You walk in the door and your boss calls you into their office. You know this is bad. You are fired. No wrapping up projects or saying goodbye to your co-workers. You are escorted to the door. Here is what you should NOT do.
1. Throw a fit.
Say things you will regret later. It is almost too much to process, so say nothing, do nothing other than what you are asked to do. Burning bridges further is never advantageous for your career.
2. Go home and hide.
Find your loved ones and let them love you. Look for a hug and affirmation from your family and friends that, no, you are not a bad person but something bad did just happen to you. If you’ve never journaled, start one and do daily entries to provide a safe, private outlet for your anger and hurt.
You have 24 hours to process this bad thing that happened to you. Treat yourself to an ice cream, watch Ellen in the middle of the day, have a candlelight dinner with your special someone, then get on to the next phase of your life.
4. Cut off all contact with your former company and co-workers.
If you were fired for poor performance or just because your company was downsizing, resentment and avoidance gain you nothing. Make a list of your former co-workers and the reasons you liked them and respected their work and email them or text them that you are fine and wish them the best and hope to maintain contact with them. Mention what you enjoyed about working with them. They will be surprised to hear from you, pleased at your praise and then impressed at your maturity and level-headedness.
5. Avoid anyone who may have heard of your firing.
Come up with a list of 25 people you’ve worked with in the past that could have relationships that would benefit your career. Call them and ask to meet for lunch or for coffee. Reconnecting is opening the door to new options.
6. Wonder how you are going to fill your days.
Don’t wonder. Fill your days. Review your resume with all those people you are reconnecting with. Take a class that will improve your attitude or your career skills. Exercise. Brainstorm about companies you would like to work for and who you know at those companies to get you an introduction.
What?! Find a niche recruiter that can willingly advise you on your resume, how to treat your recent firing, what are the pros and cons of your background and what your career options are. Keep looking until you find one that clearly knows and works in your expertise.