Today, we’re going to talk about how to recover after you’re fired.
First of all, I want to tell you not to worry about this too much. We’ve all been fired; we just don’t talk about it. It’s happened to me, in fact! But most people don’t like to talk about it.
You’re not alone.
What you’ll learn in this blog post:
The importance of the right fit (and how to spot it)
What staying in a bad job can do to you emotionally and for the long term
Why it doesn’t matter “who broke up with whom” (essentially, if you got fired or if you quit), and how to address the question of “Why did you leave your last job?”
What is the right fit? What does ‘the right fit’ mean?
I have come up with a few points that, in my experience, mean that you are in a good fit:
You enjoy the tasks you’re doing each day. By that, I don’t mean that every minute of every day you love it, but you enjoy at least 80%. There’s about 20% of things that you don’t love, but you do them, because they’re necessary.
You have a good relationship with your boss. This, for me, has personally been the most important one throughout the years. I’ve had a good relationship with my boss. It doesn’t matter if I’m not always challenged, or I don’t always love the work, but relationships are more important to me.
You have a reasonably good relationship with your coworkers. The vibe is good. It’s not a toxic environment for you. You enjoy interacting with most people. Of course, we can’t always get along with everybody, but you know what I mean.
You have the skills and the knowledge to get this job done. And if you don’t, you feel comfortable learning, and sometimes you’re pushed out of your zone, but you’re not completely off base. You know what you need to do.
Some of these might be more important than they are for other people, but all of them together equal a good mix.
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Why staying at a bad job (for you) is the worst thing you could do anyways?
Staying at a bad job could lead to health problems caused by stress. It could lead to arguing with your spouse when you get home, yelling at your kids, not having any time to be with friends… It’s very rare for someone who loved their job to be let go. Sometimes layoffs happen, and there’s usually some notice involved. If you were let go, chances are you weren’t happy. Chances are you knew it was going to happen, and you probably had a warning. And chances are you weren’t the right fit.
Sometimes when people are let go, they actually feel relieved, and they might feel a bit of fear as well. Oh my God! What am I going to do next? But in the grand scheme of things, if you were not feeling happy, then this probably one of the best things that could happen to you. If you were let go, it simply means that you are now in a better position to find your dream job. The place that let you go wasn’t working out for you, and now you’re free to find something better.
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Why doesn’t being let go have to affect your career success moving forward?
Normally, the act of getting fired itself isn’t the biggest thing after that. The good news is that the world is changing very quickly.
In the past, most people had believed that if you were fired, good luck getting hired anywhere else, because that’s it. You’re damaged goods now. But, in fact, that’s not true anymore.
Today, this is totally not the case. Getting fired just means that they said to you, “I don’t think it’s working out,” before you had a chance to say it to them. It’s nothing more. Most employers won’t give you a bad reference, because they would prefer not to be sued. Giving a bad reference is a risk for them. It’s a hazard to their HR department—it’s not worth it. If anything, they’re going to confirm the dates that you worked and verify any factual and legal information that they need to, and then they will move on.
It doesn’t really matter who broke up with whom—the result is still the same.
While it is true that you never want to say, “I was fired,” during a job interview or in your job search. We still have the out-dated idea that being fired puts a mark of shame on us, so to speak. As Liz Ryan says, (Liz Ryan is another career guru I like to follow) “It’s not true. Most people, who get fired from their jobs, are good people. It just means that it didn’t work out.”
Sometimes it’s just what my dad used to call it a ‘personality clash.’ He used to tell me that not everybody can get along with everybody; it’s just not how the world works. It doesn’t make you a bad person. That made me feel better, because I realized that no matter how hard I tried to get along with everybody, it’s just a realistic goal.
The employer doesn’t tell YOU their whole story either.
They have their own skeletons. Nothing goes perfectly on their end either. If you were to ask, “Why is this position open?” They’re not going to tell you that they hired somebody and that that person ran away screaming and quit, because they had overwhelmed the person and didn’t provide enough training. They’re not going to tell you that. You don’t have to tell them all the gory details when they ask you, “Why did you leave your last job?”
Here’s what you can say…
If you’re asked why you left your last job, there are two ways you can answer it. Neither of these answers tell who broke up with whom, because this information is not relevant.
If you were working somewhere for quite a while, this is your speech:
“I had a great time learning for the first 4 years, and then it was time to go. I needed a bigger challenge.”
If you were working somewhere for a really short amount of time, you can say something like this:
“I misjudged the situation, and I honestly thought it was going to be more of an executive assistant job, but it turned out to be more of an accounting/booking clerk type of job. They needed somebody who had a lot more numbers experience than I did, and that’s not my strong suit. If I were to do over again, I would definitely ask more questions.”
This is my exact scenario, actually. This is one in which I didn’t get fired—I left on my accord—but if you’ll notice in the answer, I never said any details. You would never know by this answer, and it doesn’t matter.
I want to leave you with a final thought:
“Things don’t have meaning. We assign meaning to everything.” – Tony Robbins
Assigning meaning to your being fired or let go is your choice. You can make it mean whatever you want.
And there you have it.
The important of fit, what it is, and why you need to spot it.
Why staying would suck the life out of you anyways. Why it’s probably the best thing that ever happened to you.
Why it doesn’t matter as much as you think it does and how to address it in a job interview.
Thank you so much for reading.
If you liked this lesson today, click below to download the free step-by-step guide to networking. In it you’ll find information on how to get started in interviews through the power of personal connection and completely bypass the black hole.
You’ll also learn:
How to reach out over email & LinkedIn with word-for-word scripts
How to turn a one-time coffee meeting into a long-term contact
- How to start building a powerful network over time so that you can be unstoppable
See you next time!
In work and life