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12 Essential Things to Do if You’re Fired

12 Essential Things to Do if You’re Fired

“You’re fired!”

Maybe you messed up, maybe someone else did something wrong and blamed you, or maybe your boss just doesn’t like the fact that you exist! Whatever your reasons are, the mere fact that you’re fired still remains.

So, what should you do now? (Note: Insulting your boss, prank-calling your manager and vandalizing your past office building – while tempting – should not be your plan of action!)

Here are 12 essential things that you should do after being terminated from your job.

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1. Remain professional.

Respectfully ask the reason for the termination and research whether it’s valid or not. Pay attention to the termination meeting and use logic. Yes, you may be feeling extremely frustrated right now, but think about the long-term picture here. You don’t want to burn any bridges, do you?

2. Negotiate for the most favorable deal possible.

Most people make the mistake of signing everything too soon without acknowledging that they can still negotiate many things to fall in their favor. Yes, you’re fired already, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have any right to ask. Who knows, your boss may feel guilty and help you out!

3. Ask for extra time.

You’re not supposed to be pressured into signing the termination papers on the spot. Give yourself some time to think about it and to consult a professional, as needed. Keep in mind that no one will care more about your rights than you.

4. Consider asking for a reference.

You can definitely get a good reference from your company because you still have something that they want – you haven’t signed the severance package yet, so you still have a substantial amount of leverage.

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5. Find out how your termination will be relayed to future references.

The basic template should compose of:

  • Dates of employment;
  • Last position held; and
  • Final compensation.

You and your boss (or your manager) should agree that your past company will be using only neutral language to describe your departure. Make sure that your future employers won’t see you as a liability upon reading your reference. Also, there should be an agreement that only the human resources department will respond to reference requests in the future.

6. Get it documented.

Most of the time, you can’t just rely on people to keep their word. In this case, it’s better for you to get a reference letter that states the reasons that you and your manager have agreed upon. Tell them that you need a copy of it first before you sign anything.

7. Vent – but don’t do it online!

What you post online says a lot about you. Find a supportive loved one or a (non-work) friend and cry your heart out. Just don’t tell the whole world what happened – your past boss certainly won’t appreciate the fact that you cursed him in your Facebook status, you know.

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8. Send a thank-you letter.

Once you’ve negotiated everything and gotten what you want, be the bigger person and send your management a thank-you letter. Email just won’t do it! Make an effort to actually reach out and communicate your gratitude. Who knows? They may be super-impressed and regret that they’ve lost you.

9. Analyze your situation objectively.

Don’t be biased and blame everyone else but you. You were fired for a reason, weren’t you? Find out what this is and vow to work on it so that it won’t hinder your future job.

10. Find out what you want your next job to be.

You’re the only one who can determine what you want to do with your life. Perhaps you were fired because you never really liked your job in the first place. Describe your dream job along with the responsibilities you will have and the credentials you need to show. Consider being fired as a blessing – it can be your final push to encourage you to pursue something that you’re really passionate about.

Maybe you can even build your own business!

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11. Update your résumé.

Dedicate a day to work on developing a winning résumé. Add the achievements you’ve gotten from your past job and target your résumé to a specific industry that you’re considering. Sloppy ones will never get you your dream job.

12. Attend networking events.

Now’s the time to network with other professionals in your field. You can even go beyond this and go to professional development conferences: just because you’re fired doesn’t mean you don’t have the right to improve yourself anymore.

Get out there and improve yourself! And remember, your work is just a part of you – it doesn’t define who you really are. All of us have the right to work on something that we’re really passionate about. If you think that your job made you stressed, unhappy and angry all the time, then thank God you were fired!

You can start over again.

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Published on March 25, 2019

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

How to Find New Growth Opportunities at Work

Career advancement is an enticement that today’s companies use to lure job candidates. But to truly uncover growth opportunities within a company, it’s up to you to take the initiative to move up. You can’t rely on recruiter promises that your company will largely hire from within. Even assurances you heard from your direct supervisor during the interviewing process may not pan out.

But if you begin a job knowing that you’re ultimately responsible for getting yourself noticed, you will be starting one step ahead.

Accomplished entrepreneur and LinkedIn Co-Founder Reid Hoffman said,

“If you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.”

It’s important to recognize that taking charge of your own career advancement, and then mapping out the steps you need to succeed, is key to moving forward on your trajectory.

Make a Point of Positioning Yourself as a Rising Star

As an employee looking for growth opportunities within your current company, you have many avenues to position yourself as a rising star.

As an insider, you’re able to glean insights on company strategies and apply your expertise where it’s most needed. Scout out any skills gaps, then make a point to acquire and apply them. And, when you have creative ideas to offer, make it your mission to gain the ear of those in the organization who can put your ideas to the test.

Valiant shows of commitment and enterprise make managers perk up and take notice, keeping you ahead of both internal and external competitors.

Employ these other useful tips to let your rising star qualities shine:

1. Promote Your Successes to Your Higher-Ups

When your boss casually asks how you’re doing, use this valuable moment to position yourself as indispensable: “I’m floating on clouds because three clients have already commented on how well they like my redesign of the company website.”

