Getting fired can feel like rejection or the painful end of something. It certainly doesn’t feel good. It can cause you to go into protective mode and tell yourself a story that wasn't your fault. It also can lead you to beat yourself up for not meeting expectations.
People get fired for many reasons. Perhaps the business wasn’t doing well and needed to cut costs or restructure. Maybe your boss really was an idiot and the two of you didn't get along -- so you subtly self-sabotaged yourself. Or maybe the job wasn’t serving you. Think back. Did you find yourself wasting time because your heart wasn’t in it? Did you get complacent and flatline instead of looking for ways to challenge and motivate yourself?
Whatever the situation, I guarantee you will be better off somewhere else in the long run.
Grieve. Then get moving.
Allow yourself to grieve for a short time. Then, stop feeling sorry for yourself and start to look on the bright side: You now have countless opportunities to consider.
Getting fired isn’t the end of the world. It isn't even the end of your career. If it was unexpected, odds are there's no predetermined path laid out for you. Take this opportunity to assess and regroup. What is it that you truly want to be doing? Are you satisfied in your current career, or do you need to pivot?
You might want to look into specialty training or further education. Or maybe you need time off to do some soul-searching. Whatever you decide, realize you now have many different paths from which to choose. More than one is bound to make your life more fulfilling than it was at the job you left behind.
Success breeds complacency.
Oftentimes people who reach a certain level of success cease to strive for more. Their basic needs are met. You might linger for years in a job that's only mildly fulfilling you. If you're thinking, "It can't get much better than this," you're functioning but not really really thriving.
Getting fired gives you a different perspective. Take a look at your life and your next moves with fresh eyes and a beginner's excitement. What else might you want out of a job that would make you passionately excited to get up every morning? You -- and your eventual employer -- deserve more than just complacency.
Failure is your best teacher.
Absolutely none of the world's most successful people took a straight, smooth, always-upward path. Taking risks and reaching for something more naturally means you will get turned down and endure rejection. In fact, stretching beyond your job description could be the reason you got fired from the position that didn't fit.
Failure isn’t an end, and it certainly doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. Failure teaches resilience, empathy, and self-confidence. The experience is painful, but the lesson it teaches can be quite a gift.
“Failure is neutral -- it’s how you emotionally hold it inside of yourself that is not," says Ashley Stahl, a career coach to millennials. "In truth, failure is just feedback that it’s time for you to course-correct. Use failure as an opportunity to evaluate where you add the most value as a worker, and celebrate the fact that you’re not great at everything.”
Be honest with yourself so you can move forward.
So, what do you do now that you’ve been fired? You can look ahead by being honest about your past. Ask yourself the hard questions -- the ones whose answers might reveal you bear some responsibility.
What could you have done better? What part did you play in getting fired? Would you be happy at a different job in the same field, or might you actually want to do something else?
Look at the pros and cons of your last job.
What did you love? What did you hate? Did you like the culture, or do you need something different? Smaller, larger, more service-oriented?
As best you can, isolate the characteristics you most want in your next job. Otherwise, you risk falling into something that looks just OK. Real progress means you're moving closer to fulfillment, not just into another position that won't engage you on a deeper level.
Start making phone calls.
Call your friends, if you haven't already. Let them know you're looking for a job in your sector or primed for something new. Networking is your lifeline. Your friends, family members, and colleagues should know a skilled and employable rock star is available to join their team. Take all the introductions, advice, and sympathetic ears offered.
Most important, remember you have it within you to bounce back -- with new self-knowledge that will help you become stronger than ever before.