(This an updated combination of two posts from late 2013)
Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would still smell as sweet.” Does the same sentiment apply to losing your job? Here are a few words and phrases that I’ve heard over the years that all basically mean the same thing: terminated, fired, made available to industry, sacked, canned, separated, exploring other business interests, discharged, axed, RIFed, laid off, whacked, given the opportunity to be successful elsewhere, dismissed, and let go. Did I miss any?
There are subtle differences between some of these words but otherwise they are all variations on a theme with different levels of sensitivity or compassion mixed in. As you might have been able to tell, I’m compassionate, but I’m not an overly sensitive guy.
The bottom line is that for whatever reason; you don’t work here anymore. It’s time to move on, start networking and find out where you are going to work next. That may be easier said than done, but what’s the alternative, sleep on your mother’s couch?
In 1969 Elisabeth Kubler-Ross published a book called On Death and Dying that changed the way that we looked at the grieving process. Kubler-Ross identified five stages in the grieving process that, with some perspective, can be applied to being fired.
- Denial – No, there must be some mistake – they can’t fire me I’m a good person and a hard worker.
- Anger – It’s not fair! I do way more work than Joe, fire him! This is discrimination!
- Bargaining – There has to be another way. How about if I take a cut in pay? Could I work part-time for a while? Maybe if I get some more training?
- Depression – Whatever – I’ve seen this coming – there is nothing I could have done – I probably deserved it – I should have left when Bob quit.
- Acceptance – Okay, what’s done is done – time to move on and find that next job.
The deal is, that you will not be effective in looking for a new job until you get to stage five. While this may sound harsh, you just need to get over it and move on. You might have been discriminated against; there might have been a chance for you to take a cut in pay; maybe there was a mistake; but at the end of it all, you’re sitting at home on the couch watching Judge Judy when you should be out looking for a new job. No pitty-party, no woe-is-me; it is time to get up, brush off your resume, start networking, and get to it.
Looking for a new job is a full time job. If you let your anger at your former employer come out in your interviews, no one is going to hire you. If you pout and whine during a networking meeting, no one is going to refer you to their contacts. If you can’t get off the couch and make some phone calls, your network isn’t going to grow.
It’s hard, but it’s life. I’ve been there. I’ve seen lots of other people and I am confident that you can too. Now get up, get to work, and let’s find that next job.
If you want more advice on how to write a resume, how to, network or just how to find a job, check out I’m Fired?!? A Business Fable about the Challenges of Losing One Job and Finding Another. Click here for more details.