive influence on your life.
Step 5: Regroup
This is where hanging with the right people helps. You need to make some logistic moves, like cleaning up your resume. If you have the means, work with someone professional.
There are resume services available on online resources, but someone who is working as a professional will be your best resource, especially if that person is working in your field.
Consider that you may need to find some interview clothes. That could be difficult without money coming in. You don’t have to rock Armani in your interviews, but don’t let something as small as a pressed shirt keep you from getting your shot.
Borrow a shirt to save money, but make sure it fits you. With most interviews, you want to present a clean and sensible look, not too serious, but not too laid back. Go for the goldilocks middle.
Your professional friend can help you determine that just right look. Don’t forget to wear a watch.
Step 6: Action
Today’s professional atmosphere is at your fingertips. Most employers have online application processes in place, but nothing beats a face to face meeting.
That doesn’t mean you should push your way into the face of your would-be employer, especially if they have an online submission process in place.
A good way to know how much they want to see you is to call them or email them to ask: how and when may I best reach you?
Regardless of how you start the ball rolling with any opportunity, at some point, you will need to go face to face. Have that outfit pressed and ready beforehand.
This step is a numbers game. You may send fifty resumes to get ten interviews and one good shot. Open as many doors as you can.
You might be wondering how to handle it when they ask about your old job. That is a whole ‘nother blog, but know that you don’t have to admit to any termination.
That doesn’t mean you should lie, but you can say that you prefer not to discuss the circumstances of that termination.
If you have the confidence, a bold move would be to be transparent. Admit that you made some mistakes. Identify them. Talk about what you will do next time to make the outcome different.
That will impress an interviewer more than anything.