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How to Deal with Getting Fired

How to Deal with Getting Fired

Getting fired sucks. Not only does rejection sting in any form, but you’ll find yourself in a position where you’re facing a pile of paperwork, no income, and the stress of finding a new job while struggling to keep a roof over your head, food in your stomach, and all your bills current. When you have children or other dependents, things get even harder.

I’m a bank whistleblower, and although I quit my job at the bank, my boss had corporate security call the police to label me a terrorist. I was blacklisted and only barely escaped being incarcerated for speaking out. It affected me more than any other job loss in my life. So, where do you go from that point?

Assess Your Financial Situation

Coping with the reality of being fired is necessary to move on with your life. Just like any other loss, you have to face the different stages of grief, and you had better do it quick because the economy is terrible and you need to focus on staying afloat. The first thing you need to do is get your finances straight. You need to consider:

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1. Unemployment. What was the reason you were fired? Do you qualify for unemployment? Even if you believe you don’t, apply anyway.

2. Food Stamps/Health Care/Financial Assistance. When you lose your job, you also lose your benefits. Your health insurance plan converts to an expensive COBRA plan, and starting this year, you can be fined for not carrying insurance. Apply for state benefits – the application will cover food stamps, health insurance, and financial assistance. Figure out what state benefits you’ve earned.

3. Retirement. If you have a 401k, IRA, or other retirement plan with your old company, call your provider to find out what benefits you’ve had vested. If you don’t have enough in your 401k, you’ll receive a check for the balance, and you can withdraw from it no matter what the balance is. The tax penalties for early withdrawals are stiff, however, so be sure to take this into account.

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4. Savings and Bills. Figure out exactly how much money you have and how much your bills are. You’ll need enough to cover at least three months of expenses. If you don’t have enough, it’s time to start cutting expenses.

Reduce Your Outgoings

Deciding which expenses to cut can be confusing. The first thing to cut is cable, which is the most expensive non-essential bill in most people’s lives. When I lost my job after blowing the whistle on the banks, I cut everything down to rent, electricity, water, and an Internet connection. Nothing else was necessary. I started cooking more to save money, and I learned how little I actually needed to make it through the day happy.

You don’t realize how many bills you actually have. There are recurring payments and wasted opportunities all over your life. Many people are paying for extra premium levels of cable, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Xbox Live, iTunes purchases, cell phone insurance, store warranties, and all sorts of non-essentials that you never use or could easily work around.

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The hardest part about losing your job is the lifestyle change. You have to admit to yourself that you can no longer afford the luxuries you once spent on. You won’t see movies on opening night, eating out is a terrible idea, and you’re better off learning to make your own repairs than paying someone else to do them. It’s not impossible though.

Rally Your Supporters

It’s important to be honest with other people as well. Talk to friends and family about losing your job – they’ll provide emotional support and may even provide financial support. No man is an island, and you’ll need a strong support system to work through your issues. At the very least, they’ll know you can’t afford to spend money, so you’ll avoid a lot of future awkwardness explaining why you can’t afford to hang out with them. When they do invite you to something that costs money or requires you to bring something, they’ll usually let you slide on it as well. Just be careful not to abuse that love – nobody likes a mooch.

If you got fired, there’s nothing you can do about it except pick up the pieces and move forward. Take a little bit of time to yourself to scream and cry it out, and then put on a happy face and get back in the fight.

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Featured photo credit: Mike Joseph via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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