Been fired? Here’s what to do next

Nobody likes to be fired. And it always seems to happen at the worst time, like when you’re short on cash. You might experience feelings of rejection or inadequacy.

Well, you are not alone. Being laid off is lonely and frustrating. But don’t let it destroy your self-confidence. You can bounce back and be stronger than ever. Remember, it’s not so much about finding a new job as it is about dealing with the emotions of being laid off. And just so you know, people who keep their jobs also feel different emotions.

The survivors

There are the “survivors” or those who have not been laid off and the reputation of the company, which have damaged the company. The layoffs send the message that the company is going through some sort of financial crisis and needs to cut costs; therefore, they can undermine customer loyalty and trust. Customers may fear that the business will not be able to meet demand, so they will look for alternatives to provide what they need.

For employees who have not been laid off, layoffs signal similar fear, though they are affected differently. According to research, employee layoffs stifle creativity and communication within the company. When layoffs are announced, it increases stress, burnout and insecurity among employees. Layoffs tend to increase turnover as the remaining employees jump ship “just in case” they are next.

When a company staggers layoffs, each time it announces new layoffs, it brings all those emotions to the surface for the remaining employees. Every layoff announcement undermines employee confidence. Layoffs – especially when employees are told their jobs are secure – further undermine employer/employee trust.

One of the most important feelings for employee engagement and growth is emotional safety. This allows for creativity, speaking up and progress in general. When layoffs are on the horizon, that kind of emotional security disappears.

If you have been laid off, you may be experiencing confusion, chaos, and a sense of scarcity. These are not unrealistic feelings. There’s no shame in being fired, but there are some things you can do to protect yourself. And one of the things you need to do before you have your last day at your old job – get a layoff letter. A layoff letter will do a lot for you. It should explain your benefits options, salary, last day worked, and what is or is not company property, including intellectual property. It also serves as “proof” that you were fired instead of being fired. This could influence future employment.

In addition to your layoff letter, here are five best practices for managing the layoff.

You’re fired and it stinks! But there’s no reason to get upset or give your boss a piece of your mind. Remember that your direct supervisor probably had nothing to do with your layoff. More importantly, you never know how people will move in the future – you could be working for your boss or another colleague at a new job.

So instead of leaving angry, thank your employer and boss for the opportunity to work for the company. Say goodbye to your colleagues. And keep your head up.

  • Register as unemployed.

Do not waste time before registering for unemployment. Many states have mandatory waiting periods, so you want time to pass. If you end up not needing unemployment, that’s OK. But nothing is worse than needing money and waiting to receive it.

  • Feel what you feel.

Now is not the time to stuff your feelings. You’re much better off going through them as they come up. Filling up your emotions will only create more stress at an already stressful time. Several studies have shown that surprising your emotions negatively affects your body. A Harvard study showed that people who bottle up their emotions had an increased risk of premature death. Make an appointment to speak to a professional. Again, there is no shame in being fired.

Evaluate your finances to determine exactly how long you can take off. Create a budget to ensure you live below your means. During this time, reflect on where you were in your career to determine if you want to make any changes to your career path. Revamp your resume and give yourself a social media makeover. Give yourself some time to get your feet on the ground. If you want to go on vacation and can afford it, now is the time to go! When you start a new job, you won’t be able to kick off your shoes and head to the Bahamas.

When you’re ready, begin a focused job search. Reach out to your network and let them know you are looking for work and the type of work. Conduct informational interviews with employees in the field where you hope to find work. Use LinkedIn and other social sites to learn more about the companies you want to work for. And be sure to tailor your resume and cover letter to the positions you’re applying for.

Remember, it’s not the end of the world…even if it seems like it. In fact, being laid off can open up incredible opportunities. Sometimes it’s just a kick in the pants to start a new business, change careers, or change your salary (yes! changing jobs often equals higher salaries).

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