Good-bye job, hello new opportunity!

Publication date: 
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Question: 

I just got let go from my job. I was told I was better suited to a more conventional environment (I was working for a boutique hotel), which is possibly true, but it came completely out of the blue and I have to say I was really unprepared for it. I’m completely dumbfounded. Any suggestions for coping?

Answer: 

I was going to give you the we've-all-been-there line but it’s probably better if I tell you that I’m totally with you on that. To be exact: I didn’t get fired, but poss.ca will be no longer as of March 31 (and possibly sooner) and everyone on the team got their layoff notice just recently. So, I can empathize with feeling dumbfounded and being unprepared — that’s pretty much what I’ve been feeling since getting the bad news. In order to help myself and now help you to deal with the situation, I went back to our archives and found some advice we could both use.

How can you tell?
There are certain signs that indicate that you might get that pink slip. With poss.ca, we were always aware that our funding might not get extended in the new year, so despite feeling dumbfounded I should take back that “unprepared” part and say in all honesty the possibility was always there. As for your situation, in the article You're Fired! 20 Signs That a Pink Slip Is Coming, Paul Michael lists warnings, for example, you’ve been given time off or less responsibility, your company becomes part of a merger or, alternatively, gets bought out. Another indication is that you’ve faked your attitude in order to get the job and now it's coming out, all that faking, and it’s obvious to your bosses that you're not such a good fit after all. Sometimes it can be something as simple and cruel as the managerial staff changing. And sometimes the only sure sign is when you have a gut feeling, although I’d dissuade you from being too superstitious about that. You don’t want to get all paranoid in your next job and think that the pink slip might happen at any moment just because you’re having a bad day or a bad feeling. Perhaps the only thing you can be sure of is what actually happens, which is … you get fired.

How can you cope?

  • Breathe. You'll get through this. It's not the end of the world. (I’ve been doing a lot of breathing lately. Since the layoff notice, some moments I feel like running out of the office and — well, I’m not sure what exactly, because I’ve been telling myself to calm down and to count to 10 and to take very deep breaths. It works. I don’t run out of the office.)
  • Give yourself a bit of time to recover and soon you'll be able to get right back on track. According to the Tips to Turn Your Career Crisis Into a Success Story article, with crisis situations, “once you are open to being challenged by such an event, you are able to identify it faster and, consequently, put together an adequate response quickly. One has to learn to put a crisis, however large, behind oneself and be willing to move on. You have to learn to wait and stay optimistic.”
  • Don't worry about it. Yeah, I know — I’ve been hearing that one too (also, “It’ll all work out”). But perhaps it will help both of us to know that this change, however negative, is only temporary. Nick Corcodilos in the Getting Fired Is a State of Mind article says that being fired is only a subjective judgment of who you are and “one boss’s fire is another boss’s hire.” You and I will find something. You in a more conventional establishment ,perhaps, and me in another online magazine, hopefully (because I love what I do!).
  • Remember: you're not a failure. Corcodilos writes that, often, getting fired reflects just one boss's impression of you, not necessarily who you are as a person, and your overall reputation and credentials actually say more about you than the incident itself. Plus, you can easily re-establish yourself with a new employer; it’s never too late, and one termination does not a reputation make. As for the layoff folks, let’s try not to take this personally because it isn’t! In my case, we got our funding cut, which is, sadly, a typical occurrence in this modern economy. I’m not saying that this makes it okay but I am saying that it’s beyond our control, so we might as well start moving on, instead of moping around and trying to figure out what went wrong with the economy.
  • Perhaps you can see getting fired as healthy criticism — not to be harsh, but if you sincerely lacked the talents and skills to do the job properly, you might want to get the training or experience before taking another similar job. If the problem was being the wrong fit and/or in the wrong job, the sooner you understand that the better and the more it’ll help you to move on. Anyway — you need to be honest with yourself about that and treat the negative feedback in a way that might aid you. In my freelance work I get a fair number of rejections, as one does with freelance. I always treat this as constructive feedback and try to learn from it so that in the future there will be fewer and fewer reasons to reject my pitches.
  • Important: do not burn any bridges. You don’t want to insult your soon-to-be-former boss because you never know whom she or he is connected to or if she or he will be called for a reference. Also, ask for a severance package or any outstanding bonuses. As for me, it’s been quite stressful over here but everyone in management is trying to be helpful — no one feels good about what happened to poss.ca. Proof? You’re reading this article — it’s not like our bosses are trying to tell us to be quiet about it and pretend it didn’t happen.
  • Leave like a boss (ha). Gather your belongings and make a quiet and dignified exit. Avoid walking around moping. Don’t worry about informing everyone about being let go and saying good-bye to everybody including the overnight custodian. Tell your closest co-workers and leave it at that. Here at poss.ca we’re talking about taking a group photo in which we wear our stripe-y shirts (we wear an unhealthy amount of stripe-y shirts around here — a total coincidence), looking sad about the sinking ship that we’re on.

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Poss.ca is a free online magazine to help Toronto job seekers find work. An initiative of Findhelp Information Services, poss.ca is an Employment Ontario project funded in part by the Government of Canada.

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