You’re Fired. Dismissed. Discharged. Terminated. Put on notice. Sacked. Got the boot. Marching orders. Pink slip.
Those are words that invoke all sorts of feelings. Whether you have ever had to fire someone or you have been fired, it can be a terrible experience. Could we forget how many people Donald Trump fired on his TV show? It’s not that easy. Some of the most famous and recognizable people have been fired: Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey, J.K. Rowling, Thomas Edison, Julia Child, Jerry Seinfeld, Walt Disney and more. They rose above and came out the other end on top.
So why are people ashamed when they “get their pink slip”? Change is hard on people. Involuntary change can be devastating. At the most basic and reasonable level, we feel loss. If you do not find another job right away, you have a loss of income. Sometimes you lose more than just the job. Some people lose themselves.
You’re fired. Those are just words. They do not define you. You are more than your job. You have talents, dreams, aspirations. There are plenty of self-help websites and articles about what not to do after the loss of a job. I listed a few resources at the end of this post. Here are some tips on what you could do to stay positive:
- Put together a resume. If you already have one, update it.
- Find a mentor. Discuss success strategies.
- Look for a new job.
- Ask yourself: Do you want to stay in the same field? Do you want or need a change? Do you want to try out something completely different?
- Brush up on your computer and work skills. Check out what your local library is offering for free.
- Watch TedTalks and inspirational YouTube videos. Listen to podcasts.
- Take up a hobby. Read. Do something fun.
- Take care of yourself.
- Exercise. Keep moving.
- Eat healthy and drink water.
- Get into nature and soak in the world. Nature can be a reminder that the world is much bigger than whatever you are facing at the time.
- Meditate. Be in the moment. Practice mindfulness.
- Lean on your support system of family and friends.
This is a great time to evaluate yourself, your job, and your future. Reflect on what went wrong. Reflect on the past, present, and future. Write about it:
- What did you love about your job?
- What things came naturally?
- What aspects didn’t you enjoy ?
- What skills did you learn?
- What obstacles did you face?
- How would you handle those now?
- What went well?
- What contributed to those successes?
- What is your dream job?
It’s important to not let this moment define you. You are not your job. You are worth more than your paycheck. Accept what happened, understand your role, and begin again. How do you respond in an interview to why you were fired? You answer like you do any other question:
- Be honest.
- Be direct and stick to the facts.
- Be positive.
If you do all these things, you will be open to an amazing new journey. Breathe. Take it in. Embrace it.
~I’m here to help
I didn’t have the common problem of dealing with low self-esteem that comes with being fired because I was confident in all I had accomplished, my skills, and the knowledge I had acquired. I never felt resentment towards a replacement, which I have read is common. Months prior to being let go, I spent time cleaning up any projects and loose ends to make way for my eventual replacement. I was hoping for more time as I tried to get my position ready for a new candidate because I saw the writing on the wall.
I found employment right away and have been blessed to work with amazing people. I kept busy with my new job and developed new management skills. But I still didn’t discuss what had happened to me. I don’t talk about the sexual harassment or the emotional abuse I endured. I was ashamed mostly because the library world is small and rumors surface. It’s frustrating because I haven’t heard anything that I could say “oh yes, that happened”. So, like many people who are fired, I reflected on what happened, learned from it, and moved on. My team, patrons, and family lifted me up and made me feel whole again. I have a new found strength. You grow when you learn from your mistakes and, if you are open to a new journey, amazing things can happen.
One lesson I learned was the job will be there and the library (or business) will go on without me. I made time to go back to school and finish my masters degree. I made time to take care of myself and spend time with family and friends. I widened my network of librarians, started mentoring people, and created this blog. I made time for things bigger than my day-to-day job.
Recently one of my patrons, Peggy, said “You have shown me more about librarians and how libraries are supposed to be than anyone before. And I have spent my whole life loving libraries.” That was an amazing statement coming from someone who is 85 years old and loves libraries. It’s why I do what I do. I try to be the best leader for our field that I can be. I have been blessed in my current position as the Outreach Services Manager. Outreach Services is all about impact within the communities we serve. We put a personal spin on those we touch and let them experience the library from a new point of view. Although Outreach Services isn’t always seen as a vital role, I believe Outreach Services is the leading trend in customer focused positions, in both the library and the corporate world. There is no greater impact than being out in the community and showcasing what we do and what we can be for our patrons.
Thank you for being on this journey with me. Write me and share your stories.
BBC. 2015. “What does it feel like to be fired?” BBC. Retrieved from: http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20151009-when-i-suddenly-lost-my-job-it-was-like-being-in-a-different-universe
Carter, Sherrie Bourg. 2011. Seven Things to Avoid After Being Fired. Psychology Today. Retrieved from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/high-octane-women/201108/seven-things-avoid-after-being-fired
Colley, Beth. 2016. After Being Fired, Answer the Job Interview Question: Why Did You Leave Your Job? Job-Hunt. Retrieved from: http://www.job-hunt.org/job_interviews/answering-why-you-left-fired.shtml
Conlan, Catherine. 7 things you should never do after getting fired: Don’t let your emotions run away with you. Monster. Retrieved from: http://www.monster.com/blog/b/7-things-never-do-fired-0130
Gillett, Rachel. 2015. 21 highly successful people who rebounded after getting fired. Business Insider. Retrieved from: http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-people-who-were-fired-2015-10
Lee, Tony. Getting Fired or Laid Off: A Survival Guide. Career Cast. Retrieved from: http://www.careercast.com/career-news/getting-fired-or-laid-survival-guide
McLeod, Lea. 2016. 8 Steps to Bouncing Back After Getting Fired. The Muse. Retrieved from: https://www.themuse.com/advice/8-steps-to-bouncing-back-after-getting-fired
Simms, Laura. 5 Empowering Lessons from Being Fired. Tiny Buddha. Retrieved from: http://tinybuddha.com/blog/5-empowering-lessons-from-being-fired/
Spinks, David. 2016. How does it feel to get fired from your job suddenly? LinkedIn. Retrieved from: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/how-does-feel-get-fired-from-your-job-suddenly-brahmanapalli
Wright, Annie. 2016. 101 Self-Care Suggestions for When It All Feels Like Too Much. The Mighty. Retrieved from: http://themighty.com/2016/04/self-care-ideas-for-a-bad-day/