“Being fired was the best luck of my life. It made me stop and reflect. It was the birth of my life as a writer,” Jose Saramago, Portuguese Writer and Recipient of the Nobel Prize in Literature.
“I worked for American Harper’s Bazaar… they fired me. I recommend that you all get fired. It’s a great learning experience,” Anna Wintour, Vogue Editor-in-Chief
Nobody likes to hear those dreadful words, “You’re fired.” But believe us when we say that it has happened to the best of them. Some of the biggest names such as Steve Jobs, Oprah, Jane Fonda have got fired and still went on to be super successful. Once you get passed the humiliation, frustration, anger and depression, you will realise that there is a silver lining to this unfavourable situation as well. Got fired? Here is step by step guide on how to deal with it.
There are two major aspects (the professional and the emotional) that one needs to look into after getting fired.
The professional side of it…
Do not act on the spur of the moment
Your first reaction of getting the bad news would probably be the desire to hurl a book at your boss. But it is every important that you do not act in the spur of the moment as that will only create problems later. Just find your inner zen at that time and listen to what your boss/HR has to say.
Ask for the reason behind getting fired
Let there be no loose ends as to what happened and why it happened. Ask what was the real reason of getting fired, was it downsizing, your attitude, lack of skill set or bad people management skills? In this manner, you have a clear idea and know what attributes need to be worked on. And if it was for a reason that was beyond you, then you can take some solace out of that.
Find out what is the best deal you can get out of this situation
Most companies look at their employees as a business deal so there is no harm in you thinking of it in a similar manner. Don’t just leave the office in a hurried state, sit down and ask your boss about the severance packages and exit strategy. There are many cases where you are allowed to voluntarily quit. John Dsouza, Marketing Professional says, “When they were firing me, I asked them if it could look like I was resigning due to personal problems. They agreed. And in that way even though I knew the real situation, it was still better than getting outrightly fired.”
Pack your bags and leave without lingering about
Be professional about it, make your exit as quiet as possible. Pack your bags and leave without lingering about. The whole office does not need to know what happened. As for your close friends, you can call them up later during the day and tell them what happened.
Do not bad mouth the company or go blurting about it on social media
If you have a strong desire to vent out all of your emotions, take to the pen and paper instead of going on social media and publicly declaring your spite on social media. Not only will the news spread like wildfire, it will also show you in a bad light. It might come in the way of future companies hiring you too.
Always leave on a good note, even in your future companies, do not bad mouth your company or boss. It shows maturity from your side.
Because you are dealing with so much, it’s easy to fall into a state of inaction. Though, that is the last thing that you need to be doing at this point in time. In the book, ‘Fired to Hired: Bouncing Back from Job Loss to Get to Work Right Now’, Author Tory Johnson makes a poignant point stating, “Because giving up is not an option, make the decision – right now – to sharpen your skills and your attitude. The game has changed considerably. Job searching today isn’t what it was twenty or even two years ago. If you want to get hired, you must not only be a qualified candidate but also be an exceptional job seeker. Here is where most people fail.”
Be honest about your situation
While you do not have to announce that you got fired to your interviewer as soon as you meet him/her, it is important that you are honest with them in case the topic arises. In the book, Job Interviews for Dummies, Joyce Lain Kennedy suggests to keep it brief, honest, and moving. If the reason for getting fired wasn’t your fault, she proposes to explain that clearly. And in case it was, she advises to elaborate to the interviewer how you have learned and benefited from what has happened.
The emotional side of it
Come face to face with your emotions
Getting fired can open up a range of unpleasant emotions from anger to frustration and more. It is imperative that you take things the way they are and tend to your mental health. Do not live in denial and pretend that you have not been affected or put a lid on what you are feeling. This will only pile up the negative emotions leading to a major breakdown later. The first step of moving forward is to acknowledge and deal with what you are going through.
Take time to heal
Even if you start looking for a job right away, spare some moments to heal and recover from what you are going through. Do whatever gives you inner peace. Neha Agarwal shares her story, “When I got fired, I took a weekend trip to the quaint hill station of Panchgani. It was such a wonderful experience because I was relaxed, gained perspective on what I wanted and came back home refreshed. Needless to say, I nailed my next interview.”
Talk to people who have gone through something similar
Remember, you are not alone, as per an analysis by Techcircle, more than 10,000 employees have lost their jobs in the Indian startup ecosystem since August 2015 (and this is just the startups). Talk to people who have gone something similar. It can enable you to get perspective on what steps to take up next. If you do not know anybody, then you can always seek inspiration from role models who got fired. Remember, the biggest names in the industry from Oprah to Steve Jobs have got fired.
Talk to a counsellor
The scar of being fired might be more deep rooted than you think. Speaking to a counsellor can prove highly beneficial as it will help you deal with your emotions, make you overcome the stress caused by the office and ensure that you do not carry on your baggage to the next company.
Re-evaluate what you want out of life
Sometimes, we are so caught up in the rut of daily activities that we do not stop and think if what we really want out of our life and jobs. Getting fired gives you the gift of time to stop in your tracks and ponder about these things.
When Tina Rai, Journalist got fired from her job as a correspondent from an online website, she was despondent but did not let it mar her progress. “It was a moment of reckoning for me. I re-evaluated what I really wanted out of my career. I knew that my heart lied in print and not online. So I worked my way up slowly, started with small freelance assignments till I got a full-fledged job. It was the best thing that happened to me.”
Work on your shortcomings
If there was a specific reason why you were fired, or even if there wasn’t, now is the time to work on those shortcomings. Feel like your skills need an enhancement? Take up a course. Have an emotional problem? Tend to it. Rahul Welde, Software Engineer shares, “I was always a short-tempered guy who kept getting into trouble because of my outbursts. The last one cost me the job. So I went to a therapist and worked on my anger management issues. Not only did it transform my job scenario but my entire life as well.”
Divert your attention towards something fruitful
Divert your attention towards something fruitful rather than getting sucked into a vortex of self-pity and depression. This will not only make you more productive but improve your overall happiness quotient as well. It can be anything that makes you happy be it yoga or a pottery class.
Look forward to your journey ahead as it is not the end of the road
You can either look at your path ahead with a whole lot of trepidation and anxiety or you can think of it as an adventure packed with thrills and surprises that unfold along the way. As American Actor Ron Livingston once said, “It can be liberating to get fired because you realise the world doesn’t end. There’s other ways to make money, better jobs.”
Keep in mind that you are one among many who have got fired. It’s not only the situation but your attitude towards it that makes all the difference. Think of it as falling off from a cycle, you brush off the dust and move ahead!