Thursday, October 4, 2012

You’re Fired: Do’s and Don’ts

By Kelsey McWilliams, Marketing Intern at CU-Boulder Career Services

Getting fired from a job is a terrible feeling, but unfortunately it can happen to the best of us. In the heat of the moment you will be filled with emotion, but there are some very important steps you must take and guidelines you must adhere to.

Keep Your Cool
No matter how angry and sad you may feel, it is very important to stay calm. Always be respectful to your coworkers and superiors, and do not lash out in the heat of the moment. Trust us, you will be remorseful later. As tempting as it may be to post an angry Facebook status or tweet, you will also undoubtedly regret informing all of your friends and followers that you were fired. Instead of lashing out, confide only in those who you trust and love, surrounding yourself with people who can support you through this tough time. Keeping your cool will help you move on quicker in the long run.

Respect the Company
While you may feel like sending out an angry email to your boss or coworkers, refrain. The things you say and write can be held against you and will absolutely tarnish your reputation. No matter how you feel about the company, never badmouth it – this could seriously prevent you from being able to find another job. Don’t forget that future employers will be calling your old company for references, and you want them to have good things to say about you. A bitter, hostile exit will put you in a horrible situation as far as finding a new job.

Think Before You Sign
Many companies offer severance agreements to employees they fire. These forms release the company from legal cases surrounding your employment. Take your time on signing this form. It is best to run it by a lawyer and consider negotiating a higher payment if you deserve one. Also make sure that you are not a victim of wrongful termination. Experts estimate that more than 250,000 workers are unjustly fired every year, so make sure that this does not happen to you.

Consider Unemployment Benefits
If you qualify for these compensation benefits then you should definitely apply right away. Contact your state unemployment office for specific cases on whether or not you qualify. Most fired employees do qualify as long as you weren’t fired for misconduct.

Cut Back
Think again about how you’re spending your money while unemployed. This would be a great time to get your finances in order, review your budgets and cut back on expenses. Assume that another job is not just around the corner because it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Look Back
Once you’ve cooled down, think about what happened that led to your firing. Is there anything you could have done differently? This is a very important conversation to have with yourself because it could mean the difference between finding success at your next job and a future of unemployment.

Keep Your Head Up
No matter what happened towards the end, the company hired you for a reason in the first place and other employers will see that too! Try not to let yourself be discouraged and remember that you are not alone. Start looking for and interviewing for new jobs while remembering that everything happens for a reason. This closed door could open an even better one in the future! Be positive about your prospects.