What to Do After Being Fired From Your Job
While it is something you can recover from, being fired can feel like the end of the world. It can cause financial and social worries and you might not know how to explain it on future job applications.
How you react to being fired and what steps you take next are very important – they can have repercussions for your future employment.
There are certain things you must do and say to ensure your exit is clean and professional and allow you to move on to new employment.
If you have been fired, do not worry. This guide will help you know what to do next.
What to Do Immediately After Being Fired
Minutes after being fired, things can feel overwhelming and even catastrophic.
Use mindfulness to allow these negative emotions to pass through you before taking action.
Although it does mean you will need to secure new employment, the firing may not have been your fault or even within your control.
Even if something has gone very wrong, it is important to remember that this is a learning experience that is definitely possible to move on from.
Once you have processed the news, it is important to make sure you cover some important issues:
Understand your Situation
The first question you should ask is, “Why was I fired?”
It is a good idea to arrange a meeting or an exit interview with management or HR after you are fired. Indeed, most larger companies will require this as part of the process, and you may have had multiple meetings before the final firing took place.
Either way, make sure you understand why you were fired and have this in writing.
Although you may not get the answer you want, knowing your shortcomings and what you may have done wrong can help you in your next job.
Although it is natural to need a little time to process what has happened, now is not the time to be defensive. Try to actively listen to what you are being told so you can fully understand and learn lessons for the future.
Make sure you understand if you are being fired or if it is actually a redundancy/layoff. These are fundamentally different and if you are being laid off due to structural changes in the company you may have different rights, including possible redundancy payments or the opportunity to be re-employed in a different role.
Whatever the reason you have been fired, make sure you don't leave without finding out the answers to some key questions.
Find out the details such as:
- Full reasons for the firing and what your employment rights are
- When your last day is
- What you need to finish or accomplish before leaving
- Whether your employer will provide you with a good reference
Negotiate Your Departure
When an employee is laid off due to company restructuring or redundancy, they are usually due some compensation.
However, this is not always the case in firing.
Severance pay can be less common in firings compared to lay-offs; your employer may be under no obligation to provide you with any money.
You will likely be asked to sign some paperwork. It is in your best interests to take your time you time to read this carefully. Ensure you are being legally fired and that you understand the terms of your departure.
Even consider having someone else or a legal representative look it over. While a legal representative may cost you some money now, it could save you some headaches in the end as well as retain some of the money owed to you.
Although after being fired most employees will leave immediately, you may need to negotiate your end date and what work you need to finish before leaving.
Check Your Benefits
Many people rely on company benefits for healthcare coverage.
You will want to know how long medical, dental, and other benefits are going to last before being cut off. Depending on your health, you could be in for some big expenses once these benefits end.
If you are fired for reasons such as company restructuring or cutbacks, you should be eligible for unemployment benefits.
Care For Yourself
While, generally, your first concern about being fired is financial, it can affect your emotions too. It's important to accept your situation and deal with it to move on.
Stay positive – Try to take your mind off your firing and focus on positive aspects of your life. Focus on the possible positive aspects of being fired. Maybe you didn’t like everything about your job, maybe the commute was long or you didn’t like your fellow employees. Look at the good side to finding a new job.
Take care of yourself – Focus on things you may have neglected while working long hours. Take stock of your physical, mental and emotional health. Take the time to get into a good sleep routine, find time to exercise and take care of how you are feeling.
Set new goals – Reassess your goals and perhaps set new ones both personal and work life. Read about SMART goals and work out some specific, focused, attainable goals that are achievable within a manageable time frame.
Look at what you need – Take the time to find out what you really need out of life and a career and work to make your next employment work with those requirements.
Three Dos and Three Don’ts
Being fired can cause your emotions to run high. This can cause your mind to cloud and make it difficult to think.
Remember these three things you should do:
Do ask for a recommendation – Remember to ask for a recommendation for your next job, especially if your firing is not performance-related.
Do explore other opportunities at the company – If you were fired due to redundancy, it would be a good idea to ask if there are other open positions in the company where you could work. Just because your position is no longer needed does not mean they may not need you somewhere else. However, if you’ve been considering leaving the company anyway due to its culture, being fired provides a clear chance to leave.
Do consider asking to resign – If you are being fired and not offered any compensation, it is better for your CV to resign. However, if you are owed some compensation, resigning may mean giving that up.
And remember these three things you should not do:
Don’t place blame on anyone – Even if you think you are being fired unfairly, do not throw the blame on anyone else. It can end up making you appear both childish and unprofessional.
