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You Were Fired: Now What?

Nov 27 , 2015

You can move forward in your career after being fired.

Getting fired can happen to the best of employees due to a variety of reasons, some of which are beyond their control. Firings happen for many reasons other than incompetence or insubordination, and termination from a job can even occur when it is least expected.

Not every job is a good fit for every employee, but circumstances can sometimes force you to stay with a job you don't like or can't do well. When things don't work out with a job despite our best efforts, it can be difficult to cope with a termination and move past it into another job.

Steps to Take After Termination from a Job

There are some steps everyone needs to take after getting fired from a job. Some of these steps can protect them from the adverse effects of a firing, while others can help them move forward successfully.

--Apply for unemployment assistance. Although most people believe that you can't get unemployment assistance if you are terminated, this is often untrue. Anyone who is not employed can file for unemployment assistance and get it if the former employer does not object (and most employers won't object) If the employer does object, there is an appeals process. For circumstances like a hostile work environment, unemployment will be granted even if the employee quits or is terminated.

--Try to part on good terms. Don't react angrily or say things you may later regret when you are terminated. Ask your supervisor for a reference; you may not get one, but depending on the circumstances of the termination, you might. You may also be able to discuss with the HR department the way they will describe your termination to potential employers in the future and encourage them to use neutral terms or not refer to it as a termination.

--Schedule needed health care appointments before benefits stop. You will often retain health care benefits until the end of the month, or even longer if you have a severance package. Take care of health needs during this time when your benefits will cover much of the expense.

--Carefully review any severance package. If the former employer wants you to sign a release in order to get a severance package, examine it carefully to see what rights you are giving up. You may even want to have a lawyer review the agreement to make sure it is fair and you aren't being shortchanged, or try to negotiate for a larger package.

Job searching after being terminated doesn't have to be difficult.

--Keep up with networking - even with former co-workers, clients and vendors of the employer that terminated you. If you stay positive, you can avoid awkwardness and may retain vital contacts that can help you find a new position.

--Process the emotions related to the termination. Being fired is traumatic, and if you pretend otherwise, it could cloud your judgement when it comes to future opportunities. Acknowledge what you are feeling and if necessary, seek out professional help to cope. You will benefit for the rest of your career.

--Stay positive. Find ways to explain your firing that put you in the best possible light. According to Liz Ryan at Forbes, you never have to say the word "fired" or "terminated" to describe what happened. You can be honest, but explain things in a positive light. Never bad-mouth a former employer in an interview; even if what you say is true it doesn't go over well.

GDH Consulting helps IT job seekers grow in their careers and move forward no matter the circumstances.