Be Dignified in Job Loss

While it's never pleasant to lose a job, being fired can be the beginning of something new in your life and staying dignified during the process of leaving the job can be one means by which you leave your reputation intact and your future chances brighter. Getting your next job depends on how gracefully you exit your previous job. Therefore, if job loss is akin to death, try to die with dignity (career-wise), because you will be resuscitated and rehabilitated faster if you do.


  1. Accept the situation. While the reality may be that your job has gone through no choice of your own, you can choose to see this as a Transition from a Military Career period rather than as a loss. Every person should have a career objective that over-arches any individual job. Seen this way, while the loss is painful because you didn't make the choice, a job loss can be viewed as part of proceeding through your career trajectory as a whole rather than viewing that job as the sole source of fulfillment of your career objectives. One job alone cannot take you to your ultimate career destination or goals; rather, the lost job is a stepping stone that got shifted along the path to your career fulfillment. And now it's time to find your feet landing on the next stepping stone and the next series of jobs that will take you in the direction you wish to be.
    • Part of the acceptance process is about preserving your Improve Your Self Esteem. While you may feel rightfully angry and upset about the loss, if you continue to feel this way over a long period of time, you reduce your chances of getting back on your feet and looking for a new job. Avoid seeing this as something that you can't hurdle because you can. And avoid seeing it as someone else's fault; it may well be but blaming doesn't improve your personal situation.
  2. Leave the door open. When leaving, do so in a manner that reflects respect for the times you had in the job and for the colleagues you spent time with. A dignified exit does not involve upending your desk, throwing rotten eggs at the boss's door or speaking vindictively on your blog page. You never know when such negative actions may come back to haunt you. In some cases, the firm may even be able to re-hire former employees if times get better and you wouldn't want your reputation blotted!
    • Speak about the positives in relation to what you have contributed and what you have received in return from the employer. This isn't just about leaving a Make a Good Impression in the public sphere; it's also about reminding yourself to be grateful for what you did get out of the job and how the good things you achieved and learned during the job will help you to find your next job.
    • Your public statements should reflect a feeling that you have always had the company's interests in mind while working or taking decisions.
    • Talk about the good times only. What worth is there in dragging yourself through the negatives? It makes you feel bad and it keeps you stuck in anger or Stop Suffering in Silence. By all means commiserate over what has happened with your nearest and dearest because job loss is horrible but don't cause your misery about the job loss to become the only way you engage with others or they'll soon find you a bore.
    • Cut out any statements about unfair treatment and the like. Not only is this airing dirty laundry in a negative way but it could jeopardize your chances of bringing legal action against your former employer if there really is something you can do to get reinstated or to be compensated for the dismissal. The less negative things said in public, the better; save the details for your legal advisers or your diary.
  3. Don't burn your bridges. It can be very easy to mouth off at your soon-to-be ex-employer but to do so can burn bridges eternally and may also impact the impressions of other people in the same industry or field within which you work. The world is small and the chairman of your previous organization and the chairman of the future organization could be part of same governing body or board in some organization or charity. There is a possibility that the chairman or director of your previous company could be associated with your future employer. In fact, given the increased interconnectedness of our world, there is likely to be a connection somewhere along the way even if it's just in passing, so take care of your own interests totally by avoiding bashing your previous employer.
    • Remember that anything left online stays there and does the rounds too. Be really careful about how you write about job loss online. For example, explaining how you feel or felt generally can be truly helpful to others in your situation but naming your boss and calling him a string of unflattering words won't do you any favors at all. It's not that you can't discuss job loss online, it's about how you discuss it. Use your common sense and your manners when you do!
    • If you're feeling that you're gagged, think of this as being about common courtesy. Nobody wants to talked about and your future employer is no different – they would be concerned that you have this "bad habit" of blabbing rudely when things go wrong for you if they hear your complaints about a previous employer. Yes, you can feel angry, hurt and betrayed but it won't help you to inflame the loss by ranting or cursing others for it. Tread the line very carefully when you discuss the loss publicly and stick to the facts.
  4. Counter false accusations. While this happens very rarely, it does happen, especially in a climate of fear where it's easier to blame those being moved out than to accept responsibility as someone still with the company. However, such abuse of your good name can stick and can infect the decisions of others within the same industry when they seek to hire you, so you may need to stand up for yourself or to clear the air in some way. Organizations sometimes spread false stories about the fired employees to justify their actions. If you are a victim of this, respond immediately with the correct version of the events. Be bold and loud about it. Silence from your side will give credence to the falsehood spoken by them. A delayed response will also not have the same impact as the immediate one as by then the people would have believed the version of your ex-employer.
    • You don't have to do this alone. There are employee advocates, legal advisers, counselors, union representatives (in some cases) and human resources avenues that you can avail yourself of. Don't assume the worst; ask for help.
  5. Highlight your latest accomplishments. Speak about your latest accomplishments in your previous job. This will suppress any stories coming out about your failures from management or even from colleagues. It is also part of the process of salvaging the good that came from your work, so that you're readying yourself to explain to potential future employers the fantastic accomplishments that you have to bring to the new job. The sooner you start to think about the lost job in this light, the sooner you'll recover and find it easier to throw yourself back into the job hunt, feeling worthy and accomplished.
    • Think carefully about how you present your job experience to anyone – nobody enjoys hearing someone complain about how awful or bad their previous job was because it often cuts too close to people's own experiences and also sounds like whining and inability to make the most of a bad situation.
    • If you can't say anything nice at all about your last job, don't even raise it as a matter of discussion with friends, former colleagues or anyone else. Change the subject!
  6. Admit your mistakes and learn from them. Be honest about your mistakes and create a genuine impression that you have learned from them. If your job loss occurred as a result of things you did (or omitted to do), use this transition time to work through any Beat Your Flaws in you work performance and improve any areas of your learning that might need it. This will show future employers that you are willing to change and to learn, two aspects of an employee that are vital in work life.
  7. Temporarily take an available but not necessarily ideal job if the bills are pressing. Sometimes your career needs to take a detour because the bills need paying and the groceries need to be replenished. For some people there is the argument that taking something less than your lost job or a job not within your usual field is a come down in life. Yet, in times of need, having a job is better than sitting around griping futilely over upholding your principles. Provided you keep your eye on the overall career objectives and see a temporary job in something that isn't really what you wanted to do as a stepping stone or a holding pattern instead of as a hurdle, you won't take your eye off eventually shifting back to the jobs you really want to be doing. It's when you give up and label yourself as not being accomplished or worthy that things start to fall apart, so stay confident and keep focused on moving through this transition with grace. Things will get better if you keep working at them.
  8. Get involved in unemployed unions or organisations.


