What to Do When Your Company Leaves You in the Cold

For many of us, the day has come where we’ve walked in to see the boss, only to find out that your position has been terminated.  No matter how long you’ve been at the company, it’s going to be a bit of a shock to your system.  While you are looking to move your career forward with a new company, it won’t take much to get you into a depressive slump as you spend hours on the computer, looking for another job. It’s hard work, without a doubt.

Here is some advice on what to do when our company leaves you in the cold:

Give yourself space and time to calm down

After you’ve lost a position, you need to take time to calm down from your anger and frustration and figure out what you want to do with your life.  For most of us, we are angry and bitter about being let go, so give yourself space and time to get over that.  Make sure you keep your current job status to yourself and a few trusted people so that you have someone to rant to.

Put together a good “exit story”

When you’ve taken that important time to calm down, you can start putting yourself together and move towards your next career.  The first step: create an exit story.  This is something that you would work out with your previous employer in terms of the reason that you left the company, but also with yourself.  Develop an honest but positive response to the following question:

“Why ’did you leave your job?” 

Take the time to make the right exit story that works for you, and focus on what you’re going to do next.

Prioritize your goals

You can’t move forward until you’ve identified your goals. Is it to be your own boss?  Is it to have a certain job title?  Is it to work for a certain company?

Take this time and figure out what those goals are. Once you’ve narrowed down your career goals, it’s time for action. You’ll also find that you will be more energized about the job hunt, too, because it will get you excited about what it is you are working towards.

“When you come to a fork in the road, take it.” — Yogi Berra

Have a “to do” list and stick to it

You need to make sure that you put together an itemized list of the things that you need to focus on. This needs to be a detailed list with deadlines for each one (apply for 2 jobs a week, for example). And stick to it!

Crossing things off your list keeps you on the right path (getting a new job), and it’s very satisfying feeling, knowing you’re on a steady course to a better career.

Additionally, make sure you take a few days off here and there from job hunting.  There is such a thing as burning yourself out, and you need to take time to step back, admire your progress, and re-energize yourself. Time in between jobs is all about self-reflection: who you are, who you want to be. and how can I get what I want.

Social Networking

Go to LinkedIn, and find professionals, working in an area that you’re interested in. Contact them and set-up “informational interviews.” You shouldn’t ask for a job in these meetings, but it’s a chance to connect with an “influencer” who can introduce you to other influencers. These other influencers could be people who are hiring or simply an HR contact at his or her current firm.

Set-up an account with Quora. Answer questions on Quora, and show your expertise. Dozens of people ask questions everyday. Prove that you’re good at what they do, and connect with Quora users.

Write on Medium. Make videos on Youtube. If you have time, create an on-line course and start selling it on Coursehorse.com. As you become more active online, people will start coming to you.

Bottom-Line: Get active in your search

Use technology to help you search

The world is changing now, so make sure that you change with it.  Make sure that you hunt for your future career using social media, especially LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not only great for social networking, but it’s a great job board.

You can also search through jobs using online websites such as Kijiji, Indeed, Monster, etc.  When you use these search engines, you’ll find that you are going to see more than you would have by doing it the old fashioned way.

Finally, if you’re looking into joining the startup industry, you should look into Hired.com or Vested. Hired.com does an excellent job in placing engineering candidates to technology firms, and here at Vested we focuse on connecting accounting/finance professionals to technology startups.

“Getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.” — Steve Jobs (2005)

We won’t be like Steve Jobs. However, we can all learn from Jobs’ experience. Losing one’s job is a low point in one’s career. Rather than wallowing in the pits of despair, Jobs became more active. He used the time in between jobs, as a time for self-reflection and introspection. Then he put a plan in place, and started Pixar (creator of Toy Story movies) and NeXT (bought by Apple).

If you recently lost your job, take the time to reflect on your career. Assess your goals and take action.