The HR Professor

The HR Professor

Teaching You How to Navigate the Workplace

Losing Your Job Builds Character

Picture this. Your manager schedules an unexpected or last minute meeting with you with a vague subject line. When you arrive in the conference room, your site HR Representative is sitting alongside your manager. You immediately know something isn’t right. Your heart starts to beat faster, your hands may begin to shake, and/or you may begin to sweat.

And then it happens. Your manager delivers the blow: “We have some bad news. You are being terminated/your position is being eliminated effective immediately.”

The news may be completely unexpected or you may have had a gut feeling it was coming. Whichever the case, you may begin to panic with racing thoughts going through your mind. Will I ever find another job? What do I tell my family? What will I do with my free time? How will I pay my bills?

However, this may be the perfect opportunity to reflect upon your strengths and weaknesses and who you are as a person. Did you become “comfortable” in your role if you were there for several years? Were you missing deadlines? Did you have a negative attitude? Is it time for a career change? If so, now is the time to commit to a fresh start and make improvements.

Your job does not define who you are. Yes. It’s a big part of your life because you spend so many hours there, but it is not your identity. Life is full of good and bad times, and losing a job is not a failure. Bouncing back with positivity will make you stronger.

You will find another role. I recommend taking at least a full week off before you begin to job search. You will need time to get over any potential bad feelings or negativity about your past employer.

Then, update your resume, reach out to your network and let them know you are on the job market. Get in front of local recruiters. Apply to relevant roles. Keep trying in spite of rejection.

I have kept in touch with many past employees who had been terminated, and every single one of them moved on to find a much better opportunity. A really bad day for you may turn into the best thing that has happened to you in a long time. You will survive a job loss and in the years ahead, this will just be a blip on the radar of your long career journey.

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About Brenda Maday
Portland, OR