Ask a Recruiter...
I've been fired! What do I do now?
As recruiters, we spend a lot of our time advising and guiding people and generally being a bit of a shoulder to cry on when it comes to work problems.
It’s not surprising that it’s a bit like being an Agony Aunt at times. And we’re happy to do it, it helps us get to know you and so we’re better placed to help you find a job and a work environment that makes you happy.
So we decided to start a monthly 'Ask a Recruiter' section – to help answer some of your career or work related problems – we’ve pretty much heard it all!
First up is one of the more serious problems you’ll face, but actually there’s a few ways of looking at it so don’t lose heart just yet.
Q. I've been fired! What do I do now?
A. Getting fired can be right up there with a breakup on the emotional devastation scale. So many of us get a big portion of our self-worth from our work, so being told that we won't be doing that work anymore can be a shocker.
What did I do wrong? Am I not good enough? Is everything I thought about myself a lie? Plus, there's the practical problem of, you know, rent and living life that rears its head pretty quickly and can make us panic unnecessarily.
'So many of us get a big portion of our self-worth from our work, so being told that we won't be doing that work anymore can be a shocker.'
There are many reasons why you might lose your job and in today’s very transient world, you won’t be the first — budgets are tight, the role has changed, the company is moving in a different direction and may not need someone with your skill set anymore. Pivots happen in companies constantly since they have to keep up with the pace of change in our working society.
So if it happens to you, look at it as positively as you can, change can often be the best recipe for a new you...
- Let yourself be OK with the shock and anger of being let go. Let your mind go through the grieving process.
- Once you’re through grieving, try to harness your energy to really understand what you want in your next job. A similar role elsewhere? Or maybe this is the kick in the backside you needed to get you out of your comfort zone. It's also a good chance to retool - go back to school, try something new!
'Maybe this is the kick in the backside you needed to get you out of your comfort zone. It's also a good chance to retool - go back to school, try something new!'
- Reach out to your friends and network. You don’t have to share all the details about the circumstances surrounding your job search, but you can let others help you land your next gig. The world is full of people who really want to help others, so go out and find them, while discovering your next career opportunity.
- Evaluate why you were fired so you don't make the same mistakes in the future. Remember that 'mistakes' could mean either areas where you underperformed, but it could also mean choosing the wrong employer who did not value you as an employee.
- If the company wasn’t hitting targets and you were a casualty of that, don’t take it to heart. It happens, you move on and it’s not your fault.
- Decide on what your ideal job looks like. Most people take a shotgun approach to finding a new job. Instead, you should focus on going after a few jobs that are a perfect fit for both you and the company. This way you can put more effort into the process and you are more likely to end up with a job you love.
- Get your CV, LinkedIn, and social media profiles cleaned up, and focused on the skills that are most ideally suited to your ideal job.
'Move on! Remember, you aren’t the first person that ever lost their job!'
- Be ready to discuss why you were fired in your last job. Best to be honest here; if you underperformed, address the changes you are making so that won't happen again. Never fall into the trap of slagging off your old employer, it’s not a positive thing to do. Keep it brief, on the ‘up’, and sound confident and in control of your career progression. Move on! And remember, you aren’t the first person that ever lost their job!
- Get your references lined up. And ensure that your old employer does the same for you too.
- Start putting the word out that you are looking for a position, get into bed with good recruiters who will fight your corner understand the type of position you are looking for, and get yourself out there.
Good luck, it could be the best experience yet so go get ‘em!
Whether it’s a new colleague who’s really grinding your gears, or that you’re snowed under with work but don’t want to admit defeat – we’d love to help. Please send your questions here and we’ll pick one to answer each month. Everything will be kept totally confidential and no names will be mentioned in the piece.