Getting fired blows, especially if it’s from a job you liked, or needed (perhaps both). Getting fired is like a bad break-up; your world is seemingly forever shattered. You go from wearing sweatpants on Sunday nights to wearing them every day of the week. Cap’n Crunch and Diet Coke become a dinner staple. Although now you have the time to re-watch every single episode of LOST on Netflix and maybe start on that memoir you’ve been planning to write since college, you can’t stop thinking about money, your failing career and how much everything has fallen apart.
If this is you, snap out of it! Your life is not over. There are plenty of fish in sea, and by fish, I mean jobs. You are most likely an amazing, capable person who just happened to either make a mistake or find yourself with a company that probably wasn’t right for you, anyway. Keeping the same, stable job with one company for fifty years with awesome benefits and retirement security isn’t realistic these days, and quite frankly, is so passe. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American goes through ten different jobs before they hit forty. Yes, getting fired is certainly a set-back, but it’s practically expected in this day and age.
People get fired all the time. Andrew Mason, the ex-CEO of Groupon, was recently fired, and instead of feeling totally bummed about the whole thing, he wrote a letter to the company and the public. He began with: “After four and a half intense and wonderful years as CEO of Groupon, I’ve decided that I’d like to spend more time with my family. Just kidding- I was fired today.” He went on to explain that the company wasn’t fairing well under his watch (the company’s stocks were plummeting and copycat companies such as LivingSocial were emerging as serious competition), and the employees of the company deserve better.
Instead of projecting bitterness and depression, Mason stated,
“For those who are concerned about me, please don’t be- I love Groupon, and I’m terribly proud of what we’ve created. I’m OK with having failed at this part of the journey. If Groupon was Battletoads, it would be like I made it all the way to the Terra Tubes without dying on my first ever play though. I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take the company this far with all of you. I’ll now take some time to decompress (FYI I’m looking for a good fat camp to lose my Groupon 40, if anyone has a suggestion), and then maybe I’ll figure out how to channel this experience into something productive.”
Let Andrew Mason be our career spirit guide when it comes to getting fired with grace. These are some tips for those of you who may one day face the dreaded “talk” at work.
1. Don’t burn your bridges.
As much as you may want to over-turn a desk, call your boss out on being an insufferable asshole, or go with yelling, “You can’t fire me if I quite first,” don’t do it. Don’t even text your former co-workers about your feelings, even if this will release some toxic steam that’s been fermenting in your chest since the day you were let go. The reason is because you never know if you’ll need the professional reference, or whether your actions may come back to haunt you. What if you’re applying for a new job and the manager somehow knows your old boss? Or what if the hiring manager finds out about the vengeful prank you pulled on the receptionist you always hated before your two weeks were up? It’s always a good idea to leave the company on good terms, even it’s just for Karma.
2. Don’t bitch about it on Facebook.
Or Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, etc. Not only can your former boss, employees, and co-workers find out, but the company you may want to work for will look you up on Google to see who they are dealing with and come across your rants. The internet is a scary place and very much an open book; don’t let it portray you as a whiner. Bottom line: complaining about how you got fired doesn’t make you look good and the social networking sites you belong to should really be positive environments where everyone can see how great you’re doing, not the opposite.