Yes, unlike most of you, I have been fired. Assuming that we have a recession in the next few years (Thanks to our business cycle.), you might be interested in my experience should you have the opportunity to recover from getting fired. Note: Unlike the ‘good old days’ it is unlikely that you will be laid off and then called back to work when your former employer needs you again.
Go to ‘work’ the next day.
Get dressed and go someplace to work. Don’t spend the day ruminating on your personal failures. Do something to resolve the situation.
Here’s what I did: On the day after I was fired I went to a coffee shop to work on my resume. In the parking lot I called a former co-worker to tell him that I was “on the market.” He mentioned that a head hunter had called him about a job. He gave me the headhunter’s contact info. By the end of the day I had a phone interview scheduled with my future manager.
Be an optimist.
When I was feeling a lot of anxiety about work, which led to sleeplessness, I read Learned Optimism by Prof. Martin Seligman. He described the difference between optimists and pessimists.
When misfortune occurs pessimists and optimists frame the situation differently in terms of reach, scope, and time. A pessimist thinks “My life is a disaster. I always screw up. I’ll never recover from this.” An optimist thinks “Other aspects of my life are fine and will help me through this difficult time. Lots of people get fired for lots of different reasons; they survive. This is not a permanent situation. I’ll work through it.”
Be open to opportunities and changes.
“I’m a COBOL programmer. That’s who I am.” said the guy in his late 50s. That’s all he done in his career. He believed that once he found a COBOL job he could make good money. The problem: finding any COBOL programmer job. The longer you remain stuck in your preferred rut the longer and harder it may be to find work. Read job descriptions for work related to what you have done in the past that you may prefer. You may not even know about a job category that you’re qualified for.
Create a cash flow forecast.
Beginning cash + cash in – cash out = Ending cash. Knowing your cash (and credit) situation will enable you to control your cash flow, rather than simply worrying about money.
My wife and I usually go over the cash forecast that I prepare every Saturday morning. Hopefully you have some cash in the bank and available credit on your cards. You’ll probably get unemployment. Not much, but probably enough to buy groceries. Look at your expenses. If you know what you’ve been spending money on, you will be able to make better decisions on how you spend the next dollar.
Tell people that you got fired.
Don’t hide out for a few weeks and pretend that it didn’t happen. Start telling people that you got fired and let them know what kind of work you’re looking for. The more people you contact the more opportunities you may have.
And when you tell family and friends that you got fired, take some responsibility. Admit that you’d lost interest in your job, that you didn’t get along with your former manager, that you’d really rather be a cabinet maker. They’ll appreciate you honesty. Who knows, you may whine a little bit less.