How To Move Forward After Being Laid Off

We need to talk about getting fired because it’s much more common than people think. The hard truth is that getting terminated often happens out of the blue and can impact you professionally as well as emotionally. Your job takes a significant part of your life, and is for most people their primary source of income, thus losing it can be extremely painful and difficult. In this article, I’m going to share with you how to get over being laid off and tips to recover and bounce back from your termination.

What to do when you get fired

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Losing your job is a life change and it can be difficult, you might feel like the situation is unfair and you might want to scream at your employer, unfortunately, this will not help the situation. No matter how unfair the situation may be, you must keep the interaction as professional as possible. Here are some tips to follow when your employer decides to let you go.

  • Remain calm and professional. You might want to lash out at your employer and tell them how you feel, but this is not going to help. Instead, you should treat them with respect and thank them for the opportunity. Staying on good terms with your employer is crucial as you may need a reference from them in the future. Remember that most of the time, getting fired is nothing personal and that it can happen for many reasons. Make sure to get the reason for your termination in writing and leave the company with a handshake.
  • Know your rights. If you think that you’ve been treated unfairly, you should discuss it with your union rep and go through the dismissal process and your employment contract. There are many reasons why you could be subject to unfair dismissal and you may be able to take legal actions in certain situations.
  • Ask for an exit interview. You can also ask for an exit interview to share your viewpoint and clarify the reason for your dismissal. This is a good thing to do if you believe you’re being treated unfairly and it might help your employer understand your thoughts better. During the interview, you must remain calm and professional as lashing out will not help the situation.

I’ve been fired: what do I do now?

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That’s it, it’s over, you’ve processed the fact that you just lost your job, and I understand how hard it is. As well as betrayed, you might feel resentful, angry, stressed, or even anxious. However, you now need to adopt the right coping methods to deal with the situation and move forward.

  • Give yourself some time. Give yourself some time to process your feelings, you might be feeling a lot of emotions at once, so it’s important to give yourself a grieving period. Take a few days to accept the situation and feel all those emotions. By doing so, you’ll find it easier to move on and make positive changes.
  • Get support from family and friends. Sometimes it’s good to have someone to open up to, especially when life-changing events occur. You might be feeling upset and exhausted which is normal since you’re processing a lot of things at once. Try to not isolate yourself and reach out to someone you trust, who will help you express your emotions and make the right decisions.
  • Reflect on why you got fired. You should try to learn something from your dismissal, there are many factors to consider, and doing so will help you grow professionally. Why weren’t you a good fit? Did you enjoy the job? Was the company fair to you? Take it as a learning opportunity to avoid the same situation happening in the future.
  • Set new goals. Now that you’ve got some time off work, you should use it to focus on yourself and think about the next step in your career. Where you happy at your job? Do you like your career? You must ask yourself the right questions, you might want to try a different career path or a different position within the same field. Make sure the goals are attainable and relevant to what you want in your life.

What can you learn from getting fired?

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Although it sucks, losing your job can help you see things from a different perspective and even help you in your career. It might feel devastating and really hard to bounce back from, but you must reflect on what happened and learn invaluable lessons.

  • Work is not family. Companies like to label themselves as families, although this might sound harmless at first, it can blur the lines between personal and professional life. Ultimately, companies want to make a profit, and if your life revolves around work, your value will depend on your performance at work. This can have serious effects on your mental health and self-esteem. Therefore, make sure to have a social circle outside of work, because getting fired can happen to anyone, and your super friendly boss and nice co-workers become different people it happens.
  • Things aren’t always fair. You might find your case unfair and want to lash out but you must understand that things might not always be fair at work. What your other co-workers do or don’t do does not matter so don’t try to point your finger at others as this will just make your case worse. At this point your employer has already made their decision and even if you managed to get your job back, you’ll just end up working in a hostile environment.
  • Your co-workers are not your friends. Everyone is friendly at work, and you might make some friends there but don’t assume you can behave just like you would with your mates from uni. Don’t forget that you’re in a professional environment, and you’re there to get work done. Of course, you should still be friendly and polite, but remember anything unprofessional you might say or do can quickly backfire.
  • Anyone can get fired. Some of you might be thinking: “This could never happen to me”. You might think you’re the perfect employee, have never been late, work extra, have great performance, faithful to the company, and even have been promoted a few times. What could go wrong? Well, unfortunately, that’s not how things work. Another pandemic could happen, or someone could buy your company and lay off a bunch of people. Have a look at what happened at for example where over 900 employees got fired on a zoom call. Always update your CV and be on the lookout for other opportunities, because you never know what the future holds.


Getting fired can feel devastating and brutal, but you must remember that it’s more common than you think. It can open doors and lead to great opportunities. Try to not isolate yourself and focus on what you learned to bounce back and challenge yourself. Most importantly, remember that work is work and that you should draw a line between your personal and professional life.

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