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Tell your supervisors about any and all successes. Securing a new contract or signing a new customer should be a cause for celebration. Be sure to let your bosses know.

2. Cultivate Excellent Listening Skills

Listen well, and ask great questions. Realize that people love to talk about themselves.

But if you’re a superb listener, others will confide in you, and you’ll learn from what they share. You may even find out something valuable about your own prospects in the company.

If others view you as even-minded and thoughtful, they’ll respect your ideas and, in turn, listen to what you have to say.

3. Go to All Office Networking Events

Never skip the office Christmas party, your coworker’s retirement party, or any office birthday parties, wedding showers, or congratulatory parties for colleagues.

If others see you as a team player, it will help you rise in your company. These on-site parties will also help you mingle with co-workers whom you might not ordinarily have the chance to see. For special points, help organize one or two of these get-togethers.

Take the Extra Step to Show Your Value to the Company

Managers and HR staff know that it can be less risky – and a lot less costly — to promote from within. As internal staff, you likely have a good grasp of the authority structure and talent pool in the company, and know how to best navigate these networks in achieving both the company’s goals and your own.

The late Nobel-Prize winning economist, Gary Becker, coined the term “firm-specific,” which describes the unique skills required to excel in an individual organization. You, as a current employee, have likely tapped into these specific skills, while external hires may take a year or more to master their nuances.

Know that your experience within the company already provides value, then find ways to add even more value, using these tips:

4. Show Initiative

Commit yourself to whatever task you’re given, and make a point of going above and beyond.

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Position yourself so that you’re ready to take on any growth opportunities that present themselves. If you believe you have skills that have gone untapped, find a manager who will give you a chance to prove your worth.

Accept any stretch assignment that showcases your readiness for advancement. Stay late, and arrive early. Half of getting the best assignments is sticking around long enough to receive them.

5. Set Yourself Apart by Staying up on Everything There Is to Know About Your Company and Its Competitors

Subscribe to and read the online trade journals. Become an active member in your industry’s network of professionals. Go to industry conferences, and learn your competitors’ strategies.

Be the on-the-ground eyes and ears for your organization to stay on top of industry trends.

6. Go to Every Company Meeting Prepared and Ready to Learn

A lot of workers feel meetings are an utter waste of time. They’re not, though, because they provide face-time with higher-ups and those in a position to give you the growth opportunities you need.

Go with the intention of absorbing information and using it to your advantage — including the goals and work styles of your superiors. Respect the agenda, listen more than you speak, and never beleaguer a point.

Accelerate Your Career Growth Opportunities

A recent study found that the five predictors of employees with executive potential were: the right motivation, curiosity, insight, engagement, and determination. These qualities help you stand out, but it’s also important to establish a track record of success and to not appear to be over-reaching in your drive to move up in your company.

Try to see yourself from your boss’s position and evaluate your promote-ability.

Do you display a passion and commitment toward meeting the collective goals of the company? Do you have a motivating influence with team members and show insight and excellence in all your work?

These qualities will place you front and center when growth opportunities arise.

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Use these strategic tips to escalate your opportunities for growth:

7. Find a Mentor

With mentorship programs fast disappearing, this isn’t always easy. But you need to look for someone in the company who has been promoted several times and who also cares about your progress.

Maybe it’s the person who recommended you for the job. Or maybe it’s your direct supervisor. It could even be someone across the hall or in a completely different department.

Talk to her or him about growth opportunities within your company. Maybe she or he can recommend you for a promotion.

8. Map out Your Own Growth Opportunity Chart

After you’ve worked at the company for a few months, work out a realistic growth chart for your own development. This should be a reasonable, practical chart — not a pie-in-the-sky wish list of demands.

What’s reasonable? Do you think being promoted within two years is reasonable? What about raises? Try to inform your own growth chart with what you’ve heard about other workers’ raises and promotions.

Once you’ve rigorously charted a realistic path for your personal development within the company, try to talk to your mentor about it.

Keep refining your chart until it seems to work with your skills and proven talents. Then, arrange a time to discuss it with your boss.

You may want to time the discussion around the time of your performance review. Then your boss can weigh in with what he feels is reasonable, too.

9. Set Your Professional Bar High

Research shows that more than two-thirds of workers are just putting in their time. But through your active engagement in the organization and commitment to giving your best, you can provide the contrast against others giving lackluster performances.

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Cultivate the hard skills that keep you on the cutting edge of your profession, while also refining your soft skills. These are the attributes that make you better at embracing diverse perspectives, engendering trust, and harnessing the power of synergy.

Even if you have an unquestionably left-brain career — a financial analyst or biotechnical engineer, for example — you’re always better off when you can form kind, courteous, quality relationships with colleagues.

Let integrity be the cornerstone of all your interactions with clients and co-workers.

The Bottom Line

Growth opportunities are available for those willing to purposely and adeptly manage their own professional growth. As the old adage says,

“Half of life is showing up.”

The other half is sticking around so that when your boss is looking for someone to take on a more significant role, you are among the first who come to mind.

Remember, your career is your business!

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Featured photo credit: Zach Lucero via unsplash.com

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