Holy Crap, I’ve Been Fired! What to Do Next



I'm not writing this to tell you how to start a business or become a gajillionaire. I'm writing this because, well, for no good reason other than to look at how to respond to being fired, a decidedly painful situation, in a snarky way. This has happened to me before, so I figured, “what the heck?!”

“Being fired has some of the advantages of dying without its supreme disadvantages. People say extra-nice things about you, and you get to hear them.”
- Howard Zinn

Without further ado...

40 Actions to Take After Being Fired

  1. Panic. That's right, panic. After all, you have kids and a wife, and a mortgage for goodness sake! If there ever was a time to panic, it’s now.
  2. Drink. Yes, nothing to exacerbate the panic like drinking a vast quantity of your favorite alcoholic beverage. It may even turn you into an alcoholic, so much the better! Then the next time you get fired for having Jim Beam on your breath in your cubicle, you'll already be primed for the next binge-and-puke. Bow down to the porcelain gods!
  3. Throw a party. You need friends and they need to eat and drink. This is a good time to network, because once you are out of cash for throwing extravagant parties, you're going to need a good couch to sleep on.
  4. Feel sorry for yourself. Somebody has to. You ARE sorry, after all.
  5. Forget your wife and kids. Well, they probably already have forgotten you, so you might as well return the favor.
  6. Pass out, and have someone write "loser" on your forehead. It’s probably already obvious anyway, but why take the chance?
  7. Act like you are unhappy. You may be relieved and thrilled not to be working in that outhouse they call a cubicle, but don't show it! All those people that depend on you for financial security are screwed, pissed off and stressed to the gills.
  8. Binge watch Game of Thrones. Enough said.
  9. Gain weight. You don't want to waste all your precious downtime exercising. You have an excuse to feel sorry for yourself, so do it.
  10. Play Call of Duty until your fingers fall off, then pretend you were typing resumes all day.
  11. Go out and 'submit resumes.' (This is code for 'going to the strip club'. Ssshh!)
  12. Work on establishing a limp. It helps to look like you've been walking all day. You know, ‘submitting resumes.’
  13. Google ‘How to Write a Resume.’ That's good enough to kill several hours – just like you did at work. Put those 'look like you’re working when you're not' skills to work!
  14. Network. Reach out to everyone you know and invite them out for a beer coffee.
  15. Go back to #2 and repeat as necessary.
  16. Clean the house, because you have the free time. Uh huh, who are you kidding?!
  17. Cook dinner for your spouse. Right, see #16
  18. Does watching cat videos and browsing Buzzfeed during work hours belong on a resume?
  19. Update your social profiles to read "retired" "self-employed" or "entrepreneur". Why do you think all those ‘entrepreneurs’ have time to Tweet all day?
  20. Start a blog about being an internet success story. Who knows what could happen?
  21. It has been a while, panic again.
  22. Watch your bank account drain down the toilet. Remember, it drains clockwise in the Southern Hemisphere.
  23. Write an eBook titled "100 Ways and a 100 Days, My Experience with Ramen."
  24. Walk tall and high five people as you walk around town. Pretend you are "above it all".
  25. Go to the mall and try not to get depressed at people who actually have money to buy things, or the younger people that are, well, younger, care-free and better looking. Then…
  26. Go into the bathroom and have a good sob.
  27. Be really nice to your dog. Maybe they'll let you share their bed with you.
  28. Be grateful that you have a big dog. You fit nicely in the doghouse!
  29. Be grateful you don’t have a cat. Pro-tip: You don’t have to get fired for this one.
  30. Reach out to people that have supported you in the past, the last time you got fired. Maybe they will be generous again?
  31. Become a “gentleman farmer.”
  32. Walk around in spandex shorts and tell people you quit to train for the Ironman competition.
  33. Write down 100 positive qualities you admire about yourself.
  34. Toss list from #33 in the fireplace (or garbage-can fire in the alley where you now live), because you will never possess those qualities. Be honest, you don’t have 100 positive qualities anyway.
  35. Develop your fears. If you were ever fearful before, now is the time to hone those beliefs. Afraid of bees? Knock down a beehive so you have justification for being afraid.
  36. Improve your negotiation skills. Sneak into the silverback gorilla enclosure at the zoo and try to talk them out of a banana. If you’re lucky, you’ll get free television exposure.
  37. Work on your networking skills and confidence. Get drunk on a couple of 40's of Olde English 800. Go to a public place and tell people to “suck it.”
  38. Stop shaving so you can grow that awesome beard you’ve always wanted. Beware, people may mistake you for a biker, homeless person or a hipster. <shudder>
  39. Test drive a Porsche and drive to your old office to pick up your last check.
  40. Run for Congress. If you practiced the previous 39 tips, you’ll probably get elected. Then you will legitimately get paid to do nothing. Win!

I am bummed I feel like I need a disclaimer not to do these things, so that some money-grubbing d-bag won’t sue me. From the bottom of my heart, don’t do 37 of these things. The other three are totally okay.

Hopefully this has brought you a smile or a sliver of amusement. If not, you are probably too uptight to appreciate humor anyway.

On a More Serious Note

In all seriousness (like you believe me now), people do get cut loose. In tough times, I personally find that humor can lighten the spirit and provide a brief respite from the pain.

If you have been fired, stay strong, you will get through it. It has an odd way of clarifying priorities. Financially it can be really tough, but perhaps even more so, emotionally. It has caused me to doubt myself, believe I was a bad person, feel the pain of not being able to provide and most of all the feel the deep sense of humiliation of having to explain it to family and friends.

Keep a positive attitude so you can find work or go all-in on your business, if you can. Lengthen the “runway”, meaning be very frugal and stretch the financial resources as far out as possible.

Update your resume and don’t sell yourself short. I found I was more qualified than I had given myself credit for when I sat down to catalogue my skills.

Be willing to talk and don’t carry the world on your shoulders. Those close to you will be supportive, and you shouldn’t feel bad for relying on them.

I don’t want to write empty platitudes, but it is a life lesson that you can grow from. It can give you perspective, reaffirm your values and priorities and provide a fresh start.

If nothing else, remember:

“Get fired, no one will call you a quitter.”
― Vikrmn


Image Courtesy of Alessandro Merlo

Nothing can be achieved without action - Bold action leads to a richer life.

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