Fired, canned, laid off, let go. Whatever you want to call it, it could happen. Sometimes, people see it coming. Other times, they're caught completely off guard. Either way, the process of surviving the loss of a job is the same, and it takes hard work and resolve to do so.
For most people, their initial reaction to a job loss is shock, followed by anger and feelings of victimization. While these reactions are completely normal, dwelling on them is a mistake. As the old adage goes, you need to pull yourself up by the bootstraps and move forward. Feel sad, get mad…and move on! The worst thing you can do is bring a toxic attitude with you wherever you go, or wallow in self-pity.
Examine the evidence
If you've been fired, you need to assess why. In some cases, it has nothing to do with you, but if it does, you owe it to yourself to examine the reasons. If your behavior, attitude, performance, or abilities were to blame, ask yourself how you can learn from the experience so you don't repeat the same mistakes. Being fired can sometimes provide a big wake-up call that spurs people to positive change and a brighter future.
Don't blame the messenger
A layoff is usually an entirely different situation than a firing. Most of the time, layoffs are about company decisions to restructure, downsize, or cut perceived fluff. Rarely are they about individuals, no matter how personal it may feel. In most cases, companies realize it's a decision that affects people and they don't usually make layoff decisions quickly or easily. Whether or not you're given notice and a severance package is based on the company's ability to do so, not whether or not they care about you. Still, knowing that a layoff isn't about you isn't much help when you're left jobless and unsure where you'll be tomorrow. However, it's absolutely imperative that you do not take the situation personally and allow it to turn you into an angry and bitter person.
Misery loves miserable company
Yes, you need to grieve, get angry, and vent to the appropriate people. What you don't need to do is dwell on it and bicker to others for days on end. It might feel good to talk bad about your employer, but while doing it, you're dragging yourself down as well as everyone around you (and you're obviously not out looking for a job!).
There is a time and place for negative rhetoric, but those places don't include your current job (if you're still there), a job interview, or at home every night. You can damage job prospects by bad-mouthing a former employer, and you can isolate yourself and loved ones by remaining caustic and withdrawn.
Process, positive thinking, and productivity
Try writing your thoughts down, limiting the amount of time you allow yourself to be angry, finding positive people to pull you up, and keeping yourself busy with both job-related and non job-related activities. By limiting negativity and focusing on positive and productive thinking, you'll be out of the dumps and on your way to a new job much faster.
Michael A. Fleischne