What not to do after getting fired?

5th Jul 2015
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Getting fired is possibly one of the most gut-wrenching feelings an individual can go through. And like any incident that is difficult or life-changing, the first instinct most people have is to reject it, almost to the point of non-acceptance. The reasons for getting fired might be a singular transgression or several, but no matter what the reasons might be, there is an important list of do’s and don’ts that one should follow immediately after being sidelined. We spoke to a few HR professionals to get a better understanding of what works best for an employee who has been fired.

1. Don't panic

According to Dev Tripathi, Founder of Goalsketch and a HR professional, the first thing people think about is the liabilities that they have - which in turn makes them panic. Dev says, "With the majority of people, meeting their EMI commitments is of prime importance. They are worried about the next payment. This just does not help the individual."

Image credit: Shutter Stock
Image credit: Shutter Stock

2. Don't become unprofessional in any way

People need to understand that they are in a in a professional space. It's very easy to take a firing as a personal affront, especially if the issues are not related to you or your work. Nevertheless, in a professional environment, it is imperative that you maintain your dignity and composure.

"There is no point in bad mouthing people and spoiling relationships," says Dev. Besides, it also affects your references. According to Divya Ghai, who has been an HR professional for over nine years, “You're burning all your bridges with the organisation if you bad-mouth. After all, the industry that you work in is probably a small world, and in many cases, companies try and give good references to the people they fire.”

3. Don't take it personally

Divya says that employees need to stand back and not take it personally. It is not necessarily a bad commentary on your quality of work. "Many times, companies fire an individual not because they have a problem with him or her, but because of the company’s need to downsize,” adds Divya.

4. Don't vent your frustrations on email

One of the first reactions that most employees have is to email and vent to the world around them, about how the firing process was unfair to them. Even if what you say is true, this sort of behaviour just adds to the earlier point of being unprofessional. Firing is a very sensitive issue - there are pages after pages of legal documentation of what was done and why. If the employee ends up ranting on an email, he or she can be blacklisted. Besides, there are many instances when employees have been rehired. This affects all that.

5. Sooner you accept it, the better

As mentioned earlier, the first stage is denial and non-acceptance, and this leads to frustration and lack of professionalism. The sooner you accept the situation the better. "It helps you re-organise your thoughts and actually work out something for yourself in terms of your finances, and even in finding a job," adds Dev.

6. Don't waste the notice period. Utilize it to your advantage

While it's easy to feel sorry for yourself, the best thing one can do is to utilize the time you have been given (notice period) to develop your skills, and find another job. Even in cases where employees have been asked to leave immediately, they are offered severance packages, or asked to work from home and continue in the company's payroll. The employee needs to use this period to their best advantage.

As a postscript, we can conclude that it is imperative that fired employees remain cool and collected. There are several issues that are associated with firing - social, psychological, emotional and financial - organisations understand that, and even offer help-lines that employees can reach out to, and seek counselling from. In a country like India, where there are negative social implications associated with firing, it is best to seek help if you are feeling low and are finding it difficult to cope with.

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