Don’t leave without taking what is yours – Remember to always save important documents on a portable drive for situations such as these. Also, don't forget to collect any of your physical property that is on-site.
Don’t leave without asking why – Make sure you take the time to find out and understand why you are being fired. It can make you feel better to know whether it is performance-related or not, and if it is, it can be helpful to know what you did wrong. Your exit interview is a good place to ask this if you haven’t already been told. If there is no acceptable reason for the firing, you may be able to negotiate with your human resources department to improve your performance within a certain amount of time.
Looking for a New Job
First: apply for unemployment benefits.
It is worth your time and effort to find out if you are eligible for unemployment benefits. This money can keep you on course with rent, mortgage, bill payments and day-to-day costs while you search for other employment.
Then you can begin your job search.
Looking for a new job can be daunting, especially if you have been at the same one for a long time.
Take the time to look at your skills and assess where you need improvement. Maybe there are some courses you can take to upgrade in a few areas, especially if you have been in the same job for a while.
If it has been a while since you last had an interview, you will want to work on your interview skills. Work with a friend or family member and practice with possible questions and answers.
Most importantly, be ready to talk about your termination. Losing a job is common and happens to a lot of people. Think of ways to show your firing in a positive light. Be honest and do not try to hide it.
Use Who You Know
Now is a great time to get in touch with anyone who may be able to help you.
Former colleagues, friends, acquaintances, anyone who may be able to help you find a job opening. Spread the word that you are looking for work as well as build your online presence on job search sites and LinkedIn.
One reason many people struggle to find a job is that they are not networking enough, either through not expanding their contacts list or not utilizing their extant one effectively.
Dust Off Your CV
It has likely been some time since you have last had to look for a job. Therefore, your CV will need updating to reflect how you’ve grown.
If you have been at your most recent job for quite a while it may be worth getting some help to update your CV either from friends or family or an employment center.
Begin by adding your most recent work experience and skills to your CV in preparation for the jobs you will be applying for.
Give your whole CV or resume a go-over, even if the information is not out of date. The format of your CV can affect your application’s chances of success, particularly if the place you are applying uses an applicant tracking system (ATS).
Begin Your Job Search Early
There is no harm in beginning your search even if you are still at your current job.
If you have been given some notice before your role finishes, this is the perfect time to start job hunting as companies often prefer hiring people who are already employed. Plus, you get a head start on the search before there is a termination on your resume.
Additionally, many openings can take a while to move from the reception of CVs to interviews. It will be less nerve-wracking if you start this process while you still have an income.
Set your phone or email with alerts to receive notifications about openings that interest you.
Updating Skills or New Career
No matter what your next steps are, updating your skill set is never a bad idea.
This is especially true if you work in a competitive market. It will only make you more attractive to employers to show that you’re self-motivated to improve.
You may also want to think about a career change – this can be the bright side of being fired.
If you have the skills that could lend themselves to a different career, or you are willing to take on additional study or training, it could be a good route to take.
What to Do if You Suspect Wrongful Dismissal
Not all job dismissals are for legitimate reasons.
If you feel that you have been terminated from your employment unfairly there are some steps you should take.
Seek Legal Advice
If you feel there are reasons you have been wrongfully terminated, it may be worth your while to seek legal counsel and find out what your options are.
A good lawyer can find out what kind of contract limitations there are, whether you were in a probationary period and what grounds your company is looking to terminate you on.
Good legal counsel can advise you on whether you have a case and what steps to take next.
Appealing the Dismissal
There are often ways to appeal your termination.
A legal representative can help you find the best course of action. It may be through your human resources department or a union
It is important that if you decide to appeal the dismissal you collect as much evidence as you can, such as emails and statements from co-workers.
This is why it’s you shouldn't leave with your coworkers thinking badly of you if you hope to appeal the dismissal. A carefully worded farewell letter can help with this.
Making a Claim
If your lawyer feels that you have reason to file a claim for wrongful termination, then you can go ahead and make your claim. It is important to keep an eye on timing because in many cases you only have so much time in which to file a claim or forget about it.
Being fired from a job is very common and is not the end of the world. It can even end up being a good thing if you have had issues with your job or use it as an opportunity to change careers.
It is important to take care of yourself by following the steps laid out above. You want to protect your interests and ensure that you have a smooth ending to the job as well as a good start to your next position.
You can quickly work your way through unemployment and hopefully find a job that is even better than your previous one.