I recently lost my job this past Monday. I had a feeling it was coming, and took some steps to make sure I was prepared, but I wish I had prepared sooner. Hindsight is always 20/20, but I want to share with you some of the things I learned and hopefully they’ll help you as well
Understand your company’s policy towards termination of employment:
Very simple idea. Look over your employer’s employee handbook (there’s a reason why it exists) and understand what possible chain of events could to termination of employment. For me it was poor work performance (more on that later). Each company has a different policy/attitude toward this. Mine followed the “3 strikes you’re out” rule.
If you feel termination of employment might be looming, don’t be afraid to start looking for other employment:
This is what I did, but I wish I had done it sooner. You ALWAYS want to resign, not get fired. That way, when you apply for a new job, you don’t have to tell during your interviews for potential new employers that you were let go. I’ve had 4 interviews this week, and had to inform them that my employment was terminated due to poor work performance. What is notable though was my old company’s performance standard was damn near impossible (a 99% accuracy standard in a data entry position) and I fell short around 95-97% over the past several months. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO START LOOKING WHEN THE SIGNS ARE THERE.
Sometimes the role just isn’t meant for you, sometimes you just don’t enjoy it. I had been warned 3 times over the past 3 months, and I wish I had started job hunting sooner. Even try to apply for a different position in the company. This is something I tried doing. The position I was terminated from was my second position in the company. I had tried to move back, but the hiring board did not approve the request. My experience is rather limited, so while this is a valid option, chances are it’s not something you want to pin your hopes on.
When HR talks to you about the possibility of termination, be polite, be professional:
This is absolutely KEY. While this is your living and livelihood at stake, showing signs of anger, frustration, discontent will only do you harm. Both of my parents are IT professionals and referred to HR as “heartless”. While the HR members of my company were nice and friendly to interact with, their ultimate goal is to monitor behavior and cut the cord if need be if someone’s behavior is deemed unprofessional or a threat to the company. Save the frustration and anger for home. Keep your composure, and in a way, try to show that letting you go would be the wrong decision for them to make.
When it actually happens, cry and move on:
I have only extensively cried twice in my entire adult life: when I almost failed out of college for the 3rd time, and when my dog died. When I was called into HR this past Monday, I knew EXACTLY what would happen. The feeling finally sunk in, I asked them to give me a minute, shed a few tears, then was supervised in taking out my things and escorted out of the building. I then went into my car, and was completely bawling. It was as if everything I worked hard for-my apartment, my car, my entire living-was about to be lost and taken away from me. Cry it out, then roll your sleeves up, and get right back to job hunting. Don’t let the depression, anger, resentment, sadness, and insecurity that comes from being fired overwhelm you.
Apply for 100 jobs:
Yes you read that right. When searching for employment, you need to flood the market with your résumé. Again, it is preferable to do this before you actually get terminated, but if it comes as a surprise, get right back into the market. When I first applied for jobs I was close to graduating from college, I submitted applications to 100 places. 10 people got back to me, and that’s a good thing. If you apply to 100 places, and 10 get back to you, you’re doing better than most. Its brutal out there, increase your chances by giving yourself more opportunities.
Stay confident and positive:
You know what you’re capable of; you know what your skillset is. Don’t let a bad experience like this stop you from continuing to provide for yourself and your livelihood. I’d go into more detail about the specifics of my termination, but I’m one paranoid SOB and afraid somehow someone from my old company might read this. Thus why I’m posting anon as well (even though I HATE anon posts). Those of you who went through something similar, feel free to add. This was just my personal experience, and how I’m dealing with it, and I felt the need to share.