What do Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and Thomas Edison all have in common? They were all fired early on in their careers but went on to become highly successful. Getting fired has the potential to lift a person higher or cause him/her to sink down. It all depends on how you handle the situation. If you are the one standing on the other side of the termination slip, let’s look at how to turn being fired into a positive for your career.
Honest self-analysis and scrutiny is important now. It would be easy to shrug off, ignore, or bury being fired, but this won’t bring you to the light of self-growth. If you have any uncertainty about why you have been fired, if feasible, set up a brief interview (phone or in person) with your boss; ask him/her for an honest assessment of why you were fired. Make sure it’s clear you’re inquiring so you can take steps to improve for future jobs. Although, this is probably a hard thing to do, it will pay off in the long run.
Another thing to be reckoned with is that, even with all of your skills and talents, you are expendable. We all are. Always keep that in mind. It’s humbling, but should help keep the ego in check.
When someone fires you, it’s natural to feel angry, bitter, and defensive. But going with our natural feelings just isn’t going to be productive. This is a time for going against the natural inclination and using a bit of will-power. You will have to resist the urge to defend yourself, because it will only lead to bitterness — which is a dead-end street. Your attitude must stay positive and forward-looking.
Now that you have had time for self-awareness, you can move towards improvement. As you take the necessary steps to improve, you will be growing as a person. It takes strength of character to recognize problem areas in your work and then systematically work to overcome those challenges.
When it comes time to interview again for the next job, be open and candid about being terminated from your last job. Let the manager know at least 2 things you have learned from the experience. Hiring managers are generally very understanding about these issues. They are not understanding when you attempt to cover-up a dismissal or don’t appear to have learned from it.
In the final analysis, you can be farther up the road in your career if you stay positive and grow after being fired. That’s what Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and Thomas Edison did. In the end…it worked out pretty well for them.