5 Tips For Getting Back On Track
1. Don't panic
Decisions made in the heat of the moment often lead to regret. While it may seem like it would be a really awesome story to shout at your boss, tell all those coworker you always hated how you feel, and destroy some company property along the way – it's not. You'll regret it later.
Also, don't go the other direction and just walk out. You've been fired, and now this is a high-stakes deal that's going down. Be sure to get what you can out of the deal. In other words, don't cut your nose off to spite your face.
People get fired from all types of jobs – you might have been fired after six months working the register at The Gap, or after 15 years pushing a pencil for corporate.
You might not have much leverage in the first example, but it's still worth discussing how they will portray you as an employee to future employers, as well as WHY you were fired so you can avoid getting fired for the same reason in the future. You may have a bit more leverage if you've put in a decade or so at one company, including a severance package, help finding a new job, or even negotiating an ‘exit story' that you voluntarily quit rather than got fired.
At this point in the game, it'll pay off to be smart before rash.
2. Take some time to feel sorry for yourself
You don't have to start Day 2 looking for a job. You're not going to be in the best mood, your concentration will be off, and sometimes it feels good to wallow in self pity. Set aside a couple days or a week to think things over. You don't have to make a plan at this point, but just take the time to reflect on what happened and make some broad plans for the near future.
Get some exercise, go to a movie, take some friends out to coffee (or be alone if that's your thing). Don't run off to Maui or Thailand just yet, but think of it as a mini vacation.
3. Stop feeling sorry for yourself
Eventually you're going to need to get yourself into gear. It's not going to be as fun as feeling sorry for yourself, but it needs to be done. Remember, while you may think the world is coming to an end, the rest of the world just keeps on turning, and life goes on as usual. No one outside of your immediate circle of friends or family cares about your woes. It's tough to say, but it's true.
You are the captain of your own ship, and you decide where it's going to go. If you sit around doing nothing, you'll drift with the current and go nowhere. If you panic and forward your resume to every person you ever met or make a Facebook announcement that you're desperate for a job, you'll also get nowhere (but a little bit faster).
It's time to take action, but let's make a plan first.
3. Revamp your resume
Take a look at your resume. Not just your work resume, but your personal resume as well. This will depend on your age as well as job and life experience, but you need to get a broad picture of where you've been in order to see where you can go.
You should look for mistakes that you can correct in the future, as well as accomplishments that you should commend yourself for. Notice the failures, but pay more attention to the successes. We need a confidence boost at this point.
This is a good time to look up on Google how to write and submit a resume properly. Your job search is about to begin, and you DON'T want to be ‘willy-nilly' about this thing. Don't just group-send an application to any job available.
Research your industry (or job interests if you're looking for temp work). The actual job application process will vary greatly based on personal situation. Like I mentioned above, you may be looking for a part time job to pay for college, or you could be looking for a way to pay the bills and feed the kids. I'm sure there's plenty of advice on Google about both situations.
4. Make use of your time
You may be looking for a new source of income for a while, so plan your time accordingly. Don't assume that you'll find something within the week, or even month.
Think of a couple ways you can make use of your time. Buy some books on career advancement, take a course at the local college, take an online course, start a new (cheap) hobby, or start a blog.
Having goals and focusing on them will help to pass the time productively. No doubt your new employer will ask what you've done with your time being laid off. If you say, “Not much, just looking for a job”, it's not going to give a very good impression. If you've actually done something productive with your time, you'll not only feel better when the ordeal is over, but it will reflect well on your work ethic.
5. Think of this as an opportunity
Number 5 is going to be tough because getting laid off is looked at in such a negative light by everyone that it's hard to see any good about it.
But, if I can get a bit philosophical here, you never know how opportunities are born. There's a great Chinese story about a wealthy horse owner I'll write below. It's one of my favorites from my time spent in China.
There was a land owner in a village in ancient China. One day, one of his best stallions ran away. All of the villagers felt sorry for him and when he passed by on the road they felt sorry for him and the terrible luck he had.
He only said, “Sometimes a good situation can from something bad.”
A few days later the horse came back and brought a wild mare along back with him. The villagers now were happy for him and what great luck he had.
He only said, “Sometimes a bad situation can come from something good.”
A weeks later his son was riding the mare and she bucked him off. He broke his leg, and the doctor said that he would never fully recover 100%. (remember, it's ancient China)
The villagers now talked about how bad the old man's luck was that his son had such a terrible accident.
He only said, “Sometimes a good situation can from something bad.”
A few years later civil war broke out and the military required that all able-bodied men enlist to fight. Because of the sons injury, he did not have to go to, and was spared the horrors of war.
Cool story, right? Just remember, that this may be the beginning of the best times of your life. Try to think of things in terms not of what you're unable to do now, but instead as an unexpected opportunity to change your future for the better.
6. Consider starting an online business
I write a lot about online business and entrepreneurship here on One More Cup of Coffee, and now that you've got the time and the motivation, it's a great opportunity to start making money online.
It's relatively easy to start your own website, and you do not have to be a super-hacker or genius-entrepreneur to make money by making simple, informative websites affiliated with various companies and their products.
I started knowing nothing, and now I do this full time.
I can't guarantee that you'll be making money next week, but if you work at this for a couple months, you could AT LEAST be getting a little bit of income (remember with no job, your income is $0).
Eventually, you may want to do this full time instead of looking for a new boss.
In fact, taking control of your income may be a good decision at this point.