The f-Word

I used to help people craft stories about why and how they left a company–“never say you were fired, always say you were laid off.”  Well, I was wrong.  Tell the truth and tell it well, my fellow fired friends.

I don’t know what economic crisis caused everyone to eliminate the word fired from their lexicons but it’s bullshit.  If you were fired, you were fired.  If you really think you were just let go, laid off, right sized, wise sized, down sized, culled, made redundant, smart sized, outsourced, off sourced, off shored, excessed, de-layered, re-deployed, force-shaped, riffed or simplified, stop reading.

If you have been fired and I mean really fired because you jacked something up (regardless of whether or not you are ready to blame yourself for it), read on.

Stop blaming your coworkers, your spouse, the company, the idiot manager who always had it out for you, the broken processes, the moronic systems and company politics.  It’s your fault.  Just accept it, learn from it and move on.

Here are some tips for coming to terms with and getting over your firing.

Tell everyone you were fired:  If you want an exercise in humility, tell the truth even if your face burns and you get real sweaty.

Grieve it: Don’t go home after your firing and tweak your resume or call the unemployment line (you should file online anyway).  I grieved my firing by reading the entire Harry Potter series, front to back, on my patio, for 3 weeks.  If unicorns and evil wizards can’t pull you out of your funk, I don’t know what will.

Examine the circumstances: Reflect on your former job, your role, your actions and see yourself from the CEO’s point of view.  If you still think you’re perfect, stop reading. You’re not ready for this–get back on monster.com and keep looking for your next soul sucking job.

Volunteer: Your reflection time should help you understand why you got fired.  Perhaps you were too proud, too whiny, too lazy or too much of a maverick.  Pick a place to volunteer where you can re-learn how to be a good employee.  If you think you’re the cat’s pajamas, I recommend volunteering to pick up trash.  If you think everyone is out to get you, some jail service would suit you well.  If you think your life is too hard, volunteer to help drug addicts or abused children.  If you think you’re always right, withhold your opinion for the duration of your volunteer job.

Sit in the Fog and Wait: If your next career move isn’t immediately apparent after all of this, just sit and wait.  Listen to what’s going on inside and around you.  Stop ignoring clear signals from the universe.  Be open to new experiences and be patient.

Have you been fired?  Share your story here.

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