How To Cope With Getting Fired With Professional Swagger And StyleGina Vaynshteyn

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.

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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.

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  1. i was recently fired from my job of six years and i’ve been feeling a bit down in the dumps about it. after reading this, it most definitely put me in gear to get back out there and find something much better. thank you!

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  3. This is a very positive post. I have never been fired, but I have changed several jobs for different reasons. I totally agree that burning the bridges is a bad choice. It’s always nice to have a backup person to give you a reference.
    Also, being fired is a sign – can’t agree more. Sometimes it is a blessing because you get that final kick you needed to find something more convenient, something better. The pause in between can be stressful, if you don’t have savings, but, using the time wisely, it is a chance to do what you always wanted to try out – new hobbies, backpacking, reading more books? Life is too short to be stuck in a job you don’t like.

  4. Thanks for posting! I was “let go” last Friday, with a month to stay at the office, apply to other jobs, still have an income, etc. (Which is awesome and rare. The software I service isn’t doing well, and they can’t afford me). I wasn’t too down about it, but I have my moments of being sad. Thanks for the encouragement!

    • that IS rare! i’ve had friends who were given no time at all to look for other jobs, and it really is a bummer either way, because we all know it takes awhile to find a job.

      Gina Vaynshteyn | 3/06/2013 03:03 pm
  5. Thanks for posting! I was “let go” last Friday, with a month to stay at the office, apply to other jobs, still have an income, etc. (Which is awesome and rare. The software I service isn’t doing well, and they can’t afford me). I wasn’t too down about it, but I have my moments of being sad. Thanks for the encouragement!

  6. Thanks for these tips, I’m sure they will be really helpful! Although I know that you stated that to avoid being asked about being fired we should say the job is still current but what if they eventually found out that we were fired at our previous job, couldn’t that set us up to be fired at the job we now just got? Or at least put us on their radar because now the know we’re a liar? I don’t know, that was just a thought that I had. :)

    Great tips though! I’m going to pin it so others can see! :)

    • I think if your manager finds out, months after witnessing your work ethic and getting to know you as a person, they will let that slide. Because honestly, it’s hard and usually expensive to fire people, so they’ll avoid it!

      Gina Vaynshteyn | 3/06/2013 12:03 pm