This may be the BEST day of my life . . . I just got fired!
That’s not what you feel like saying on the day you lose your job, but it may be true!
As for me, well I’ve been fired twice in my life.
The first time I got fired I had been absent from work due to a flu bug that had worked its way through the office. The boss called me and told me not to come into work the next day. Half delirious I thought, how nice of him to be concerned about my well being. When I finally awoke from my stupor I realized he meant, or the day after that, or the day after that, or ever. . . Boy was I pissed! What a whimp to call me on a sick day and fire me! He didn’t even have the stones to tell me to my face!
However, as it turned out, that firing led to an opportunity for me to return to school and complete a degree I needed in order to move to the next level of my career. Little did that boss know, he actually did me a favor!
The second time I got fired I had been working on it for several months. I was making good money, but the company I worked for had no soul. In fact, they went out of their way to suck the soul out of their employees. Clearly, the company had some ethics problems, and after 2 solid years of enduring them I decided I had to go. They were good at getting rid of people! The company had a nearly 200% annual employee turnover rate.
I wanted out, but couldn’t justify leaving. If I was going to go, they needed to provide me with the safety net of a severance package.One day responded to an email from the site manager although some might say I picked a fight with him. He was clearly breaking his own “office computer use policy” by sending inane and meaningless emails to the entire staff. I sent a “reply to all” indicating the violation and 10 minutes later I found myself in his office. This was my chance. . .
Unfortunately, he was willing to let me off with a warning. Bummer! When I got back to my cubicle my supervisor said, “what do you think you are doing? Are you trying to get fired?” I answered, “Yes. But the site manager didn’t take the bait. I guess you are stuck with me a little while longer.” He replied, “Go home, I’ll take care of it.” The next day I came in to find my cubicle cleaned out, a moving box full of my stuff, a pink slip with my name on it and a severance package that helped me bridge the gap between jobs. That was one of the happiest day of my life! As it turns out, both of those days were!
So you’ve been fired? Join the club.
It may feel a bit devastating, but in reality it could be the best thing that ever happened to you. The key is to learn from you experience and move on. Here’s my simple formula for doing that without taking the poison from one position into the job search with me.
- make a list of what you did well at your job. Be specific. Give numbers whenever possible. You will use this list when you create your resume, interview, and negotiate for your next salary.
- make a second list of what you did not do well, and what went wrong. You are going to use this list in your next job search when researching company culture.
- purge yourself of the poison feelings you have about getting fired. Talk to a friend, a counselor, a career coach or someone who can help you get the venom out of your system.
- develop a statement about why you left your last position that allows both you and your former employer to be seen in the best light. Let me be clear here DO NOT LIE! EVER! On the other hand, you don’t have to bleed all over the place either. Something like, After 7 years things had changed, and we came to an agreement that it was time for me to look for other opportunities. You don’t really need to say much more than that. You former employer won’t, in fact, they have probably already forgotten about you.