How can I bounce back after a sacking?

Mon, 17/09/2012 - 16:27 -- nick

Being fired is one of the facts of working life, and it can happen to any of us. If it happens to you, the first thing is to be sure of why. Was it a personality clash? Did you hate the job and show little enthusiasm for it? Were you just out of your depth? Reassuring yourself of the reasons and coming to terms with that is a key part of bouncing back.

What now?
If you feel that, on balance, the dismissal was fair, get on with finding a new job. If not, consider what options are open to you, such as a claim for unfair or constructive dismissal. Talk to a specialist employment lawyer if you can afford it, or go to the Citizen's Advice Bureau if you can't.

It might be appropriate to take your case to an employment tribunal, but you'll need professional advice to assess whether you have a case. Whatever happens, try not to brood and get positive as soon as you can: get out there and start looking for your next job.

Learning the lessons
Getting fired is no crime, but failing to learn from the experience is a serious oversight. As you come to terms with your sacking, be as honest with yourself as you can. Put your resentment in the sock drawer for the time being, and look closely at what went wrong. How much of it was down to you? What might you have been able to do differently? Did you somehow provoke the sacking?

The answers you get to these questions will be invaluable as they will help you increase your own self-knowledge and make you a more resilient and effective person. Use your findings as a source of energy and insight when it comes to getting your next job. For example, if you really weren't happy where you were, ask yourself why and make sure you don't get into a similar situation again. Be as objective as you can and don't look to apportion blame. Take it on the chin, learn from it, and move on.

Explaining a sacking
It never looks good, but it can still be turned to your advantage if you're smart. Potential employers are bound to be unsettled by a candidate who has been fired from a previous role, but you can turn this round by being totally honest and up-front about it. Honesty is a powerful weapon. It's both disarming and affirmative, and can win you brownie points with a potential employer.

Because there are so many forms of sacking, there is no textbook answer that can explain your own situation. Describe precisely what happened and offer your analysis of why things went wrong, but never point the finger of blame at your former employer. Accept that you clearly made some mistakes, but that you feel they have helped you become a more rounded and confident individual. Show that you have learned from the experience.

Job applications and your CV
There's no need to say you were fired on your CV – you may choose to say that your last position was ‘terminated' or some similar phrase – but you should definitely put in on any application you make. It's bound to come up in interview, and you don't want your potential employer to think you've been trying to pull the wool.

Again, tell the truth and confront the issue openly. Your potential employer will respect that, and it will help you come to terms with what has happened and move on.