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What To Do If You Get Fired

Updated on February 24, 2013

So You've Been Fired; What Do You Do Now?

There are few things in life that feel worse than getting fired. There's something about it that just makes you feel like a failure - even when it happens through no fault of your own (e.g., due to a merger).

That said, being fired doesn't have to be a terribly sad event. In fact, it might be one of the best things that ever happened to you. There are plenty of ordinary people who got fired, and then went on to fame and fortune, as you can see by visiting Famous People Who Were Fired and Bounced Back. In short, I believe in looking at getting fired as an opportunity - the opportunity of a lifetime, in fact.

("You're Fired" Mug available at


What To Do For a Career

So you've just been fired, and now you're looking for another source of income. But don't just rush out and get a job for the sake of having a job. Being fired liberated you; you're free! You can do whatever you want! That being the case, why would you take just any old job - especially a job you may not care for?

The truth of the matter is that your job limited you. Your growth and potential were always kept in check by what your employer wanted - that's who dictated what you were and what you could become career-wise. But you don't have those restrictions any more. The being the case, you need to ponder what it is you really want to do as a career for the rest of your life.

So what's always been your dream? Do you want to be an artist? Do you want to own your own restaurant? Did you always fancy becoming a writer? Whatever it is, that's what you should be pursuing, not another job. In short, it's time to be employ yourself, and put all those skills you have to work on your own behalf. Almost immediately you will start to realize the Benefits of Being Your Own Boss.

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Assess Your Skills for Your Dream Job

Now that you've decided not to settle for just any old career, it's time to assess the skill set required for your dream job. Do you have the proper knowledge, skill, experience, etc.?

Don't misunderstand; this assessment shouldn't deter you from pursuing your dream; it should merely give you an idea of the areas where you may need to shore up your talents. For instance, if you always wanted to be a novelist but spent the last 10 years writing software code, it might be worthwhile to take a basic grammar course at a local community college. (Also bear in mind that if your dream job also entails being the boss, you might want to take a few business or management courses if you don't have a background in such.)


Seek Funding If Necessary

Pursuing your dream career may require more rsources than you have at your disposal. Funding, for instance, may be an issue. However, don't be deterred, as there are many places you can go to for funding, from the Small Business Administration (who offer SBA loans) to venture capitalist. (Home Depot, for instance, received its initial funding from a venture capital firm.)

In short, don't let money be an obstacle. Remember, this is your dream, and if you give up on it then it will never happen because nobody else cares about your dreams - they're busy trying to make their own dreams reality.


Miscellaneous Items

Of course, I've focused here primarily on pursuing your dream once you get fired - letting the fact that you are unfettered to finally focus on the things that you feel are important. Still, there are some practical matters that will require attention following dismissal from your job. With that in mind, here are some things that will require your attention after you get a pink slip:

Get a Handle on Your Benefits

Make sure you get a thorough understanding of what benefits you have coming to you and how long they last. Compensation due, severance pay, medical/dental, etc. (Also, it's worth noting that COBRA health insurance is available for many fired employees for 18 months following job termination.)

File for Unemployment

It may take a little while for everything to clear and you don't know how long you will be out of work, so feel free to sile early for unemployment benefits.

Conserve Cash

Cut back on unnecessary expenses. Things like excessive dining out, vacations, etc. will need to be curtailed. Moreover, little luxuries like cable TV may have to go as well.

Look for Additional Sources of Income

Although you may not have a traditional 9-to-5, there are still ways to earn income. Thus, you can look at ways of Generating Passive Income online, as well as How to Make a Fast $50 Offline.

Update Your Resume

Also, if you decide that your own dream isn't worth pursuing and has truly been cancelled, you should probably update your resume. It also won't hurt to start practicing your interview technique, among other things.

Poll on What to Do If You Get Fired

If you were to be fired from your current job, which of the following would you do?

See results

Summary: Your Career After Being Fired

In brief, being fired can be the best thing that ever happened to you.

It will liberate you so that you can pursue your own dreams and make them real, rather than working to make that happen for someone else.

It can give you a chance to reach your full potential and achieve true greatness.

Finally, I'd like to leave you with one bit of food for thought: in the movie Up In The Air, George Clooney's character is essentially a hatchet man. He's paid to fly all over creation for the sole purpose of firing people. However, he's learned to do this with a bit of finesse, and early in the film he terminates a guy who - naturally - is upset. The Clooney character looks at the guy's background and says something like, "I see it says you initially wanted to be a chef." The guy agrees, but says something along the lines of life getting in the way, needing a regular job, etc. Clooney kind of eggs him to give that a try again (because it really was what the guy wanted to do his whole life), saying something like, "And what was your starting salary here? How much did they pay you to make you give up on your dream?" The guy kind of snorts derisively and mentions a lowball number, obviously convinced that the salary wasn't worth it.

With that in mind, you should consider the question: For that job you just got fired from (or may still be working), how much did they pay you to make you give up on your dream?

(All posters available at

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    • gmwilliams profile image

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      4 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Great article regarding how to rebound after being fired. For some, being fired is THE END while to others, being fired is only the beginning of something great in the making!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      The Four Hour Workweek is a very motivating book! Although I have never been fired, I have been in jobs where the contracts have a fixed end, if you don't have a new contract lined up somewhere else, it can be as if you have been fired!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Answer to the question -"For that job you just got fired from (or may still be working), how much did they pay you to make you give up on your dream?"

      They only pay you as much as they have to so you don't quit. No more -no less.

      Dave Potts

    • Mawkjump profile image


      6 years ago

      Good advice for anyone on the job hunt. Thanks for this.

    • goo2eyes lm profile image

      goo2eyes lm 

      6 years ago

      if i get fired, i will make sure that i know my rights and if something is not conform to the labor regulations, i will consult the labor dept and it will provide a lawyer for free. then, i stay and work at home. there´s a lot of money on the internet. you just have to tap it.

    • OrlandoTipster profile image


      6 years ago

      Like the saying goes..... One door closes another one opens!

      Just can't be afraid to walk through it.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Very nice article, nicely done! SQuidlike

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 

      6 years ago from Ljubljana

      I already have my dream job. Now i just have to earn my dream salary...

    • KandDMarketing profile image


      6 years ago

      Fired = Open Door to opportunity! At least, it has been for me. I was "outsourced several years back. Honestly, I've been much happier and made more money consulting and doing eCommerce/internet marketing than I ever did on a job. They really did me a favor! Nice lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Oh my, it can be tough getting fired ... especially explaining it in an interview for that next job!

    • Camden1 profile image


      6 years ago

      Great tips on coping with a very stressful situation!


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