  • Never say or blog anything that could be construed as a threat against your former workplace or co-workers. "They'll be sorry that they fired me."
  • Keep your daily routine as normal as possible. Don't sleep the day away, get up and get moving. If you can't afford a gym membership, take a brisk walk. Go easy on the fast food and sweets. You want to fit into your suit when you are called for an interview.
  • If you are suffering from depression, anxiety, stress and/or you have suicidal feelings, get help immediately. You are not expected to transition alone or to be a superhero. Job loss hurts and can damage you irreparably if you're unable to find the coping skills alone or if you fall into an abyss of thinking you'll never work again. You will work again provided you don't sabotage your chances. Seek professional help to get through the hump and transition more smoothly.
  • If you do feel that you were dismissed unfairly, seek legal advice as soon as possible. Keep as many records as possible and even if you have no records of emails, memos, etc., write down everything while it's fresh in your mind after the job loss. As time moves on, it's harder to remember things accurately, especially if you let your negative emotions reshape the events in your memory. Having a chronology of events and issues written down neatly will help your legal advisers to quickly ascertain if you have an action and if they can help you. It is also strongly advised that you get psychological support if you go through settlement and/or trial processes, as they are not intended to be easy on you.

Things You'll Need

  • Journal to document thoughts and feelings
  • Strong resolve to weather the storm
  • The ability and the temperament to face and stave off mini tempest at home almost everyday.
  • An access to unlimited internet facility at affordable price for searching jobs and acquiring knowledge about subjects related to your domain and management.
  • Little savings to survive during the unemployment period.

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