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5 Things Not to Do When You Get Fired


Getting laid off isn’t fun, but at least you have the comfort of hearing “it’s not you, it’s me,” and collecting uncontested unemployment for a while. But what about when you lose your job under different circumstance? When you get fired, your first thought will be to panic. Don’t do that — or any of these things:

1. Beat yourself up.

“Getting fired can happen to the best of us,” writes Alison Doyle of’s Job Searching site. “Don’t dwell on it. Instead, focus on what you are going to do next and how you are going to find another job.”

2. Decide you probably don’t qualify for unemployment.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Don’t assume you’re not eligible. In most states, you can qualify for unemployment under certain circumstances, including the job not being a good fit. Unless you were fired for gross misconduct (stealing, drinking on the job, etc.) you have a shot at collecting.

3. Sign your severance right away.

“Many companies routinely offer fired employees severance payments in exchange for signing a ‘general release,'” writes Alison Green of Ask a Manager. “This would release the company from any legal claims stemming from your employment. If you’re offered this, don’t sign on the spot. Take some time to look over the agreement and consider running it by a lawyer. You might be able to negotiate a higher payment.”

4. Trash-talk your former employer…

…especially on social media. Remember that everything you post online is there forever in some form or another. Even if you take your comments down right away, chances are someone in your network will see you griping — and remember it when it comes time to hire at their company. No one wants to offer a job to someone who might say nasty things about them down the line.

5. Spam your network.

Networking is good; sending out an email blast with your CV attached is not. Think about how you feel when you get a form letter with “dear customer” at the top. That’s how your network will react to getting a generic, looking-for-work email.

Another thing to consider is that you’re probably not at your best right now, proofreading-wise.

“I worked with one client who sent out six resumes on the day after her job loss,” writes Deborah L. Jacobs at Forbes. “Her resume wasn’t polished and she regretted her rash decision. She ultimately landed a great role, but in the meantime, she had to clean up some mixed messaging.”

Save yourself the time and trouble down the line, and take a beat before you start contacting folks. Get your head together first, and then you can start devising a plan.

Tell Us What You Think

What’s the first thing you did when you got fired? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

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5 Ways to Discover True Happiness After Getting Fired

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(Photo Credit: Sean MacEntee/Flickr)

Jen Hubley Luckwaldt
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