How to deal with getting fired
Gillian Nalletamby shows you how to stay motivated while looking for your perfect job, career change or starting a new business
Being fired or made redundant forces you to reassess your life, change your perspective and transform your future. It might be the kickstart you need to form your own business or change your career. Getting into the right frame of mind is as important to landing a job as knowing how to conduct a job search. Being fired can be the catalyst for a major change in your life and it can be the best thing that has ever happened to you. Remember, when you hit rock bottom, the only way to go is up.
DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP OVER IT
There are a lot of reasons why people lose their jobs. It may be due to a personality conflict with your manager, you may have been misled about what the job or the company culture entailed or you may have simply screwed up. Take this time out for much needed self-assessment and self-development. Be honest with yourself about what went wrong, think about what you learned from the experience and what you can do to break out of the vicious cycle of being in a company which isn’t the right cultural fit or a job that doesn’t suit your skills or experience. It may be useful to see a careers consultant or life coach or draw upon a close friend as a sounding board. Take what you can from this experience but don’t let it break you or define you as a person. Sometimes, stepping away from a negative situation allows you to put your best foot forward.
When you have left your company in less than ideal circumstances, one of your biggest concerns should be the reference you receive from your previous boss. Depending on the circumstances in which you left your job, you may be able to ring up your former manager and ask them to be a referee for you. Even if you have been assured of a good reference from your former supervisor, don’t rely solely on this. Ask supervisors from related departments if they will act as a secondary referee, get in touch with former managers to let them know you are back in the job market and start collecting testimonials from clients or external stakeholders. If you work in a creative industry, such as writing, advertising or graphic design, put together an impressive portfolio of your work to show potential employees and make sure you attach an example of your work with your job applications.
PUT ON YOUR MENTAL ARMOUR
Whether you are a new graduate who got fired from their first job or a mother of four who has just been given her marching orders, being fired can be devastating. This is the time you need to draw on your support network for much needed assistance and be around people who believe in your abilities and skills. Looking for a new job should be a team effort and everyone in the household should be doing their little bit to cut costs and help out. Sign up to job seeker forums or join support groups to find people who are in a similar situation to you, who can act as a valuable job hunting resource and who you can draw upon for tips and guidance. There may be a transitional period where you’re bridging your current skills and re-training, or you may have to contract or work part-time for a period of time before you find your dream job or start your own business. Hold your head up high, don’t be disheartened and always keep the end goal in mind.
LOOK AFTER YOUR BEST ASSET
When you have lost your job, it’s tempting to hide away from the world and indulge in comfort eating but it’s more important than ever that you exercise, eat well, get plenty of sleep and take good care of yourself. A gym membership may not be a viable option when you’re looking for another job, but why not join a bushwalking club, go bike-riding or simply walk around the block with a friend. When you have lost your job, you may feel you have also lost your social currency and self worth but exercise can give you a sense of routine and normality. Exercise gets you out of the house, forces you to socialise with people and keeps you physically fit. A wealth of research shows the important of exercise to our psychological wellbeing. If you feel good about yourself, mentally strong and staying positive, you will project that to potential employers.
GET JOB READY
Take a well-deserved break but jump back into the saddle as soon as you are ready to avoid visible gaps on your resume. Tidy up your resume, dry-clean your best suit and brush up on your interview technique. Get into the routine of getting up early, as you would do if you were working full-time. Check job seeker websites at least once a day and set a weekly target for the jobs you apply for, the number of networking functions you will attend and the number of appointments you make with recruitment agents who specialise in your industry. Looking for a job takes as much work and planning as being gainfully employed. It’s important to draw up a budget when you have just lost your job and see where you can cut down on expenses. Find out about any benefits that you are entitled to and sign up for assistance straight away. Make sure you pay off any existing credit card debt and notify creditors of your change in circumstance. Stay in control of your situation and don’t let it control you.