Got Fired? 6 Steps You Should Take Immediately
Getting fired is never fun, but it’s just a reality of working in a cutthroat business world. If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been terminated from your job, there are a few very specific steps you should take in the hours and days after.
Fired: A 6-Step Response Strategy
If you’ve recently lost your job – or simply want to prepare for what should be done if you ever do lose your job – the following response strategy will ensure you land on your feet.
- Ask for a Complete Explanation
Begin by asking your employer for an explanation for why you’re being fired. This is a difficult conversation to have, but it has to be done. Take a deep breath and say something like, “That’s really disappointing to hear. Can you give me some more details for my termination?”
Most employers are going to be very careful with what they say. They’ll stick to some sort of boilerplate explanation and leave it at that. Other employers will start rambling. Either way, you’ll learn a lot. This information can be used to help you in future job searches. It could also illuminate a potentially illegal cause of termination. For this reason, it’s important to document everything that’s said.
- Watch What You Say
Be careful what you say after being notified of your termination. As emotional as it can be, force yourself to calm down and take a long-term view. Lashing out, verbally abusing your employer, or saying damaging things will only make the situation worse. Leaving on good terms will give you the best chance of quickly moving forward.
- Consult a Wrongful Termination Lawyer
If you suspect that you’ve been fired without cause, you could have a claim against your (former) employer. Consult with a wrongful termination lawyer to understand your rights. An experienced attorney will ask you questions about your story and help unpack any illegal or unjust activities that may have taken place.
- Strategically Update Your Resume
Update your resume immediately and begin positioning yourself for a competitive job search. In addition to revising your resume document, take time to refresh your LinkedIn profile and all other social media outlets. Always brand yourself as someone who is “exploring new opportunities,” as opposed to someone who was “fired and is looking for a job.” Prospective employers will be reviewing your social media profiles. It’s all about how you spin it!
- Begin Looking for New Jobs
You’re much more likely to land a good job via a referral or connection than submitting a cold application on a job board. Thus, we recommend beginning your job search by tapping into your personal and professional networks. Begin setting up daily breakfast and lunch meetings with your connections to explore new opportunities.
- Prepare to Answer Tricky Interview Questions
Landing interviews for new job opportunities is a giant leap in the right direction. However, you’ll have to be prepared for some tricky questions. More specifically, employers and hiring managers will want to know what happened at your last job. They might not use the “F” word, but they’ll want an explanation for why you were fired.
The best answer is the honest answer. But you can also be strategic with the angle you take. Good ways to frame a termination include: unmatched skill set, the job wasn’t a good fit, company restructure, different philosophies on how work should have been done, etc.
Look Out for Number One
Selflessness is to be lauded. And if you want to be successful in life, you should always treat others how you’d like to be treated. But there are moments where the only thing you can do is look out for yourself. If you’ve recently been fired, this qualifies as one of those moments.
The reality is that your employer is looking out for their business – not you. They might care about you, but they don’t care about you more than the business. Their decision to fire you made that very clear. Now it’s your turn to make a decision that’s best for you.
Whether that means pursuing a wrongful termination claim, finding a new job, or striking out on your own and starting a new business venture…it’s up to you. Just make sure you’re looking out for yourself, because nobody else will do it for you.
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