Fired! The first 6 things you should do

If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you will be fired with enthusiasm! (Lombardi)

Fired!

Fired.  Laid off.  Terminated. Given a severance or pink slip. Let go. Walked to the door.  It is a terrible, traumatic experience.

Here’s what you do.

First, be nice.  No bridge burning.  No yelling.  Your boss may have been ordered to fire you and is being fired in another week.  You may end up working for him at his new job.  Your future employer may call him for a reference.  Be careful.

Do not quit!  If you quit, they can argue against your getting unemployment compensation.  If they say, “You can resign, if you would like,” tell them, “No. You said you are firing me.  Is this an offer to let me stay?”  Dan Rather’s three writing assistants, who refused to quit, were still getting paid months after they were asked to resign because they would not quit. Then they got a great severance package.

Don’t sign anything unless there is something in it for YOU.  A good phrase to use is, “Let me take this to my lawyer and see if he wants me to sign it.”  You would be surprised how often they say, “Don’t bother.”   Most things they want you to sign are to protect themselves or keep from giving you money.  If they say, “You have to sign this today without legal counsel,” get that phrase in writing from them and take all the paperwork to your attorney.  Be careful.

Get your personal belongings.  All of them.  Get your job journal first of all.  If you even get a whiff of layoffs, get copies of your job journal, old job reviews, awards and attaboys to your house.  They will help you in your job search.

If someone argues with you about personal stuff you are taking, keep putting it in the box as you talk with them.  Your stuff is your stuff. 

You don’t have a right to take client lists, trade secrets, client contracts or other company property.  You can always ask for permission to take it, though.  The guy walking you out of the office often feels so guilty he will say, “Just take it.”  If he says you can take it, you have a presumptive right to it that you don’t have without his permission.

Now, go directly to the unemployment office and file for compensation.  Do it today.

Even if you are fired you can leave with grace.  All they can do is get you out of the building.  After that, it is all up to you.  Good luck.

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Something To Do Today

No.  Don’t go get fired for practice.  Go back and read:  What to do before you quit.  

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