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What to Do if You're Fired


Getting fired or terminated from your job happens to nearly everyone at some point or another in his or her career. Though the fallout from losing a job can have huge ramifications, it's best to not dwell on negativity and address the issue quickly by focusing on the positive. Every cloud has a silver lining and though losing a job can be downright terrifying, choosing to not let your termination get you down is the key to future success. Rather than focusing on losing a job, focus confidently on weathering the setback and finding a new source of employment perhaps better suited to your lifestyle and abilities. Don't let your past termination affect or hinder your future prospects. Getting fired is not an indictment of your professional skills, personal attributes, or personality characteristics. As its been said before, as one door closes, many others open. Here is What To Do If You're Fired:

1. Exorcise your emotions.

Privately wallow, cry, yell, punch things, and do whatever it takes to exorcise your negative emotions and residual anger stemming from losing your job. Work through all of the unpleasant feelings regarding the termination and free yourself from the experience. Do not bash or insult your former boss or former source of employment as it could hinder your future prospects. Steel yourself in the positives, like your skills, educational background, or your accomplishments, and let the rest go. Focusing on your future and leaving behind lingering doubt, feelings of failure, and anger will better secure your future and increase your personal value.

2. Go to an unemployment office or career counselor.

Consider the reasons for your termination and get to State Unemployment Office or career counselor as soon as you can. Depending on the legal standpoint of your termination, you may be able to file a wrongful termination lawsuit or be eligible for unemployment benefits. Even if you may not be eligible for a potential lawsuit or unemployment benefits, many State agencies are valuable resources for finding financial assistance, legal representation, or a new career when faced with the loss of employment. Additionally, the benefits of finding a career counselor will open up doors to prospective educational programs or future career opportunities.

3. Perfect your resume.

Carefully construct or update your resume and craft cover letters for each potential employer without mentioning you were fired. Focus on the basics: your accomplishments, education, and reasons why you are qualified for a potential job. Don't be negative or dishonest in the application process as a simple "job ended" or "position terminated" will suffice. Unless a potential employer directly asks if you were fired there's no need to mention your termination. If an interviewer does ask why you were fired, be honest regarding the reasons for your dismissal. Your future unemployment benefits and job could qualify for another dismissal at any time if you skew information on your application or do not truthfully tell why you were let go.

4. Prepare the answer to "Why did you leave your last job?"

The interview process often causes tremendous anxiety and it is best to be prepared to answer the most difficult questions. When posed with the inevitable "Why did you leave your last job?," be truthful, direct, and neutral. Explain that due to downsizing or mergers your position was eliminated and move the conversation forward. If you were fired for misconduct, be certain to explain that you learned from your mistakes and benefited from the experience - despite how miserable the situation may have been. Practice answering the question repeatedly to effectively convey how the negative of the situation became positive and so you may confidently answer the question without hesitation. Also tell the truth, stick to one explanation, and be humble. We all make mistakes, to err is human.

5. Cut and reduce expenses.

Life gets very difficult without a source of income very, very quickly. While searching for a job, drastically cut and reduce expenses. Forgo eating out and prepare simple, inexpensive meals at home. Walk instead of drive to places nearby for errands, food shopping, etc. Locate free entertainment from the library and cancel your cable. Invite your friends over rather than go out. Participate in free outdoor activities like hiking, biking, etc. Don't spend another dollar toward anything non-essential unless you can eat it. Additionally, invest some of your free time in something rewarding like volunteering within a hospital, animal shelter, or food drive. Volunteering will not only help others whose situations are more unfortunate than your own but will also be perceived positively on your resume.

6. Mass email everyone you know.

Contact your former coworkers, college alumni, relatives, lawyer, hairdresser, pastor, and any or every other person you can think of. Everyone knows someone and perhaps just reaching out to people within your "network" could lead you to a potential employment opportunity or direct you to someone who may help you find a new job. There's no need to rehash the details of why you're not working, just be neutral and have faith in knowing that everyone has been precisely where you are. Most people will gladly help.

7. Take advantage of social media.

Set up profiles on Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and other social media sites. The connections you make in various social media outlets may lead you to a job. As an added bonus, reconnecting with people from your past, present, and possibly future, is generally a fun, pleasant, and rewarding experience.

8. Invest in yourself.


Take advantage of the down time not having a job provides. Do things you enjoy as you recover from the setback of losing your job. Read, spend time with friends and family you didn't have enough time for while you were working, catch up on sleep, exercise, enroll in a free online course, and focus on yourself as you source new employment opportunities. Refrain from any kind of self destructive activities, like negative thinking or excessive drinking, and use your unemployed status to the fullest advantage.

9. Rollover your 401K plan.

Resist the urge to cash in your 401K and take the time to rollover any of your 401K earnings. Directing the funds from one 401K to another requires a small amount of time, research, and planning. Be certain to find the best interest rates to rollover your 401K account into rather than cashing it out. Select a financial institution with superior customer service and the best interest rates to ensure your future retirement account is not only profitable but also meets your banking needs and long term financial goals.

10. Give your new job your best.

Chances are when you find the right employment opportunity, you'll be hired. Be certain to give your new job your best. Employers want employees who treat their jobs as careers, not just something they do because they have to earn a living. Be sure to work as hard (or as much as you can) and give your new job your personal best. It will most certainly pay off.

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