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You Got Fired, Now What? – #WTF Moments in the Workplace

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I’ve successfully managed to gauge when my time is up – when I’ve overstayed my welcome with an employer and it’s best for me to resign. This normally occurs when I’ve worked a job just to get by, or there’s a female leader who cannot stand me.

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Unfortunately my experience with women in power has been a negative one. There’s always at least one high profile female who is dissatisfied with my presentation, my personality, or my entire human existence. I completely support the promotion of women, especially women of color. But in a competitive space constantly trying its best to devour us (women), we often resort to petty, unprofessional behavior. Your office space transforms into the 2016 Rio Olympics, and the only way to win the gold is to eradicate the competition. I won’t blame the egos of strong women for my corporate world pitfalls, but I do acknowledge the difficulties the dynamics create.

Although this is the number one problem I’ve experienced while confining my personality to corporate cubicles, you may have encountered a different set of corporate world problems. Your issues may include: your inability to conform to the expectations set within a professional environment, completing tasks in a timely fashion, managing your tasks appropriately, or simply, showing up on time. You might have found it hard to hold back your boisterous opinions, make nice with your annoying manager, or kiss your boss’s ass just well enough so that he or she will overlook your mistakes. Regardless of the pitfalls you’ve faced, you’ve endured just one too many, and now you’re grudgingly filling out unemployment paperwork.

Yup, you’re fired. After sitting in front of your Mac computer for months, filling out hundreds of job applications, and finally receiving a personalized email scheduling your follow up interview, you’ve dropped the ball.

Just yesterday you were shopping for your “interview suit”, studying the values of the company and memorizing its pillars to success. You aced through three rounds of grueling interview sessions, impressing both the recruiter and your new manager, not to mention the wasted weeks of training and piles of take home material. You’ve allowed hours of hard work and possible potential go swirling down the drain. Your immediate thoughts? Rent, car note, car insurance, benefits, your complete livelihood, and rent again. But as a Young Professional myself, I too have endured the harsh words made popular by the idiotically famed Donald Trump: “You’re fired”. I’m here to share with you 8 immediate reactions that will help you shift your negative mindset of unplanned unemployment to a positive, hyperactive approach that will leave you combating your fears and tackling your professional insecurities.

  1. It’s Okay, Sh*t Happens

Social media has painted a beautiful picture, filled with lavish vacations and fancy clothes, all in support of the idea that no one endures hard times. That being out of work and out of money is a thing of the past, and getting fired just doesn’t happen to people like “us”. Us: the qualified, advantageous, Young Professional with spunk and attitude, and enough talent to carry them through any nine to five. Bullshit. No matter how well off your friends pretend to be, how exited they seem about their careers, at least 8%0 of your comrades are walking on pins and needles, wondering if they’ll make it through the work day… or not. You’re not some invincible worker who’ll never undergo hardship. Given your age and lack of experience, you’re usually one of the first people to go. First things first: face reality. You got fired, it happens, and I’m pretty sure you’re not alone.

  1. Break the News to Your Significant Other

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This may be one of the most difficult times in your life, but your spouse, fiancé, boyfriend and/or girlfriend, deserves to know your job status. You may be worried about their initial reaction, how the unfortunate news may affect them emotionally, but the longer you prolong revealing this information the more untrustworthy you’ll appear. Of course they’ll understand why you were reluctant to spill the beans, but waking up each morning, pretending to go to a job that no longer belongs to you, constantly lying about your whereabouts and the tasks you completed for the day, creates a web of dishonesty you will regret later.

Don’t paint yourself out to be a liar, untrustworthy, and capable of deceit. Take it from me: tell the truth.

Not only will you avoid destroying your reputation and possibly your relationship, you’ll create an organic opportunity for your special someone to display their ride or die attributes. Are you dating a positive or negative person? Will this individual stick by your side despite your misfortune? Will they encourage you to keep going? Will they help you fill out applications on Indeed.com while calling their friends and family to inquire who’s hiring? Allow your significant other to support you, to be there for you, and display their true character in the midst of despair.

  1. File for Unemployment

Most of us imagine a group of downtrodden people standing solemnly in an elongated line, anxiously awaiting the chance to enter some humid building just to fill out piles of paperwork. But times have changed, and the task of filing for unemployment has become much simpler than previously depicted. You can begin the process from the comfort of your home, researching your town’s Department of Labor online and following the steps provided.

You’ll receive unemployment if you’ve been fired at no fault of your own, you’re currently looking for a job, are in approved training, or have a definite recall to a job within six weeks of the last day you worked.

You might even receive insurance benefits for a short period of time. Eligibility for benefits is determined based on previous pay, your reason for termination, and availability.

  1. Don’t Bash Your Boss – Leave Peacefully

Have you been waiting for the moment to express how you feel about your boss? You’ve just been fired – what better time than now to emit horrid comments about his or her leadership skills and those ugly pair of pants they refuse to get rid of. This is the perfect time to scream, yell, and shout all the obscenities you’ve harbored for the last year and a half.

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I’m sorry to inform you, but termination from your job does not give you permission to banter your boss or spit slurs at your former co-workers. Allowing your shitty job to have control over your emotional disposition is a sign of weakness and instability. Do not allow a negative situation to rule your behavior. Walk away from your job with class, an act that will stand as a true testament of your character. Besides, who wants the police called due to public disturbance, misconduct, violent behavior, or whichever law they choose to use in an attempt to indict you.

