Being fired can come as a jolting shock, and nobody ever expects that it will happen to them. Unfortunately sometimes circumstances align that create wholly unexpected situations and results that have nothing to do with performance.
Such scenarios that we’ve seen include an executive who was fired by his employer of 10+ years after a breach of corporate policy by one of his direct reports, and in another instance an executive firing following a change in the senior leadership team and the escalation of a serious clash over philosophy and company direction.
If you should find yourself in the unsettling position of being fired, the first step is to assess your situation and start putting together an action plan.
Step #1 is to determine where you want to go from here. Once you’re past the shock and resentment that typically accompanies a firing, spend some time giving thought to what you want to do moving forward. Are you going to seek a lateral move to another company, remain in the industry or transition to another industry, or go in an entirely new direction?
Step 2 is to update your resume. If your resume is out of date, e.g. lacks the position from which you’ve been terminated, make sure you have the key metrics for the company and your role that you’ll need in order to flesh out your accomplishments, e.g. revenue and profit numbers. (If you don’t have this information or you’ve left the company without an opportunity to do so, if possible find a trusted contact still employed by the company to provide this information for you.)
Step #3 is reaching out to your network of contacts and performing due diligence of the market, industry etc. This is also a good time to ramp up online business networking. Update your LinkedIn Resume, ask for recommendations, join groups (within your industry or industries which you plan to target).
Here are some additional practical suggestions:
An unexpected termination can serve as a catalyst for other changes that can rejuvenate or transform a career (sometimes changes that have been contemplated but never acted upon in lieu of job security), for example moving to a smaller (or larger) company, changing industries, pursuing further education and/or certifications, downgrading to a less stressful role with better work-life balance, or transitioning to a new career.