I was once being terminated by my employer as part of downsizing our team and it came to me both as a shock and a wake up call to put my career path in check. I realized that no one is indispensable – think about the case of Twitter’s former CEO Dick Costolo who in papers said he stepped down but his circle says he got fired from job. If it happened to him, it could happen for the rest of the workforce. Here are tips on how to handle the situation and avoid it in the future.
Before it happens;
Don’t ignore the signs. I should have seen it coming. I got fewer and fewer assignments, there were rumors of downsizing, and someone even asked me if I were quitting. Amid these signs, I spent my savings on a vacation and even bought a Macbook Air because I was expecting that the next paycheck would cover for those spendings. Remember that there’s always a tinge of truth behind rumors.
Save, save, and save. A friend advised me to keep at least two months salary as a buffer, after which I could spend for whatever I want to enjoy what I work for. I save by keeping away a fixed amount of my monthly salary, buying healthier food, paying for expensive but more durable clothes, and having a fixed budget for Friday night outs. Had I saved that much on the day my manager talked to me, it would have been easier for me to accept the fact and moved on. Instead, I had sleepless nights.
Have the ability to hire and fire your company next time. Choose your next job carefully. During interviews, switch your mindset to being the interviewer rather than the interviewee. After all, working for a company should benefit both ways, not just for you or for them. You can only have the ability to fire your company if you perform beyond expectations.
Plan a good exit strategy when you see it coming. It’s always good to review other opportunities around while you’re employed. Because then you have so much power to negotiate when a job offer from another company is available. Update your resume and send them to potential employers even when you’re not looking for a job.
When it happens;
Accept that you’re fired. Human tendency is to deny bad news. In my case, I even asked myself why me and not a non-performer. It was a waste of time. As I gathered composure and accepted my fate, I jotted down the best possible outcome from the situation. I mapped a plan, which included using the severance to pay rent in advance, and all maturing debts plus more to avoid interest.
Don’t negotiate to keep the job. My first reaction when I got the notice was to see if I could keep my job longer because I couldn’t accept that I was being fired. As I managed to keep my job, by having a transfer instead, I felt very insecure and my performance seemed always short of expectations. I couldn’t look straight up to defend my proposals even though I backed them up with numbers and tons of research. I took every criticism personally and it affected even my health. I couldn’t say it was totally a wrong move as it gave me time to look for another job and make plans so consider this point before negotiating.
Revisit your strengths and weaknesses. Acceptance also allowed me to re-evaluate my strengths and weaknesses and future choices of jobs. I also asked myself what I love doing instead of which job pays more. My main weakness was speaking Chinese even at the basic level. So now I study Chinese during weekends.
Cry and move on. On that Friday night, I talked to a friend and felt embarrassed about my situation. Don’t be, he said. “You’re not the first person on earth to be fired so be sad for a while, and then move on,” he noted. I gave myself some time to feel bad because that’s a normal reaction.
Build your own startup company. This is one of the best times to think about the things that you really want to do, to be your own boss and have things your way. It is for this very reason that MillionDC.com was conceptualized and became a reality. Being fired forced me to think hardly on what I should have been doing productively with my free time. Your business idea shouldn’t be something big, it could be as simple as a website about your hobby.
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