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Fired Up: Getting from fired to hired

By April 17, 2017 No Comments
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Whether you were “laid off” because your employer can no longer afford to pay you or “fired” because you made some rookie mistakes, there are a few basics you should know about dealing with job loss.

Losing your job can feel like you’ve lost it all – there goes your income and your dignity. But at the end of the day, there could be good news hiding behind that pink slip. You just joined the ranks of some very successful people who have also lost their jobs. Before earning two Academy Awards, Robert Redford was canned from his gig bagging groceries. When Kwame Jackson was fired in front of millions by Donald Trump on The Apprentice, he started his own company.

Whether you were “laid off” because your employer can no longer afford to pay you or “fired” because you made some rookie mistakes, there are a few basics you should know about dealing with job loss. After all, you won’t be leaving for work tomorrow, so what’s next?

Get Fired Up

The national unemployment rate was a mere 4.8 percent in July 2006. The opportunities are out there. But with only 12 percent of American workers extremely satisfied with their jobs, you should take a good look at what you are leaving behind. Were you unhappy, stressed and counting down the minutes until closing time? Now you can dive into a job you are passionate about. If you just lost the best job you ever had, evaluate your experience. Where can you improve? What couldn’t you control? When Bernie Marcus was fired from a hardware store, he found a few ways to do a better job. Creating the concept for Home Depot, Bernie made billions.

Get Legal

You could be legally entitled to receive benefits from your employer. Ask about accrued vacation, overtime, sick pay, severance pay, and the extension of your company health insurance plan. You may also be eligible for unemployment benefits depending on the reasons for your termination. Visit to find your state unemployment office and learn more about the qualifications for compensation.

Get Income

Consider using multiple streams of income from temporary positions to pay the bills. Look for part-time jobs that provide benefits – companies like Starbucks, REI, and Costco offer health insurance packages for part-time employees. You could sell your photography, work as a waiter, and do freelance graphic design to get by while searching for a more permanent job.

Get Adjusted

Without your previous paycheck, you will likely have to adjust your spending habits. Consider switching to a less expensive phone plan, ditching the cable, and eating at home more often. If you’ve got student loans or a mortgage, you may need to look into forbearance or a possible loan.

Get Covered

Accidents happen and the last thing you need is to get saddled with hospital bills. Look into short-term health insurance programs to keep yourself covered. You can compare short term plans at If you were covered by your company, you may be able to extend that health plan through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Check out the Department of Labor website at for more information. When you score a new job, keep in mind that many company health insurance plans don’t kick-in for 90 to 180 days.

Get Your Story Straight

Background checks and references are standard resources for employers, so avoiding the topic of how you left your last job is not likely an option. Paul W. Barada, Monster Salary and Negotiation Expert, suggests being honest about being fired, explaining what you learned, and moving on to the strengths you can bring to the position you are applying for. Don’t blame or insult your last employer in an interview. Shoulder some of the responsibility and keep the conversation moving. Show reflection and confidence to earn the respect of future employers.

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