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Is there Life After Getting Fired?

So you got fired.  What now?  Is your career over?  Will any employer be willing to hire you knowing that you were let go?  As upsetting as this situation is, try not to lose your composure.  Many people have been fired from a job and have ended up in a career where they were much happier.  Here are some tips that will help you move past this chapter:

Have an honest and professional conversation with your (previous) employer.  It is important that you understand why you have been let go.  This feedback is valuable information that will help you in your career.  Take ownership for your mistakes and thank them for the opportunity.  If you are professional during this conversation, it will leave the employer with a positive impression of you.   

Make a plan.  So you are not going to work each day.  What are you going to be doing?  Are you going to take a few weeks off to decompress?  Are you going to start looking for work immediately?  Are you going to start learning about amateur radio?  Your options are endless, but it is better if you are operating from a plan.  Try not to let your days become aimless; have a list of what you want to accomplish each day, and stick to it.         

Do something.  One of the tricky things about losing your job is that it can lead to a gap on your resume.  The problem is that the resume gap can be even more damaging to your job prospects than being let go from your job.  You can fill in the resume gap with employment, volunteer work, or education.  Ideally, it should be something that relates to your occupation or industry. 

Get started.  After losing your job, it can be tempting to hide out in your bedroom for a while.  The last thing that you want to do is to set yourself up for rejection from another employer.  Allow yourself to start slowly: Make a resume; write a cover letter; do some industry research.  By taking a small step each day, you keep yourself focused and you stay on track with your goals. 

Be ready to talk about it to potential employers.  Once you start getting job interviews you need to have an answer ready for that dreaded question, 'Why did you leave your last job?'.  Be direct and explain why you were let go and then try to shift the focus to what you learned from the experience and what you have been doing since.  Everybody makes mistakes; if you can show the employer that you have taken responsibility for yours, they might be willing to give you a chance.

You never wanted to be in this situation, but here you are.  You have a choice; you can allow this to bring you down or you can use it to propell you into the next stage of your career.  Try to stay positive and to think about this as an opportunity to find a position that is a better fit.  If you don't know what you want, then perhaps now is the time to try something that you have never done before.  Good luck!            


(Written by Karen Bivand, Image Courtesy of marcolm at