Without a doubt, one of the hardest things that people experience in their career is being fired from a job.
The rush of emotions at once, shock, anger, hurt and embarrassment. It’s hard to sum up at that moment how you truly feel. You may be upset by the toxic people who’ve contributed to your termination or sadness from the loss of close colleagues who you’ve come to call your friends. You think to yourself “all those years of hard work I’ve put in and this is the ‘respect’ I get”.
I know it’s hard (believe me I’ve gone through it) but you have the opportunity to either let the termination pull you down or perhaps reinvent yourself and look at it from a different perspective. I want to share some tools and strategies that people have shared with me when they have gone through these incredibly difficult times in their career path. These tools have helped them tremendously and as a result and have made them feel more powerful and purposeful rather than feeling like a victim. It also taught them to be more in control of the situation. They may not have been able to control the fact that they were terminated, but they were able to control how they handled it afterward which in itself is a powerful and positive next step.
Tools you can use:
- A Stay Connected List
Write down a list of your favorite colleagues that you want to stay connected with. With time, reach out to them; send them a card, e-mail or go for coffee (the method you choose is up to you). This gives you a chance to say a proper goodbye and let them know that you’re ok. Keep good relationships with your colleagues, some of which may have become your good friends, as it can only benefit you in the long run.
- Thank-You Cards
On the theme of staying connected, write thank you cards to the people who have positively impacted your career. This doesn’t have to be people you’ve met recently; it’s connecting with basically anyone who has had a positive influence on your career. This can be a great tool to self reflect, feel grateful, and acknowledge all the positive influences you still have.
You can start to doubt yourself – your capabilities, your competence, your purpose – when you lose your job. It’s part of your identity. Keep your identity intact and stay focused on your greatness through self-recognition. Recognize one thing every day that you did well, a strength, a talent. Maybe form it into a list or note it on post-it notes or journal. If you cannot recognize yourself, how do you expect others will see your greatness?
- LinkedIn Testimonials
Many people start to, for example, rebuild their profiles or reach out to people in an attempt to network. They may even start asking for testimonials. Here’s a hack. Instead of asking first, give first. There is no better way to get powerful about your future career than by building strong relationships and sending somebody a testimonial unsolicited. Watch the theory of reciprocity unfold; the people who receive your testimonial most likely will want to show their gratitude and appreciation by writing one for you in return (in fact LinkedIn prompts them to do so). Those recruiters reading your LinkedIn profile will appreciate recently added testimonials (and that you’ve written them for others as being connected to other high performers will benefit you).
Being fired doesn’t have to feel like a failure. Push past that negative experience, redefine it with power, with focus, and with greatness. Feel free to share your story with others who may be going through the same thing and we can learn from each other’s greatness.