I’m a 32-year-old Black woman who owns a successful New York-based tech PR and media company in an industry predominantly run by white men. Before being my own boss, I worked in corporate America, and like many, I have been fired, laid off and pushed out of a lot of jobs.
6 Top Tips for Surviving a Firing
- Take a break from social media.
- Don’t rush into a new job.
- Lean on your network for support.
- Rebuild your self confidence.
- Work out and take time for yourself.
Getting sacked was the best thing that ever happened to me. I persevered and it gave me the opportunity to look within and focus on myself and unique talents. So, if this recently happened to you, how do you bounce back and, most importantly, heal? Check out 10 tips that helped me get over being fired, land jobs with the biggest tech companies and ultimately quit corporate America for good.
Cry, scream, laugh, and do it in that order, too. Believe me, you’ll feel better. Release whatever emotions you’re feeling in a safe and healthy way instead of trying to avoid them altogether.
Losing a job is shocking and can cause us to doubt our gifts and abilities. It’s so important that you don’t allow this to happen. I made sure this never occurred if a job didn’t work out, and I’ve found that all three of these emotions have helped me address what happened in a way that wouldn’t allow me to beat myself up so badly. Laughing, crying and even screaming have been known to reduce stress, improve mood and reduce physical pain.
Take a Break From Social Media
Now is not the time to be scrolling through endless feeds and eventually comparing yourself to your peers.
Social media is exhausting and pretty draining most of the time, which is why I made sure to unplug periodically after I lost my job. Your mental health should be your top priority and finding peace of mind is possible when you aren’t spending hours of your day on social media. By doing this, you get a ton of time back that you can apply to things of much more importance, like spending time with family or exploring the outdoors.
Work Out and Take Time for Yourself
Even if you can’t seem to muster the energy to get out of bed or face the world after getting sacked, if you do one thing each day, work out or hit the gym. Sweat. Get your heart rate up and body moving.
This is going to help you in ways you could never have imagined. You start to gain clarity and can work out your frustrations and look great while doing it. Exercising increases positive thinking and releases endorphins and helps keep anxiety and depression away.
And if you can, go on vacation or take a break from your everyday routine. If you lost your job, you will hopefully have a severance package (unless you’re working for a cheap, awful company) and can treat yourself to a getaway to help refocus and recharge.
Don’t Rush Into a Job
One thing I wish I had done differently after being fired was not rush into finding a job immediately after the fact. I was desperate to get a new gig, only for a paycheck. After all, I live in New York City and have bills to pay. But I regret giving into this urgency, working for companies and taking roles that 100 percent kept me from reaching my long-term goals. Don’t make this mistake, and make sure that you file for unemployment so you can have some money coming in as you gear up for your next move.
It is so important to follow the above step and take time to allow the dust to settle from the situation and not say yes to the first thing that comes your way. Evaluate your reasoning for acting too quickly. And unless this new job is necessary experience you need for your dream position, it’s best to just wait.
Realize That a Job Doesn’t Define You
You are so much more than a job. Jobs come and go, and a job should be looked at as a stepping stone to get you to where you ultimately want to be. Stop confusing something you do with who you are. They are totally different and all jobs are temporary.
Working for corporate America, I would put too much attention on helping companies that weren’t mine scale and build their dream, so I started to shift that thinking inward. When I first got fired, I landed my own client afterwards. That ignited my side business, which alone made me realize that the skills that I developed working at these toxic companies could be leveraged elsewhere and for myself.
Think of getting laid off as a time for new beginnings! This is a chance for you to make changes that you might not have expected but that you need, and will benefit you in the long run. Find ways to transform and let go of what happened and be present and focus on the now and what you can control.
Don’t let one job loss make you feel stuck. You’re not. Use this opportunity to reinvent yourself and what you hope to accomplish. You should definitely update your resume, professional social media profiles and all the other business networks you’re a part of, only those shouldn’t be the only things that get a refresh after a traumatic event.
Make a Plan
Plot, scheme and map out your next step and how you’re going to reenter the workforce. Without a set plan or structure on what you’re looking to do with your next career move, you’ll most likely end up in a similar situation — getting fired or hating the job you shouldn’t have accepted.
I like to create vision boards that allow me to identify what I’m wanting to achieve, how I’m going to get it done and most importantly, when. Make this a fun exercise you do consistently, not just after you lose your job. You always want to make sure you are staying on course with your goals. Use those countless hours of strategizing that you applied working in corporate America to yourself.
Rebuild Your Confidence
Shake it off and recognize that losing your job should never have you questioning who you are and your impact. When one door closes, another one opens! Always! This needs to be your mantra, not just for job hunting but for life in general.
Write down all of the things you love about yourself and your proudest achievements both professionally and personally. It’s good to see this list and be reminded of it constantly so nothing eats away or chips at your self-esteem. I’ve seen people do a total transformation and get a new haircut or switch up their entire wardrobe for an added boost. Start thinking positively about yourself, remove all self-doubt and believe in what you can bring to the table.
Lean on Your Network
When all else fails, your network, relationships and connections will support you and lend a hand that can help take you to the next level of your career. A lot of my references, referrals and current clients came from those I have worked with in the past and from jobs that didn’t last long. While working for corporate America, you are able to build meaningful relationships and interact with some of the brightest minds in the industry. Just recently, I even hugged the CEO who fired me years ago as we agreed to partner and tap my services.
Start Applying and Be Persistent
Be discerning of which roles you start applying to and do it consistently to see tangible results. A bunch of people want the same thing you do and are on the job hunt, so you have to be patient and almost think of applying as a numbers game by doing it daily. For the companies that are on your wishlist, reach out directly on professional social media and inquire about the role, your interest in it and the application process.
Don’t get discouraged if you don’t hear back right away or you get some rejections. If something is meant for you, it will come. Don’t force it.