The definitive guide to not freaking out if you get fired

8 Oct

If you’ve uprooted your life and are living paycheck to paycheck to fulfill your dream of calling New York City home, it goes without saying that your job is central to keeping you here. But what if it goes away? Do you have a plan?

Do yourself a favor and take yourself through this series of questions:

• Ex-nay on the self-pity and panic. Losing self-control uses energy you should be investing in finding a new job. While everyone else is losing time wallowing, you’ll be proactively on to the next thing. Hey, it’s not cancer. You will be OK.

• Save money. If you don’t have an emergency stash, I will not sugar coat this for you: Be very afraid. Start one. Yesterday.

• Make a list of everyone who could bail you out if you lose your job. Contact these people NOW, just to check in. Think about who has  connections, and who could get you informational interviews or offer freelance/contract work.

• Talk to anyone who’s ever been fired. Chances are, they are better off now than they were. Many of the people I know who have been fired like their jobs and circumstances better now than they did the day before they got fired.

• Remember past employers. What skills would allow you to have income again right away? Did you work at a diner in college? At a retail chain that has stores in the city? Do you know how to bartend? If you have no savings to fall back on, kiss your vanity goodbye and get any job you can while you keep looking.

Speaking of can….If you get canned:

• Listen to what’s being said regarding your severance pay, benefits, etc. Remove yourself emotionally, if only for those five minutes, to hear them out, because this is important stuff.
• Do not show anger, and try not to cry. (See: “You assholes! How can you do this to me? I have bills to pay!”) Despite what you may believe, nobody owes you a job, and that’s a fact.
• Don’t burn a bridge. Assuming they want to, the people firing you today may be able to hire you back someday soon. If you are still interested in having a career at this company, let that be known. It shows your professionalism and forward-thinking…ness.

In conclusion, I hope none of you gets fired. But if you do, PLEASE remember that IT WILL BE OK. You are young, probably not a homeowner, probably not a parent yet and your best days are ahead of you. Don’t wait until the day you get the boot to make preparations for what comes next. You owe it to yourself!

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One Response to “The definitive guide to not freaking out if you get fired”

  1. Brittany Landgrebe 10/08 at 5:37 pm #

    The great thing now and for whenever my hubby and I do move to NYC is he gets a pension for being injured in the line of duty (USMC, Baghdad, Candy Shop), so we have that to tie us over if he loses his job. Which is unlikely, as he’s an EMT.

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