7 things you should never do after getting fired
Don’t let your emotions run away with you.
Getting fired is an emotional gut-punch that will probably leave you reeling. In the minutes, hours and days soon after, it can be tempting to tell the world how unfair your former employer is — but it’s important to not do anything you’ll regret.
First, don’t go on social media to badmouth your former employer, cautions Mic Fleming, president of YESShr. He says he’s had job candidates refer him to their online professional profiles where they’ve done just that. The result: “Immediate rejection.”
Here are six more things you should never do after getting fired.
Obviously, you’ll have an emotional response, but it’s vital you don’t let your emotions spin out of control, says career development consultant Arthur Kaptein. If you take your dismissal personally and burn bridges, you may hurt yourself down the road when you need a reference or run into former colleagues at other organizations. Be professional throughout the process.
Broadcast your intentions
“Resist the temptation to tell your former associates you are going to sue the company, even if that’s exactly what you intend to do,” Fleming says. It may feel satisfying to let fly with legal threats on the way out the door, particularly if you feel they have merit. But again, it simply leaves people with a bad impression.
“There are many ways to redress legitimate concerns over a termination, but blowing steam back at your former company is not one of them,” Fleming explains. A colleague who might otherwise have given you a favorable reference will be forced think twice about doing so.
Getting fired is embarrassing and painful, and a natural reaction is to avoid interacting with others as you cope with the emotional roller coaster, says Mike Bowman, publisher of The Quarter Roll. “However hard it may be, you must treat being fired like falling off a bike: You have to get get up and get back into your routine. If you are fired, start looking for work the very next day; it's good for your confidence and builds momentum in finding a new job.”
Lie about it
As you look for a new job, you’ll have to consider how you’ll address your firing if it comes up in an interview. “Be brief but honest about the situation,” Fleming says. “Unless you were fired for a criminal or ethical breach, the prospective employer is going to be more interested in your qualifications to do the job. But for every job, dishonesty is a disqualification.”
This is easier said than done, but hanging on to anger and wallowing in bad feelings will make it hard to move on in your career, says Gail Tolstoi-Miller, CEO of Consultnetworx and Speednetworx. She says she’s seen many angry and depressed job candidates in interviews —and no one wants to hire someone who isn’t positive and upbeat. Get yourself in a good place mentally before you interview, she says.
Let it define you
With a black mark on your work history and painful memories, you may feel like it’s impossible to learn, grow and move on from the experience of getting fired. Don’t let that happen to you, though, Tolstoi-Miller says. “Use this time to reflect, improve yourself, upgrade your skills and find your passion. Many times I have seen the best success after someone has been fired. It was the impetus for the person to make changes in their life, so keep an open mind and turn your situation into a positive.”
Next steps to take today
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