Getting terminated from your place of work is never easy. Sometimes, it can catch you off guard, and in the moment, most people feel ashamed, upset and resentful.
Career and communications coach Fiona Bryan of Toronto, says the most important thing to do is to just breathe.
“It’s never going to be good if one panics,” she tells Global News. “You just have to slow everything down and put everything into slow motion. Just get through that first meeting.”
She says one of biggest things employees forget is that the employer is the one who is organized and prepared for these situations — and the employee is not.
“Unfortunately, anything you do or say in that first conversation is going to make it worse,” she says. “Right there they’re in control of the situation.”
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The next gig
Bryan also recently wrote a piece on how to prepare on all aspects of being fired, and she says another common thing people worry about is how to bring up the termination to their next employer.
Being fired, or even laid off, still has a certain stigma attached to it, and for most, it’s embarrassing to admit someone made the decision to let them go.
She says if you are applying for a new job and the company asks about the previous employer, be honest about getting fired. You should also work in the positives, your skill set and what you plan on bringing to the new employer. While this may result in some rejection, Bryan says you have to stick with it.
Bryan says when the termination happens, there are several things you should do right away.
Do ask for support: Some companies offer a network of support after a termination and this can include counselling as part of your benefits package. Ask your employer what the next steps are and what they have to offer in terms of support.
Do tell your spouse: You don’t need to tell your friends or children you got fired, but it is a good idea to be honest with your spouse. Tell your partner how and why it happened, and avoid leaving out the details. They will be your support system moving forward.
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Do update the resume: Fix-up the resume and update online versions as well. This will also give you time to create a resume that works for your next job intention. And if you need advice, always contact a career expert.
Do reach out to your network: Once the word is out there (and news does travel fast), reach out to your network for support. Let them know you are looking for employment and any leads or connections would be appreciated. Bryan adds, we should all be on the hunt for the next big win, project, or job on the daily, it’s a healthy way to build your career.
And just like dos, there are also major don’ts that follow getting fired from a job.
Don’t make a decision right away: While you may feel pressured to get up and leave the organization right away, Bryan says there are still ways to ask for more when it comes to things like extending benefits and a severance package. Let your employer know you understand their decision is final, but also see if they are open to discussing your package.
Don’t try to negotiate: This is not the time to ask for your job back. These decisions are final and again, Bryan stresses your employer is the one who is organized, you are not.
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Don’t sign anything without consultation: If your employer does offer a severance package, don’t sign it right away. Consult with an employment lawyer to see if the offer is worth it.
Don’t vent to the world: This one may be one of the hardest in a world run on social media, but never, ever vent about your boss or company online. Not only is this information easily traceable and often public, but it could come back and bite you. Also, she adds, there is a chance you could work with your employer or employees again down the road, sometimes even at a different company.
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