You're Fired; Be Ready, It Can Happen To You
"We feel you would be happier working for another company."
"Sorry, business is falling off. We no longer need your services."
"Operations are being consolidated in Mexico. The Bedrock Plant will be
closed Feb. 1."
Sugar-coated or not, the message is the same: You're fired! You have been
sacked. You are out of a job!
Anyone can get the axe at any time. It happens to good people and bad
ones...hard workers as well as slackers.
13 Steps To Survive and Prosper
Therefore, it makes common sense to know what to do to survive and prosper
should you ever get the dreaded "pink slip".
1. Keep in mind that in the current environment the idea of tomb to womb
job security is as dead as a hammer. Be loyal to your present employer, but
never develop a romance with the organization. Know that the relationship can
end at any time. There is enough suffering in store for anyone over the loss of
a job without adding the pains of an unrequited love. Look out for yourself
2. Be alert and well informed at all times about the outlook for your
employer and your job. If you know things are going down the drain, begin a
below-the-radar search for other opportunities. If the axe falls, you'll have a
head start on finding another job.
3. Stay prepared financially. Always try to have enough cash in
reserve to cover at least three months living expenses.
4. Keep your skills up to date with the needs of the job market.
Capitalize on opportunities for additional training. Read the literature of your
5. Maintain an up-to-date record of your accomplishments so you can
produce a resume in 24 hours.
6. Nurture contacts with people in your line of work and with those likely
to employ your type of qualifications. Be visible through outside activities
and positive publicity.
7. Help others who lose their jobs. Also, be of assistance to those
who are looking to recruit employees. They may help you some day.
8. Understand your emotions.
Psychologist Bill Weber says getting fired is very much like dealing with the
death of a loved one.
"The first reaction is denial, or wishful thinking. There's been a mistake.
This can't be true," Dr. Weber says. "Then the shock sets in, followed by anger,
depression, frustration and fear. Worst of all is the loss of self-esteem."
9. If you get fired, allow some time for grieving; but not too much.
Don't just sit there feeling sorry for yourself. It's natural to be angry with
your employer, but don't let your feelings show. You still need him. Negotiate
the best possible severance package possible for continuing pay and benefits,
particularly insurance coverage. Don't forget good references, too.
10. Start immediately to launch your search for another, better job.
Use this time to reassess the goals you have set for the rest of your life.
Define the job that will enable you to achieve these objectives.
11. Prepare a plan to market yourself. Let it be known you are
available; "advertise" what you have to offer. Involve your network of friends
and family in the job search.
12. Be patient. Recognize it will take time to find another acceptable
13. Don't panic. If you possibly can afford to wait, don't jump on the
first opportunity that comes down the pike, unless, of course, it really matches
up with your objectives.
Finally, try to remember two things.
1. It can happen to anyone.
2. A high percentage of people end up with better jobs than the ones from
which they were fired.
Ramon Greenwood is a former Senior Vice President of
American Express and career counselor. To subscriber to his free semi-monthly
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