Fired With A Buzz.
My teenage granddaughter came prancing through the door chirping about a new and improved boyfriend. I handed her a box of tissue, and told her she’d need it shortly. After artfully ducking the box, and the back-hand of my wife of 40 years, I exited to chop firewood leaving them to their delusions.
If something is not meant to last forever, it won’t. Boyfriends and bosses are not meant to last forever. If they were, they’d be titled husbands or Japanese employers. Oh wait, those aren’t permanent anymore? Nothing is.
We’re all Temps. The bad news is you’ll lose this job. The good news is you could meet me. The best news is you’ll get another job with or without someone in my line of work. If you’re not lucky enough to meet me here are some actions that will help minimize the tissue and save a tree. What balderdash!
The First 48 Hours.
- Think about the best way to communicate the news to those closest to you. What is the best time of day, anticipate their reaction, when & how to tell the children, and share a basic “moving forward” plan.
- Don’t panic. It’s about you, but it’s really not. People generally follow the lead of the person communicating bad news. Listen to their concerns & paraphrase so that they feel like you heard them. I put a “For Sale” sign in the yard before they got home. Had to duck then too.
- If you can’t say something nice. Shut up. Most don’t want to hear how poorly you were treated, even if you were. Try saying “It’s tough, I’m disappointed, but XYZ Co. helped us put a roof over our head and I learned great skills there. Who’s hiring, and would you consider being a reference?”
Pay Attention To The Details.
- Severance. You probably can’t sign it for seven days, so don’t. See an accountant before an attorney. Accountants understand the tax implications of lump-sum, deferring payment, benefit continuation. Most firms use a variations of a template with differences based on the employees level plus credited service formula. Then manage change of control, non-compete language, etc. as required. Less firms negotiate today than ever.
- References. Anything more than name, rank & serial number is unlikely. Maybe later, and quietly offline when the above is buttoned up. Playing nice on the way out helps.
- Set ego aside, and sign up for unemployment. Follow the rules. Use the benefit for your family. Check into TAA (Trade Adjustment Act) eligibility for grants and funding of further education.
Think and Dream.
- Even if the termination was out of your control quietly ask yourself ”What should I have done more of, less of, and continued to do?” Answer honestly, and do that moving forward. It’s now over, if you choose.
- What do you want to do? What industry, type of business, geographical location, big or small company, work culture do you want to be a part of? Do you want to become an entrepreneur, or volunteer-aka, outplacement consultant (joke… boss)
- Start framing your initial sound byte for recruiters, former managers, peers, etc. Remember the “if you can’t say something nice, don’t” line. Focus on your new skill sets, and your value.
Over the short term don’t panic, focus, think and dream. Spend time communicating with your family. Remember, it’s about you but it’s not only about you. They follow your lead and are concerned about you as well. We’re all temps. The next boyfriend, boss, or perhaps even your first customer will come along. I’m reminded I need to meet my granddaughter’s new boyfriend and see to it that a tree passes on. What balderdash.
Charles Buzz Smith. SR Curmudgeon & VP Consulting Services. OPI Outplacement. Outsourcing Partners, Inc. OPI, a national outplacement and career transition company is headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee.