YOU’RE FIRED! These two simple words can strike a devastating effect, leaving you feeling crushed, ashamed, worthless and scared. But how you deal with the fallout of the situation will determine how quickly you get back to work.

What you do not want to do is retreat to a dark corner to wallow and lick your wounds. You want to stay busy. If you stay active while out of work, you will avoid falling into a rut that turns into long term unemployment. Smarten up your resume, consider if you want to remain in the same industry, or if you want to study. You need to be certain of your next move and actively pursue it. A gap in your resume can be difficult to explain if you don’t find focus.

Acceptance is a big hurdle. And no matter how you came to be unemployed, whether you under performed or your employer was forced to lay-off staff, you need to have a clear understanding of why you were let go. When you next enter the interview arena, you may have to explain your exit from your previous job and stumbling over your words will raise a red flag. So while it may take a little time to see your firing from an objective position, explaining what went wrong and what you learnt from the experience will reduce any concerns your potential new employer may have at the sudden ceasing of your tenure. Instead, they will see a person who has taken responsibility for their undertakings.

It is a smart move too not to burn your bridges should you find yourself dismissed from your role. Sure it didn’t work out, but do you need enemies or references? Maintaining a professional image is important, as is behaving with grace when talking about your past employer in a job interview. Potential employers will not favour an attack on your former manager.

Maybe you have quit your job in a fit of rage. If this is the case, you can consider your dismissal as good as a firing. The consequences will be the same if you don’t already have a plan in place for the next chapter in your career. If your sacking was particularly awful and will hinder your ability to re-enter your industry (because let’s face it, everyone talks!), consider the avenue of temping assignments. Temping can give you the time to determine your next career move while dealing with the pain of being sacked. It will also reduce the financial pressures that go hand in hand with not having an income.

To help you maintain your identity, evaluate where in your past role you achieved your successes. Doing so may assist you to reinvent your job search and how you pitch yourself to future employers. And while focussing on turning a negative into a positive will benefit you, be prepared to lose. Some employers will shy away from you. It’s simply reality. Yet if you can get away with not admitting your firing, then why not? Will it come back to bite you when you are discovered to have ‘bent’ the truth? Will you be labelled as untrustworthy and a liar? As I said before, find the positives and sell your best attributes. If you can prove you are worth the risk, the employer will hire you.

The sting of a sacking can be brutal, but it is how you bounce back that will determine how successful your next career move is. And you will need to put some time and effort into finding a new job. Looking for work is a job in itself. So use your existing network. Let them know you are seeking a new role and can start immediately. You may be surprised how many businesses out there would be happy to employ you as they are convinced of your attributes and how you may benefit them, even if you (or your former employer) are not. There is always a silver lining to every situation, take the time to find yours should you suddenly find yourself out of work.

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