Fired from my job, what do I do?
I was working as a consultant at a startup. One of my team members was a brilliant manager named Jason (not his real name).
Jason was not a 10x manager, but he was diligent and interested in his craft. He did everything right and he enjoyed his job. His projects were on time and his metrics were solid.
Until one day, he was called into the CTO’s office
He was told that his performance was sub-par and he was given his 1-month notice period.
We were all baffled
So was Jason. He couldn’t help himself thinking that he must have done something wrong.
You could see that it depressed Jason. He couldn’t see the skills he has, and with the experience he has he could easily find a potentially better job elsewhere, enhancing his career.
How could Jason better approach to this seemingly dire situation?
I took upon coaching Jason out of this situation and he turned the situation around. And it was much easier than he expected.
In this article, we’ll learn techniques that worked for Jason and many others.
First, hang in there and question your mindset
“Getting fired” has a bad connotation, but it is nothing more than a bilateral contract being ended.
There are usually multiple reasons why this happened, and you’ll be surprised to see how many of them aren’t even related to your performance.
In Jason’s case: the company has decided to shut down the product line he was working on. Instead of giving away a bad image about market failure, they decided to tell Jason that he was the one to blame.
The first step is to take a mental break
I’m an independent consultant so I change clients more frequently than an employee. Even after 15 years of independence, I still find it hard to immediately jump on searching for the next client.
Take some time off. Go to that long-postponed holiday. Spend quality time with your family.
A common mistake is to jump into job-searching immediately. Giving your mind the time to heal will make the steps after much easier.
The second step is to decide what you’ll do next
Your skills and experiences have got you to this job. There is absolutely no reason to think that “you area unemployable”.
You can continue doing what you have been doing.
Or better, you can see it as an opportunity to jump ahead in your career.
You can start shooting for higher-level positions. You can become an independent consultant.
If you are intrigued by becoming an independent consultant I’ve written an ultimate guide to cover all bases. Check it out here.
Ending your current assignment can only be bad if you frame it bad. Frame it as an opportunity to grow, you’ll be off to races in no time.
The third step is to fix your resume / CV
If you have been working for a long time in the company, chances are that your CV is not up to date.
Pimping up your CV is the single-most ROI item that you can do without any cost. I’ve written a guide on how to write a great CV that gets results, on Elizabeth Harrin’s blog. It is a great start.
Preparing your CV has an extra benefit of preparing you for difficult interviews. It is a single piece of representation that can talk about you when you aren’t in the room.
The last step is to apply for jobs and networking
After you have your CV nailed down, you should put it to test by applying for a few jobs in your chosen direction. More interviews you have, more you can perfect your CV and your interview skills.
Be sure that you update your LinkedIn with your new CV
LinkedIn is the google for head hunters. A keyword-rich LinkedIn profile will pop your profile up high in searches.
My LinkedIn profile gets about 500 views per week, thanks to the fact that I keep it up to date.
Bonus: Manage your off-time wisely
Have you been putting off self-development courses for a long time because of heavy work-load? No better time than now to get back on course! Start networking by speaking at local meetups, and recruitment events. Sign up for those courses to improve your soft skills.
Getting fired can feel overwhelming and it is tempting to blame yourself.
This mindset is totally normal. But it will NOT help you to frame it as a positive event for the future.
- Take a mental break
- Decide on next steps
- Refresh your CV
- Network intelligently
And you’ll immediately see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Read my ultimate guide to become an independent consultant if you haven’t already. Even if you aren’t into independent consultancy, it has a lot of tips: i.e. How to prepare a stellar CV, how to nail down interviews, etc.