How to Keep From Feeling Blue if You Get a Pink Slip

Hey, Even Steve Jobs Was Fired From Apple

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Getting fired hurts. It's sort of like being dumped by a lover but also comes with all kinds of unpleasant financial and professional implications. Unfortunately, there's huge turnover within agencies, so one day it'll probably be your turn. Even if you see it coming, even if you get a generous severance package and letter of recommendation, it'll probably take a good chunk of your confidence. Below, a few things to remember.


1.GETTING FIRED IS LIFE'S WAY OF TELLING YOU TO MOVE ON.

Assuming you didn't get fired for shtupping the boss' wife in the mailroom, something wasn't working. Maybe it was the wrong agency for you or maybe you had an unsupportive boss. In any case, learn from your mistakes but redirect your energy toward what's next.


2. FEAR OF BEING FIRED MAKES YOU MORE LIKELY TO GET FIRED.

Obsessing over whether you'll get the ax can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You cannot be your most successful if you're nervous. Focus on your job performance, seeking honest feedback and making real changes as needed. (That said, go ahead and update your résumé.)


Sally Hogshead
Sally Hogshead is a freelance writer and a professional speaker. Read more at radicalcareering/hogblog.

3. IF YOU'RE NOT THRILLED WITH YOUR EMPLOYER, ODDS ARE IT'S MUTUAL.

Don't cling to a job if you're miserable. It's human nature to want stable employment with a cushy vacation policy and free leftover bagels. But in order to truly rock the house in any job, you have to feel completely engaged and, if not necessarily overjoyed with your job, at least dedicated.


4. YOUR SUDDENLY FORMER JOB WILL LOOK A LOT BETTER IN RETROSPECT.

Even if you dreaded Mondays and had a voodoo doll of your boss, that all changes when you're carrying the contents of your office in a box. But if you were miserable, don't second-guess yourself. Deposit the severance check and consider it a cushy landing for that friendly push out of the nest.


5. DON'T WORRY ABOUT WHETHER YOU'LL HAVE TO START EATING CAT FOOD.

This is a time when perception and reality probably don't match. Just because you feel vulnerable doesn't mean you won't get another job.


6. BEING FIRED IS NOT THE KISS OF DEATH. CRAPPY WORK, HOWEVER, IS.

Employers understand that things can sour for any number of reasons. Great people get canned in every agency. The firing won't be as much of an issue as why it happened. If you're pounding the pavement with a lame portfolio or weak references, yeah, that's a bit of a problem.


7. AVOID THIS UNPLEASANTNESS BY MAKING YOURSELF 'FIRE-PROOF.'

There's no better protection against unemployment than a brilliant track record, reputation and network of supporters. The best security you can have is proof of what you've accomplished.


8. ONE DAY YOU MIGHT ACTUALLY THANK THE SCHMUCK WHO FIRED YOU.

Over and over, people tell me getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to them. Yeah, it messed with their heads, but it allowed them to figure out what wasn't working so they could get on with their careers.

Bottom line: You can't control whether you're let go. You can, however, control the quality of your work. And remember, Steve frickin' Jobs was fired from Apple years ago. And things turned out pretty OK for him, wouldn't you say?
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