It can happen to the best of us. One day, you’re giving your best at work. The next day, your boss calls you in to tell you that you’re fired.
No matter how qualified, experienced, or self-confident you are, losing your job can be a stressful and traumatic event.
So how can you recover?
Let’s start with answering a few questions:
1. Why did you get fired?
I know it must be hard for you to look at the situation objectively. But, in most cases, you don’t get fired overnight.
Let’s make a note that there is a difference between “getting fired” and “being laid off”. This article is all about the first case, so I’m not going to get into lots of details about “being laid off”. Because that has nothing to do with your overall performance.
You can get fired, on the other hand, when your performance is unsatisfactory, you don’t seem to fit into the company culture, or your employer perceives you as harmful to their reputation in one way or another. If you got fired, there must be a reason for it.
To get the best out of the situation, you need to be honest with yourself. Remember the feedback you got, look at it objectively and understand what behaviors caused you trouble.
2. Has this happened before?
Is this the first time you got fired or do you notice a pattern? If it is the first job that ended so abruptly, there’s a good chance you didn’t fit into the company standards and/or did something offensive and harmful. However, if this isn’t the first time, there’s a probably a bigger issue in hand.
Did you, at any point of your experience with your ex-employer, feel unappreciated? Or did your boss treat you badly? Did you snap at them during a one-on-one? Or caused a scene in a meeting? It’s important to be honest with yourself and really get to the bottom of this. If you need any help, I’m here for you.
3. Are you satisfied with your career?
Forget about this particular job, what about your whole career? Does doing what you do make you happy? Do you feel fulfilled by it? Are you willing to go find another job in this field or are you secretly dreaming of starting something new?
Sometimes getting fired can turn out to be a real blessing. A friend of mine (who was a successful attorney) got fired a couple of years ago and he decided to take a shot at entrepreneurship.
He used his passion towards e-commerce and founded a company. Now, he has the financial freedom to work with great people and travel the world whenever he wants and has never been happier.
Of course, that’s not always the case. I’m definitely not suggesting that you should change your career. If you decide to, here are a couple of things to consider.
Now that we’ve got this out of the way, let’s focus on some actionable steps that you can take to recover from the fall:
Get in touch with peers
Like it or not, networking is one of the best ways to land a good job. Sometimes, the best positions don’t even have job posts.
Reach out to your LinkedIn connections, your Facebook friends, and previous colleagues. Ping them, in a relevant and personal way, that you’re currently looking for a new challenging opportunity in your field.
It’s important not to feel like an impostor. You deserve to find a place where you will feel like you’re making a contribution to the world. Be bold!
Turbocharge your resume
Make it distinguishable. Make sure to list all your successes in your previous roles. Include any big projects. Realize your strengths and focus on them.
You don’t have to state the reason for your last termination (being fired), this is something you would want to address in person (and only if they ask you about it!).
Improve your skills
While you’re looking for a new opportunity, don’t just sit and wait. Sign up for an online course, get a certification or read that business book you’ve been putting off for a while.
Being busy will help you escape the overanalyzing state which is very common to happen in similar stressful situations.
Becoming a better version of yourself will not only keep you busy but will also help with your self-confidence. You will feel more at ease for future interviews, which will inevitably impress the person sitting in front of you.
But let’s dive in one of the most common questions:
How to approach my “I got fired” situation in an interview?
You can do lots of things but one of the most important is to remain calm, no matter what. If this interview doesn’t work out, there will be other opportunities along the way, so don’t stress too much about it.
Now that we got this out of the way, let’s focus on the possible scenarios:
Scenario 1: The interviewer asks about your previous job. They want to know how it ended. Your best strategy here is to be honest but polite: tell them what happened without blaming your boss or yourself.
I can’t tell you exactly what to say in this article because it depends on the situation and the reason you got fired. But what I can tell you, is that if you lie on your interview, there’s a very high possibility you won’t make it in this company either. Sooner or later the truth will come out, so be honest upfront.
Scenario 2: The interviewer doesn’t ask about the way your previous job ended. Should you say something about it then? No. If they were really interested in it, they would have definitely asked you. You have no obligation to tell them.
I hope this article helped you in some way. Now it’s your turn to take the next step.