Ten hours ago, I woke up, brushed my teeth, got dressed and headed off to work. It was a very typical day for me. Ten hours later, I sit here typing, freshly fired from a job I've been at for one year and four months.
“Shocked” is the only word I can use to describe what I felt when I heard, “Today's your last day. Pack your stuff and go.” Without a warning, my life was flipped upside down, and now I'm wondering how I'm supposed to pay all of my bills.
Acceptance is the biggest thing you'll have to come to terms with after losing a job. While I'm not 100 percent there yet, I am in a much better place than I was 10 hours ago. Here are six dos and don'ts that helped me come to terms with getting fired:
1. Do let yourself wallow and reflect.
The most intense part about getting fired wasn't the actual getting fired part, but the train ride home when I was thinking, "WTF am I going to do now?" It's OK to feel sh*tty about losing your job, and it's also OK to let yourself just wallow for a while.
Coming to terms with something this drastic doesn't happen quickly. I was lying in bed for a huge part of that 10 hours, replaying all the events.
Even though one mistake cost me my job, I know the work I did there was great. No one could tell me otherwise, and that's what you need to tell yourself. It's OK to be sad, but it's not OK to be sad forever. You did a good f*cking job, and don't let anyone take that away from you.
2. Don't let rage get the best of you.
I was so close to having a Teresa Giudice table flipping moment when I was gathering all of my belongings, but I had to stop myself. If I truly got angry and caused a scene, the only person who would've lost was myself.
It's natural to feel angry when someone basically says, “GTFO,” especially when you've been with the same company for a while. But, it's important to keep your composure.
Allowing your emotions to get the best you will alway lead to a destructive outcome. Walk out with dignity. Let them know they've made a mistake, and you'll come out stronger than ever.
3. Do thank all your co-workers (except the assh*le who fired you).
What I loved about my job was the people I worked with. I came in each morning looking forward to working with the same people every day because they were dependable and all around great. It's rare to have amazing co-workers, so when you do, just let them know that they were appreciated.
Say goodbye, send an email or even give a hug or two of them to acknowledge the impact they had in your working life. Who knows? They might even be the people who will help you get your next job.
4. Don't leave without saying a word.
Chances are that when you work out the front door, it may be the very last time you'll see all those people. It's important to let people know they made a difference in your life, no matter how small it might have been.
Always leave on good terms, and don't leave without saying anything, unless you think those words might be, "Screw you." Then it's OK to leave without saying a word.
5. Do reevaluate your priorities and passions.
Looking back, the work I did wasn't meaningful. I wanted to leave each day with a sense of accomplishment, but instead I just thought about how I could binge-watch two seasons of a show in one night. This is the time to ask yourself, “What do I want to do?"
When you lose your passion, it's hard to get it back sometimes. The strange thing about losing your job is it gives you a special kind of clarity. It's the clarity you need to rediscover a part of yourself that might've been lost.
Now is the best time to reevaluate and pursue something you want. Losing your job might be the wake-up call you need.
6. Don't lose hope.
I know it sounds corny to tell someone not to lose hope, but it's a reminder we all need. No one walks away from such a life-altering event unscathed. Take a week off from looking for a job if you need to. Get to a place where you have hope again. You'll feel a lot and endure a lot, but you'll survive.
Losing your job is the absolute worst, but I promise that things will get better. You may be down, but you're not out. That's why getting to the acceptance stage is so important. It's that switch that goes off in your head that says, "I'm going to be OK."