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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.

More by this author

Lianne Martha Maiquez Laroya

Lianne is a licensed financial advisor, Registered Financial Planner, entrepreneur and book author.

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Last Updated on March 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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