So You’ve Been Fired? 5 Steps to Help You Survive and Thrive

The obstacle is the way- Ryan Holiday

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Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash
Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash

Getting fired, losing a client or having your main income stream cut off is one of the most traumatizing and emotionally destabilizing experiences that most of us will face at least once in our adult lives. For many of us, our jobs and businesses are not only income-generating activities, but they are also sources of pride, social status, and self-esteem.

For me, it was being fired suddenly less than a week after being violently robbed at gunpoint. The news hit me like a thunderbolt: I was shocked, angry, despondent and humiliated. I had barely recovered from the robbery incident, my right eye was still swollen and the stitches that I had gotten on my forehead had not yet healed. How could this happen to me? How was I going to survive this? Nevertheless, in the midst of all this chaos, I was able to not only bounce back but to also thrive. I have since pursued my love for writing and built a great freelance career because of how i handled this unfortunate situation and through the support of friends and family.

Here are the five steps that enabled me to turnaround devastation of being fired into an opportunity to get into a more fulfilling career path.

1. Allow Yourself to Feel All the Attendant Negative Emotions

Losing a job is often accompanied by a wide range of emotions, most of which are negative. We often feel shocked at first and then angry and disappointed. Often, we have to deal with the very real fear of how we are going to meet our financial obligations such as rent, utility bills, mortgages, healthcare, and groceries. Moreover, losing a job also signifies the loss of career dreams and our social standing.

Allowing ourselves to feel all these emotions and acknowledging them is a crucial first step in clearing our minds so that we can face the challenges that lie ahead with clarity and objectivity.

2. Practice Acceptance

Practicing acceptance is especially powerful since it allows us to minimize the effects of being fired. We can practice acceptance by spending our savings or severance check only on essential items such as food, rent and healthcare. Taking better care of your emotional and physical health is also another way of practicing acceptance, as it shows that you acknowledge your vulnerability in this difficult time and you are taking steps to protect yourself from depression and ill-health.

Mentally, acceptance will help you clears your mind of ‘what-ifs’ and regret which will allow you to see the opportunities that lie ahead and give you the courage to pursue them.

3. Reflect Honestly

You might have been fired with cause or without cause, however, in both situations it is important to reflect on your skills, your behavior at work and what you can improve on. This process will enable you to pin point areas where you need to improve your skills. You can consult your former colleagues and performance reviews to get unbiased insight.

This process does not have to be all negative, this is also an opportunity to identify the strengths that you have so that you can capitalize on them in the next phase of your career.

4. Look at the Situation as an Opportunity instead of an Obstacle

Sure, being fired is not ideal but you can look at this as an opportunity to refocus your career path, follow your passions and get into a career that reflects your values and your unique personal needs. This is the time to network with new people, start working on the goals you had abandoned and learn new skills. You now have the time and opportunity to take risks and build the carrer that you had always dreamed of having.

The obstacle is the way

Ryan Holiday

Being fired often feels like all your dreams have been crushed but it can also be an opportunity for you to pursue deferred dreams or better yet, dream new dreams!

5. Go on and Be Great!

Now that you have dealt with the negative emotions of being fired, accepted the situation, done an honest review of your skills and reframed your perception of the situation, it’s time to go on and conqur new territories. Do not be afraid to dream big.

Thrive on!

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