Monday, January 30, 2017

How To: Survive Getting Fired From Your Job


There are only a few things worse than hearing these three words at the workplace: "you are fired". As a gal whose had the honor of hearing them uttered my way in the past, I can tell you that the experience is not pleasant; however, it is one packed with life lessons that if acknowledged, can prove extremely beneficial to one's path of success. So, for anyone who has recently had to endure those faithful words, I'm highlighting 3 steps in this post that will hopefully provide you some guidance on how to not only survive being fired, but also thrive from the experience. 


ACCEPT THE ROLE YOU PLAYED
Most people don't get fired for "no reason". There is typically an action, attitude, behavior, or combination of all that leads one to getting "axed" by an employer. In my case, it was definitely a combo deal. My firing experience dates back to that fateful time in my life when I was working as a cocktail waitress in a local New Orleans nightclub. It is important to point out that I was miserable at the time. I was not happy to be working there (it was not my dream job by any means) and as a result, my attitude and behavior was poor. I was impolite to rude customers, paid little attention to client requests which meant I mixed up drink orders a lot, and on several occasions refused to clean up the floors at the end of the night when requested to by my co-workers/supervisor. It was no surprise to me that after a few months, I was let go. I did not have the right attitude while working there and my behavior reflected that. Sometimes, a firing is an unfair occurrence; sometimes, it is actually earned. 

USE YOUR NEW-FOUND TIME WISELY
There is a silver lining in every cloud. While getting fired from a job can create a sense of financial insecurity and stress (which is understandable since you still have to pay bills and eat), it is important to also look out for the opportunities in every situation -- to develop your skill set or improve your physical and mental wellbeing. When I was let go, I did a few things during my unemployed time period; I started studying my Bible and learning how to hear / listen to the Holy Spirit, I began volunteering at Second Harvest Food Bank in New Orleans 2-3 days a week (working in the kitchen packaging after-school lunches for inner city kids from low-income households), and I also joined a screenwriters meet-up group in the area (we were a group of 6 writers that met once a week to discuss books we'd read on the art of storytelling and critique each other's writing samples to help one another improve our story crafting abilities).

Is there a class, course, or training you can register for during this period to help increase your knowledge and implementation of a particular skill or speciality (e.g. if you are interested in filmmaking, signing up for a screenwriting or directing course would be a great route to take)? Is there a weekly workout class at the local gym you can join to help you get more physically active? Are there personal development books you've been planning to read that you can now pick up and finish? Is there an organization or cause you've always wanted to volunteer your time to? There's no time like the present. 

GET BACK IN THE GAME
I know it's painful. I know it seems like a setback. I know you might feel like the wind has been knocked out of you and the future looks bleak from your vantage point. Good news? There is always hope that tomorrow will be better than today. Getting fired from a job does not define your existence unless you allow it to. At first, I felt like a failure when I was fired -- I wasn't even able to keep a simple waitressing job. I allowed myself to wallow in self-pity for a little while (a few weeks or so). Afterwards, I told myself that wallowing was going to keep me in the same spot I already despised and if I didn't do something different, I'd be there for much longer than I'd prefer. So, I began actively participating in my life by taking the steps mentioned above (reading, volunteering, developing my writing skills, etc) and reciting Bible verses and positive affirmations to myself daily (e.g. "For God uses all things to work for the good of those who love Him AND are called according to His Will" - Romans 8:28).

You have the choice to do better -- to have a better attitude when it comes to dealing with people and diverse working environments, to learn more about the industry you desire to be in so that you can eventually position yourself as a valuable asset within it, to work hard when you are assigned a work task or responsibility, and to be grateful for each day God has kept you on this earth clothed, fed, and breathing. You have the choice to get back into the "game" of life more determined and hopefully more skilled than before. One great step to take is actively searching / applying for job openings in your field of interest and attending networking events in your area.  

And there you have it -- my tips for surviving getting fired from a job. 

Have you ever been fired from a job before? If yes, how did you handle it? If no, how do you think you'd handle it? 

I'd love to know. 

Until the next post, folks. 
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2 comments:

  1. Ada, I can totally, totally, totally relate to your post. I've been fired before and it was really earth-shattering at the time (but thankfully, it produced an equally earth-shattering paradigm shift in me). The only difference with your story is that mine was actually something of a dream job at the time and I was even generally regarded as one of the most hardworking and most knowledgeable staff in the company at the time. The company was going through a serious upheaval due to the loss of a few key clients and had no choice but to downsize.

    A few things changed in me. First, I realized that I cannot build my long term financial security by working for one company for many years. Sometimes, certain things happen that are not in your control or even in the control of the company and that no matter their best interest, sometimes you can be let go. Second, I learnt that its crucially important to keep building your brand. As long as I have valuable skills that are in serious demand by employers, I won't be stuck for long in the unemployment market. Yes, that means a never ending cycle of researching the skill sets required in my industry and constantly updating my repertoire. As one my favorite authors says, "We must all feel one of two pains, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret". I prefer to feel the pain of discipline.
    Also, its also great to work harmoniously with your colleagues. I remember so many of my ex-colleagues making calls on my behalf and reaching out to their contacts to see if there were any openings in their organizations. Also, having a great professional network is invaluable. The more people that know you and can vouch for your professional capabilities, the easier it would be to get interview invitations and recommendations.

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  2. I love everything about your comment, Don -- great additions! Everything you said is 100% on point, with my best sections below:

    "Second, I learnt that its crucially important to keep building your brand. As long as I have valuable skills that are in serious demand by employers, I won't be stuck for long in the unemployment market. Yes, that means a never ending cycle of researching the skill sets required in my industry and constantly updating my repertoire. As one my favorite authors says, "We must all feel one of two pains, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret". I prefer to feel the pain of discipline.
    Also, its also great to work harmoniously with your colleagues. I remember so many of my ex-colleagues making calls on my behalf and reaching out to their contacts to see if there were any openings in their organizations. Also, having a great professional network is invaluable. The more people that know you and can vouch for your professional capabilities, the easier it would be to get interview invitations and recommendations."

    What great insight -- you definitely knew what to focus on :)

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