I clearly remember when I was invited into my manager’s office. Half-expecting it to be a face-to-face meeting, my manager was not on her own. A representative from HR accompanied her occupying the adjacent seat. I knew something was up.

As the meeting began, my manager led the conversation by saying that they liked my work ethic but strongly felt that I was not right for the role.

For obvious reasons, I don’t want to go into too much detail as to why they came to that conclusion, but when they finally gave me the news that they were letting me go, I was gutted, to say the least.

I experienced a whole array of emotions. I worried whether I would find another decent job again. And I simply had no idea what to do when you lose your job.

Looking back at this now, I can confidently say that getting dismissed (for whatever reason) is not the end of the world. But that period in my life was a very stressful time for me.

According to Dr Melanie Schafer, executive director at The Chicago School, she says the experience of being dismissed is high on the list of stressful life events that could happen to anyone over the course of their life. And it is easy to see why; being fired is both financially devastating and professionally embarrassing.

And it can happen to the best of us. Harry Potter author, JK Rowling got fired from her job as a secretary because she dreamed of becoming a writer — look at where she is now.

So do take heart from the fact that you can survive the worst emotional trauma that a dismissal can bring. In this post, we will look at the next steps that you should take as soon as you’ve found out that you got fired.

1. Avoid Bad-Mouthing Your Old Employer

Being dismissed is not the best way to leave the company, but you do have control over how you leave.

If you throw an aggressive tantrum, then your former employer may choose to not give you a reference when you try to find work in the future. So do ensure you keep a professional attitude at all times (no matter what happens).

And do refrain from posting any negative comments on social media or any other online platform. Remember, some employers do check up on prospective employees prior to interview.

2. Channel Your Emotions

You will feel a range of emotions. Be it anger, sadness, depression, regret or shame. There is no use in bottling these emotions up, as it can lead to both mental and physical health problems in the long term — there are numerous studies that support this.

There are a number of ways which you can process your emotions, you can:

  • Speak to your General Practitioner
  • Talk to a friend
  • Keeping a journal

Whatever method you decide to take, it is really important that you embrace your emotions for what they are. And as soon as you do that, you are able to move on.

3. Be Honest With Yourself

Once you’ve allowed the dust to settle, it is time to do some brutally honest self-reflection and actually find out why you were dismissed in the first place.

Sometimes, you may find that you weren’t able to perform well in an old job because you had no passion for it. If that’s the case, then the dismissal can be seen as a blessing in disguise.  

You can use this time to find out what you really like to do and then go on to explore different careers path that matches your interests and passions.

If you find that the dismissal was not your fault, then the next section will be helpful.

4. See What Your Rights Are

If you feel that you have been unfairly dismissed, then you can legally challenge it. You can speak to your local government advice bureau to find out more.

But generally speaking, no one should be dismissed because of their sex, race, age, national origin or disability. It is unlawful for the employer to do so and it is prejudice against you.  

If you do decide to take legal action against your former employer, do take careful consideration.

Legal costs can get extremely high and if you’re not able to retrieve solid evidence, then you could be at risk of losing more money. Sometimes, it is best to move on.

5. Find A New Job

Once you have completed all of the above steps, it is now time to find a new job. There are many avenues that you can take:

  • Job boards like Indeed/TotalJobs
  • Recruitment agencies
  • Networking

When updating your CV, you don’t need to state that you were dismissed from your old job. If you do manage to land an interview, some employers will ask why you left your last position and it is best to tell them the truth.

You don’t need to go into great lengths in to what happened, just keep it brief and to the point.

Some employers may ask further questions about your dismissal, and that’s completely reasonable from their point of view.

But again, be honest and if the dismissal was your fault, tell the prospective employer that you’ve learned a lot from the scenario and you’re very determined to set things right.

Many employers will understand that a dismissal is a very hard thing to go through. And as long as you demonstrate maturity, employers will see that you’re willing to learn from your past mistakes.

But whatever you do, never, ever lie to your prospective employer. Remember employers can gather facts about you and your work history from various different sources.

Thanks for reading, what are your thoughts on this topic?

Have you been dismissed before and have got any more tips that you would like to share?

Please let us know in the comments section below.

Written By
Mayur Mistry is a freelance copywriter and blogger from Manchester, UK. He regularly contributes for The Learning Station, an online training provider, where he writes about careers advice, study tips and industry related content, in particularly the construction sector and health and social care.