By Jack J. Kelly
Getting fired, laid off, separated from the payroll, terminated, pink slipped, reorganized out, or shown the door is a frightening, painful, and anxiety-ridden event.
To get you through this challenging period, I’d like to offer a brief breakdown of what to expect and what you need to do to make it through.
Overnight, losing a job immediately changes your life.
When this happens to you (and it happens to a lot of people), the first thing is to look after yourself. Take some time to get your head together.
Be prepared, you will go through a range of emotions- anger, depression, fear, humiliation, loss, and, ultimately, acceptance.
Emotionally it will be difficult and, at times, a rollercoaster of emotions.
There will be a lack of self-esteem.
The loss of your routine will make you feel lost and disoriented.
Although you may not have been best friends with your coworkers, the absence of comradery with your old group will be missed.
The real pressures of not having an income will need to be dealt with. Start getting your financial situation in order.
It’s okay to grieve and feel sorry for yourself – just for a while, then you need to move forward.
The shock, devastation, and hurt feelings can easily lead to pessimism about the next job.
It is important for your mental and emotional health to continue socializing with others and not withdraw into your apartment or home.
Be honest with people about your situation, as there is nothing to be ashamed of, and the majority of experienced professionals have been there too.
Don’t brood, overeat, binge drink, or take drugs (non-prescription) to take away the pain, as it will only compound the problem.
Please don’t feel embarrassed to seek the help of counselor or other mental health professional.
Although your emotions will be running high, don’t sign a severance or other agreements without taking time to evaluate them appropriately.
As you are leaving, remain professional and don’t make matters worse by getting into ugly fights and no-win battles that could work against you when you seek out a new job.
Get everything that you discuss at the exit interview and with management in writing, so there are no surprises down the road.
If you are in a highly-regulated industry such as finances, negotiate what will be put on your U5 or other permanent records that go to central databases for all to see.
Consider asking for a reference for when you start interviewing.
Find out how your termination will be relayed to future references.
Was there another, possibly illegal reason, why they fired you (i.e. race, religion, age)?
File for unemployment.
Start preparing how you will position this event to prospective interviewers.
After a little time goes by, and you started to process the news, take an objective look at what happened.
If you’ve been putting off any healthcare appointments, make them now while you still have coverage.
Update your resume and LinkedIn profile.
Actively engage on LinkedIn to connect with as many people that can help you as possible.
Set-up meetings with recruiters.
Attend networking events.
Get in contact with corporate internal recruiters.
Call, email, and meet with any-and-all former colleagues, acquaintances, friends that can help you with the job search in any way.
Looking for a job is your new job.
Prepare and practice an elevator pitch to sell yourself to everyone.
Don’t be ashamed of your circumstances. When it comes up in conversation, be brief and positive, “I understand that these things happen and I am somewhat glad that it did. I was thinking of making a change in my career and now I have the opportunity to pursue new opportunities!”
Fight back against the inertia, be proactive, and don’t sit around the house feeling sorry for yourself.
Maintain your morning routine.
Use this time to start a physical exercise routine to keep you occupied and healthy. Exercise, walk, do yoga or Pilates, join pick-up basketball games, or ride your bike.
Utilize this time to catch-up on all new developments within your field.
Maintain a positive attitude no matter how hard it is to do so.
Consider finding temporary, part-time work, or some management consulting
Start thinking about your next career.
Help others or volunteer.
Don’t ever give up hope. Keep pushing forward, remain positive and strong. Hopefully, the best-case scenario is that you will find an even better job and earn more money than before.