11 Steps to Take After You Get Fired

Posted on January 19, 2018

You got fired. You got let go. Or maybe you quit. Now what? You still have a few days to wrap up at the company. How do you handle yourself? Here are a few suggestions that might help ease the transition:

  • Actually Stay in Touch. Make sure you don’t just say you are going to stay in touch but actually stay in touch. Three months after your last day, send an email to some of your team and let them know you hope they are doing well and update them on your whereabouts.
  • Don’t Make Co-workers Feel Guilty. If your friends at the company are staying and you are leaving, make sure that you don’t make them feel bad about the situation they’re in. Go out of your way to stay in touch with these people and continue building the relationship. Maybe one day they will be your new manager!
  • Don’t Be Difficult to Work With. When you leave a company, there are certain protocols and procedures that must happen. There are certain projects that must be wrapped up. Go out of your way to be helpful during this time and don’t make the process any more difficult than it needs to be.
  • If It Was Personal, It’s Not For You. If you know with 100% certainty that this decision was personal, then you learn from it and you move on. You want to work for a company who appreciates you and values what you bring to the table. In the bigger picture, how can you excel in an environment where your team doesn’t support you?
  • Try to Get Feedback. Ask your supervisor for a brief meeting to get feedback on your performance and ultimately on their decision. Try your best to understand their decision and learn from their critiques. In these meetings you can usually tell if the decision was personal or just a business decision. Hold yourself professionally throughout this meeting and thank the person for their time afterwards. Thank them for the opportunity.
  • Make the Promise to Stay Positive. No matter what happens or what is said to you over the next few days or weeks, stay positive. It’s a long career ahead and you never know when you will cross paths with someone.
  • It’s Probably Not Personal. Usually, when someone gets let go it’s a financial decision or an HR decision. Most of the time, it’s going to have nothing to do with you or a mistake that you made. Companies grow, shift, and change and they always have competing priorities. The money can only be stretched so far. Remind yourself, this is a business decision not a personal decision.
  • Take Emotions Home or Across the Street. Crying in the office is fine if it happens. In fact, it’s happened to myself and most of my friends at some point. However, if you can take a deep breath and handle your emotions in private, you won’t have regret about being too emotional in front of colleagues. This is a personal situation for you and you have the right to handle it in private.
  • Call a Mentor. When you get fired or let go from a company, this is the best time to call your mentor and ask for advice on how to handle yourself. It’s comforting to speak with people who are on your team regardless and understand the value that you bring to the table.
  • Send Thank You Notes. You want to leave every situation positively. Send thank you notes to all of your higher ups either in the mail or drop them off in person. Genuinely thank them for all of their help and support throughout your time with the company. Hold your head high and leave on a great note.
  • Re-Start Your Job Search. Take a few days to be sad or mad or just relax. Get it all out of your system and then re-motivate and let’s get moving. There are so many companies hiring and so many people that would be lucky to have you on their team. NOTHING can get you down!

For more tips on the #RealWorld, read my book Welcome to the Real World.