Shared Wisdom

What to do if you were let go . . . yesterday?

by John Roland

Editors note: Starting this week, The Newnan Times-Herald is introducing a new feature in our Sunday business section. “Shared Wisdom” will feature a rotating cast of authors whose columns aim to motivate, educate and inspire readers.

Few things are more stressful in life than going through job transition. It stinks even if it is completely mutual and amicable. Even if you are let go due to the company facing major financial issues and it is not your fault, it is stressful for all involved and spouses feel like the helpless adult supervising their teenager learning to drive. How can this be positive? What do you do?

1. How you react in the first 48 hours is key. • Put a positive spin on it. • Need to inform family and close friends. • Lay low during the first few days. • Breath deeply, God is in control. • Lots of good people before you have been fired and gone on to have successful careers.

2. Lay low during the first 48 hours • Resist the urge to job hunt. • Be open with close family and friends. • Write an exit statement about job. • Begin personal financial evaluation. • Start dreaming. • Make sure you sleep 8 hours a day, every day.

3. Separate from your former employer • Exchange property ASAP. • Agree on the reason for your departure. • Negotiate the terms of your separation and get it behind you. • Negotiate the way your departure will be described to potential employers in the future.

4. Organizations are just trying to survive • You are going to feel resentful about people at your old job. They wronged you. • But listen closely: they are just trying to survive also. • They aren’t different from you and me, no matter how much you feel they wronged you. • You need to make a list of all the good qualities that person has and send them an email (when you are ready) why you think they are good at what they do. Thank them.

5. Don’t do anything rash or bitter • As satisfying as it might be to send former co-workers or client lists an email about everything that’s wrong with that company, don’t do it. • You need to protect your reputation now more than ever, and a bitter, hostile exit will make that impossible.

6. Release your anger • Talk out your anger with a counselor or minister. • Write out all of the gory details in a journal. • Define the offense – how were your expectations not met? • Give up the desire for revenge. Get mad, but don’t get even; get ahead.

7. File for unemployment • People often think that only laid-off employees are eligible for these benefits. • However, in most states, fired employees can collect too, as long as they weren’t fired for intentional misconduct. • It can take a while for benefits to kick in, so file right away. • No shame in taking advantage of this benefit. • Discuss funding that might be available for retraining.

8. Take an objective look at what happened. • Once a few days have gone by and you’ve started to process the news, take an objective look at what happened. • Don’t feel defensive or ashamed; try to see it the way an outsider might. • Do you understand why your boss let you go? • Are there lessons that you can learn for your next job?

9. Get your finances in order • Trim your budget for the next few months, and cut out any expenses you can. • Assume that you might not have any money coming in for at least a few months, so pare your spending down to the essentials. • Develop a financial plan that takes the worst case scenario into account. • Organize and analyze your financial portfolio. • Get professional financial help – free help available from groups like Consumer Credit Counseling Service.

10. Find a career coach. I highly recommend finding one and you can usually write these job search expenses off on your taxes (consult with an accountant first). For those in Atlanta, I highly recommend Dave O’Farrell. Attend a Job seeker meeting for networking and advice.

11. Set health care appointments • If you’ve been putting off any health care appointments, make them now. • You’ll probably still have your employer’s health care until the end of the month, so get any doctor and dentist appointments in while you still have insurance. • You can also choose to extend your coverage through the federal program COBRA.

12. Anticipate a Great Outcome • Decide right now to have a positive outlook! • Seek adversity as an opportunity. Some of the great success stories came after people were fired. • Place your career in God’s hands. God is GOOD and He truly is in control. 13. “The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you. We are in charge of our attitudes.” – Charles Swindoll * * *

John Roland is happily married to Amy, a father of three great kids, a non-profit executive, a Christ-follower. Follow him on Twitter at @jaroland74

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