What NOT To Do When You Lose Your Job

When you lose your job, it's very tempting to lash out at anyone in your path. After all, you've been wronged, so someone needs to take the heat. Everyone expects you to be angry and upset at getting fired or laid off, but don't take the bait. Being outwardly bitter and vituperative will only prevent you from accessing the help you need from your friends and colleagues. While there are no official rules for how to act when you're let go, there are unwritten guidelines to keep in mind.

Don't publicly blame anyone.
With your close friends and family members, if you need to vent and assign blame, go ahead. However, when it comes to the rest of the world, pointing the finger at someone else will only make you look like a sore loser, and no one wants to get involved with a sore loser.

Don't burn any bridges.
Take the high road, no matter how bad your situation was at work. Perhaps you are actually happy to be on the list of layoffs because you couldn't stand your boss or your job, but there's no need to share that information with anyone outside of your closest circle of friends and confidants. Do not speak ill of anyone at your workplace. You know the rule: "If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all." Follow it and you won't be sorry later.

More: Laid-Off ESPN Employee Fights Back On Facebook

Don't be a bitter job seeker.
Of course, you have a right to go through your angry phase. Take out your anger at the gym, do not vent in public. Even though you may have been wronged at work, the unfortunate fact is: no one cares. Your bad situation is not their problem. When you insist on letting everyone know why your colleague should be the one looking for work instead of you, you may think you are winning sympathy, but it's more likely you're losing supporters. Those seemingly sympathetic people are probably shaking their heads when they leave you and making a note that they don't want to have anything to do with connecting such an angry, bitter person to their professional network.

Don't tell everyone you got let go because of your age.
Yes, age discrimination is real. However, when you tell everyone you know you were let go because you're a Boomer, and you earned too much money, you are not helping yourself look better. In fact, your comments may trigger people's fears about referring a bitter, over-experienced job seeker to their network of friends and colleagues. Plus, it's just as likely age did not play a specific role in your layoff. Perhaps you weren't keeping up with the skills and experiences your organization required. Mentioning age just makes people wonder and worry if maybe you are out-of-date and too old. This does not help you network to land a new job.

Don't put your head in the sand; prepare.
Don't assume it will be easy to land a new opportunity, so make sure to take action right away to set yourself up to prepare for your job hunt. Prepare your materials, your online presence and your pitch so you will be ready when you have an opportunity to apply for a job or to introduce yourself to a new contact.

Don't go around and tell everyone you're looking for a position.
This may seem like the opposite of the advice you've heard. Yes, you need to tap into your network, but when you approach everyone you know and tell them you are looking for a job, it's unlikely they are going to stop to think about how they can help you. Instead, focus your networking efforts and learn to introduce yourself based on the skills you have and the value you offer. In other words, be the professional you are; don't walk around with a "J" for job seeker on your forehead.

More: 7 Ways You Can Legally Be Fired For Your Appearance

Don't forget online tools can help expand your network and demonstrate your expertise.
Social networking tools can help connect you to new contacts and people who may be willing to refer you for opportunities. Build your online presence so it is easier for people to identify you as being an expert in your field. Be sure your LinkedIn profile is 100% complete and consider what other social networks may make sense for you to use.

Don't spend all of your time online.
It's tempting to sit at the computer and apply for any job that you could reasonably do, but resist this urge. The majority of employers fill jobs via networking, so you should make sure that online applications only take a part of your job search efforts.

Consider the upside.
Sometimes, a layoff or job loss has a silver lining. Be honest with yourself: did you hate your job and always wish you had the guts to try something new? Maybe it's time to start your own business, or to turn a hobby you are passionate about into a full-time, income producing opportunity.

More from Keppie Careers
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Five tips to start your own business
What not to say when you are looking for a job

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alaaddean

Thank you Miriam for this important and interesting subject.

June 19 2013 at 11:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steve Borek

When you get let go from an employer, it's vital to get into a routine and not fall into the trap of drifting and letting time go by.

Also, do something you've always wanted to do though it's been sitting on the shelf collecting dust:

- Take a trip
- Reconnect with old friends
- Take up piano ( I did as a boomer) or other hobby
- Spend more time with family

It's your life, not a dress rehearsal.

Reframe the loss of a job. Flip it! Your next chapter will be so much better.

June 18 2013 at 10:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rhianon

When I've gotten fired for favoritism or no apparent reason, I send some goons to follow them. Then they get their @ss stomped. Hmmm.......I wonder if it was that little short one with glasses that did this. You'll never know now will you. Ha ha

June 18 2013 at 1:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ddokken69

Above all, don't shitbomb his car!!!

June 18 2013 at 1:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Aissa2

Don't post your feelings, comments, complaints on Facebook, social media or here. You don't know who is reading what you say and can prevent you from gaining re employment. May as well, ensure you have sturdy shoes, at least one appropriate outfit. Hopefully, you left enough cash behind you where you left in order to pay for them to give you a reference worthy of somebody else wanting to hire you. Bottom line? In this day and age, grovel., kiss behind, shine, shine, shine so you don't end up unemployed. You may never see the light of day or the legit information appearing on another paycheck.

June 17 2013 at 7:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Harry Hurt

What happens if a vindictive employer tells anyone who inquires that you were a union activist.

June 17 2013 at 3:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ROBERT

ahh so this is whats its come too theses days , just take it in the butt , dont whine or whimper , just say thank you and may i have some more please. now move along like a good sheeple does . hmmmm come to think of it , our government likes you this way too.

June 17 2013 at 3:06 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
CareerShift

Type your comment hereDon’t forget to take what you’ve learned and use every experience to be better in the future. You may have been cut from the team, but that doesn’t mean you have to forget about an opportunity you were given, especially if it positively impacted your career. As you noted, don’t burn bridges, say thank you, and move forward. You’ll be better when you handle a layoff this way.

June 17 2013 at 2:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
nomad1

exactly, never tell your boss or coworkers anything that can come back and bite you in the rear end. : ) because you may or may not work with them again somewhere else. : ) hahahahaha

June 17 2013 at 2:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mike

Wouldn't most of this list be considered enabling the problem? It's bad enough job's treat their employees like garbage, but keeping silent does nothing but perpetuate the problem. I understand the don't burn bridges thing but really...it's quite counter productive for society. This put's all the power on the bosses of the world to remain the soulless leaches the majority of them are.

For the record I am employed full time. So I'm not a bitter job seeker. I am a believer in the dead art of companies that fairly compensate their employees. The long dead days where the top of the ladder only made 30% more than the bottom. Not like today where the top of the ladder makes 300% more. Perhaps one day I will run a business that allows me to pay livable wages to my employees while enjoying a few luxuries in my own life.

June 17 2013 at 10:46 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply

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