I Lost My Job! Help!

“We’re downsizing.” ”We’re laying you off.” ”We’re moving in a different direction.”

“We feel your skills are not being utilized.” ”We feel you need more of a challenge.”

These are some of the phrases we often here when we don’t want to hear them! Being terminated, fired, relieved of your duties, laid off, or whatever they chose to call it, it is not necessarily a pleasant experience for anyone no matter what the reason. But keep in mind that it is not the end of the world.

At some point in our career, most of us have been “invited” to take our careers elsewhere for various reasons. Many of us have found that this can be a true turning point in our lives, and it moves us in a direction that becomes very positive.

For some, it may not be a surprise but a welcome relief from the suspense of not knowing if you are the next one to fall.

  • There may have been warning signs prior to layoffs.
  • You may have screwed up or had a difference of opinion with your boss.
  • The company may have been sold or merged, resulting in duplications of jobs.
  • You may have received a bad review.
  • Your immediate supervisor (or the person who hired you) may have recently left or vacated his/her position.

We understand there are many reasons for terminations, and they may not always be of your own wrongdoing. In actuality, it may have little to do with your skills or abilities, but simply that the new leadership may have their own style of management different from yours and/or they wish to build their own team.

It is important to always remember to leave just as professionally as when you started. Gather your belongings, and no matter how tempting it would be to tell people what you think of them…REFRAIN! Remember the old saying, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” You will need references and job referrals, and your coworkers and past supervisors may be able to provide both—and, who knows, you may find yourself working with them again in a different setting in the future.

Conferring with a life coach or career counselor may be helpful. A great and free way is to just start writing. Grab a cup of coffee and sit down at the computer (or, simpler, pen and paper). Write as much as possible regarding your past job, your boss, your coworkers, your daily activities, and how they interfaced with you and other assignments—write what you liked and disliked about your routine. This is a good personal exercise to vent—in essence, a way to relieve the negative emotions so that you can start the process of healing and moving forward in a positive direction.

After writing, set it aside and revisit it in the morning. You may find a roadmap there that will lead you to your next step.

You may even find that you enjoy working alone and were actually working in an environment that required you to be in constant contact with others—or, on the other hand, you may find that you sat in a cubicle all day and you really want the freedom of being out and about and interacting with others.

Evaluate what you really want to do and what direction you would like to go with your career. We all have bills to pay and families to provide for, but now may be the perfect opportunity to start realizing your dreams and/or career goals for yourself.

Time to Get Organized

  • Update your resume immediately (be sure to include any additional training or education you have received during your last employment).
  • Make contact with all of those you intend to utilize for references and let them know you will be out on the market again and request permission to use them for a professional reference (additionally retrieving all updated contact numbers).
  • Request letters of recommendation (based on performance, not difference of opinions). Again, your termination may have been for any number of reasons, not necessarily because of the job you performed—so it is okay to request a letter of recommendation. It is much better to have it in hand vs. nothing at all—and this too will give you some peace of mind knowing how they feel about your performance.
  • Contact your recruiter (dorothy@dorothylongsearch.com or 404-252-3787). The sooner we know you are on the market, the quicker we can match you with your next position.
  • While starting your employment search, keep a list of all resumes that you have sent out, whether via email, fax, or passed through a friend. As your recruiter, a resume is most helpful to us so that we may better assist you in your search. While there are many owners, managers, and management companies out there, we are able to present you to only those that have not already been introduced to you, meaning resume, interview, phone introduction, etc.

Additionally, some companies have many different means of recruitment, whether it is online search engines, print ads, or in-house postings on their company website. Keeping an updated list will keep you from sending your resume 20 times and being viewed as desperate.