It’s going to happen. One day you are going to show up for work, get called into the bosses office, and be told that you and/or your services are no longer needed. You are getting a pink slip my friend. And no, it is not the good kind that your dream girlfriend might pick up at the nearest Victoria’s Secret.
Guess what else? It is going to suck! Your ego will be slammed, you will instantly think “Oh, crap, now what?”, and you will feel worthless, scared, and mad all at the same time. But keep a level head and don’t completely freak out. As everyone starts telling you what you need to do to get a new gig, here are a few things that you should not be doing right after getting the old heave ho.
Don’t burn bridges. Your gut will tell you to be an ass and tell the boss, annoying co-worker, or office know-it-all exactly what you think about them. Avoid that temptation. You never know which one of these people you will climb into again on your way back up the corporate ladder. And besides, keep your pride and dignity, you just lost your job, don’t lose your reputation at the same time
Don’t tell the whole world what happened. It may be tempting to call friends, family, and colleagues to share your story as a way to make you feel better but be cautious. This is actually the beginning of your job search and, as much as you may be upset or angry, the message you deliver will be hard to change once you cool off and think more clearly. Keep your communication about your dismissal limited to those closest to you, who you can trust. And for the love of all that is holy, DO NOT hit social media to air your grievances. That stuff has a shelf life similar to Twinkies.
Don’t apply for a new job online immediately. You may be anxious about getting a new paycheck quickly and you will want to submit or post your resume to every job board and social media site to make yourself feel better. But hold on Tiger! Your time may be better spent taking stock of what you liked about your previous job and what kind of challenges/changes you’d like go for in the next one. This is also the perfect time to make some personal choices and maybe even a shift in career direction.
Don’t head out of town. Escaping to the beach with a few beers might sound good but stay put. Even if you’ve been given a great severance deal, make sure it is all in order before you book those tickets. Review your deal carefully and maybe even talk to a lawyer. Also, can you really afford a trip to Maui? (See number five, the part about your money).
Don’t panic. Yes, you’re shocked and surprised at your new role as part of the U.S. unemployment numbers and the worst case scenario of never working again, or having to flip burgers for a living, is running through your head. But, the best thing to do is keep calm. Start with reviewing your finances. Having a realistic picture of your bank account will give you some time to refine around your search, consider your options, and hopefully reduce some of the anxiety. Also, see if you qualify for unemployment. Don’t be embarrassed, you paid into the system while you worked, so it is okay to get a little help back out of the system now that you may need it.
Don’t send out resumes to all your contacts. Yes, networking is a highly recommended way to land a new job but it requires some planning first. Building a new resume, tailored to both your targeted jobs and the type of role you’d like to pursue, is the first step. Take the time to create personal marketing materials and plans that best reflect your new goals.
Don’t jump at the first job offer you may get. You may be unemployed, but you are not desperate. Try to not just find a new job but try instead to find the RIGHT job. Chances are if you end up in a new position that you don’t really like, you will be getting another pink slip sometime very soon!