You’ve given the company the best years of your life and you were willing to go on and on. Are we dramatizing it? Not necessarily. But it is disappointing when your employer fires you.
For the past eight years, you have gone to work ill, you have gone to work when your cat died the day before and you have gone to work on a holiday when your family is enjoying their turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy and little tiny onions.
Suffice to say, you’ve been the Dilbert of the company while everyone else has been Wally.
One day, out of nowhere, you have been given the pink slip. That said, you should never lose your cool, you should never air your grievances and you shouldn’t mope alone in your apartment with the blinds closed listening to Franz Schubert’s “Der Leiermann.” What should you do?
Here are five important things to do that every employment lawyer will tell you when you’re fired:
1. Don’t Burn Bridges at the Company
It can be easy to start smashing your keyboard, yelling profanities at your superiors and stealing the company goldfish. But this is something that you should never do when you’re let go.
Instead of being belligerent and burning bridges, you should calmly speak with the person who has been in charge of firing you. It would also be prudent to talk to management and everyone else who sits above. The point of this is to gain more information, garner references (see below) and maintain a connection for future employment opportunities.
2. Keep Calm & Carry On
Like we said, you mustn’t suddenly morph into a maniac at work. Once you have been informed that you have been terminated, you should merely keep calm and carry on. It is important to grab all of your personal items, sign any documents and return company items to the reception.
This is truly the most professional way to leave your job and leaves a better impression.
3. Ask for a Resignation & Request a Recommendation
There is a big difference for your career between being fired or resigning from your post. And this is something that you should ask for. It is great for your resume and future job applications to note that you resigned from your long-time job rather than being shown the front door.
Moreover, when you speak with management, supervisor or boss, you should request a recommendation. Knowing that you have worked at the job for five, eight or 10 years, the company will likely not have any concerns about providing you with a referral.
4. Stay Away from Social Media for a While
We get it: you’re angry, upset and frustrated; twenty-four hours later and your blood is still boiling. One of the worst things you could do right now is log in to your Facebook or Twitter account and proceed to vent. An employment lawyer understands how this could get anyone into trouble.
Simply put: stay away from your social media for the next little while and occupy your time with something more enjoyable, like playing backgammon online or learning to play the violin.
5. Look for a Job Right Away…or Not
Give yourself a day or two and then head online to look for jobs. It is better to apply for a position immediately instead of waiting a week or two to begin the process.
At the same time, you may not want to do this if you feel you’re stuck in career limbo. Perhaps you don’t want to head into another job where you’ll feel complacent and stuck. Maybe you can get a part-time job to pay the bills, while trying to determine what you want to do with your life.
Depending on the industry you work in and how you feel, applying for jobs or searching for something more is entirely up to you…and your bank account.