  1. Monitor Your Savings

If you haven’t started saving your coins, now is the time to implement this necessary habit. For the next few months, you must be the “Frugal Friend” – turning down outings for fear of over spending, canceling dates because you don’t have the funds. No more quick runs to the mall, bottle popping in the club, open tabs at the bar, and Monday through Friday Happy Hour rendezvous. Adjust your daily routine completely; reassess your weekly, monthly, even yearly spending habits. Put aside your ego and put down the debit card. Swipe less, save more, and avoid a financial rut.

  1. Embrace Your Newfound Personal Time

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No more nine to five. No more eight hour days devoted to the prosperity of a head honcho you barely even know. What in the heck will you do with your life? Take this time to invest in self: self-improvement, mental health, and emotional healing. You can start by Going to the Gym. No more complaining about the time and/or energy you lack in a day. With so much newfound freedom, you should be ripped and physically fit! This is the perfect opportunity for you to reinvest in your health and restructure your physique.

Constantly postponing vacays due to your relentless work schedule? Haven’t seen your college crew in years? Need a break from your mundane surroundings and repetitive atmosphere? Take A Trip.

You turn down vacay after vacay, overwhelmed with a hefty workload that just won’t fade. You promise yourself you’ll travel, that you’ll venture out into the world and enjoy what life has to offer. But you quickly renege when forced to choose between clocking in and skipping a few days to play international hooky. Yes I encourage you to save, but statewide trips via car, bus, train, or Spirit Airlines won’t hurt your pockets too badly. Take this time to travel abroad and/or within your national bounds to visit with friends, family, and loved ones. Do it now, or forever hold your corporate world peace.

7. Take Back Your Hobbies… & Your Happiness

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Can you remember the last time you indulged in a personal hobby? How long has it been since you’ve committed time to the activities you love in life? As most of us succumb to the monotony of a nine to five, we forget the little things that genuinely bring us joy. We constantly complain that we don’t have time – the minutes, hours, and/or days to devote to the things we love to do. But you my friend, in the midst of your termination, have been rewarded with a sense of freedom your peers probably yearn for. Use this time wisely, to freely connect with your past self, revisiting your passions and enjoying each of them unapologetically.

Read a book. Read a book from cover to cover, no skipping ahead and skimming through the pages. Devour all forms of writing related to your interests. This is the time to build your library, to increase your knowledge, and impress your friends with witty phrases and literary allusions. You now have the time.

Master a dish. Rushing home from work to pop frozen food into a microwave should no longer be a go-to. Enhance your culinary skills, grocery shop with purpose, all the while impressing your future boo or bae. In the midst of your setback, increase the skills you’ve yet to master or simply neglected due to your hectic work schedule. This is your time to center yourself, and redirect your energy towards stress relievers, positive outlets, and fun-filled past times.

8. Be Positive – Trust Your Path

I remember the day like it was yesterday. A busy Friday centered on attending an in person interview that morning, and making it to my actual place of employment by 12:00 PM. As I worked a full time job I was constantly searching for other opportunities that served as a better reflection of my skills and talents. I consistently applied for gigs, all the while working 46 hours a week.

I worked 6 days per week; punching the clock and watching my bank accounts pile high with cash. Although I was confident in my ability to grow financially, I was forced to step away from my creative interests. Somewhere in the midst of arriving to work each day at 8:15 in the morning and leaving around 6:00 in the evening, I innately committed myself to a newfound career path, under the impression that the hours worked would eventually evolve into a fulfilling, self-sustaining career. I was tricked, committed to the idea of making money while drowning in a sea of depressed persons who too hated their jobs. I was working diligently and consistently, committed to reshaping my mindset, focused on stability while lacking the ability to see that my dreams were slipping away from me. I had been brainwashed.

So much so, that I would’ve continued down this path of misdirection if it weren’t for a sudden, unexpected switch up. The switch? I was fired, left to figure things out on my own, finessing funds to pay for bills I recently committed to while under the impression I had secured “financial security”. All the hours worked, energy invested, and opportunities I declined due to a relentless work schedule, were in vain.

My mother would consistently state how she was proud of me. That she was so elated I secured a “real job”. These statements simply meant she did not believe in the path I truly wished to pursue.

My mother could not fathom the intuition I had developed over time, the type of intuition that allows you to walk away from a termination letter with ease, because you understand that this professional “set-back” is actually a moment of confirmation.

In the moment I was fired I knew the universe conspired for the release of this job, so that I may regain focus and manifest my purpose in life. Everything made sense – the experience and skills I acquired through this position were practiced and applied. I learned a lot. And now it was time for me to go.

On that Friday, a greater force was working in my favor. That same job I interviewed with that morning, just hours before I was terminated is the job I have today. Just when a corporation believed they were placing me in a difficult situation, I was blessed with the opportunity to work in my desired field while accruing more mula.

Never allow a professional setback to induce fear and uncertainty, when all the while, this slight derailing could guide you in a more purposeful direction. My positive mindset, unwavering disposition, and belief in my path allowed me to keep my head high and eyes open – I believed in my personal journey… and I believe in yours too.

Annsleigh Denise is a graduate of Spelman College, earning a Bachelor's Degree in English and a Minor in Multi-Media and Professional Writing. She is a multifaceted creative, focused on the inner-workings of print, publication, and Broadcast Journalism. Possessing notable editorial skills, Annsleigh aspires to utilize her professional experience to impact the world of media.

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