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[Personal Note: I wrote this post prior to the election on Tuesday. I wanted to still share it while I am processing my emotions and thoughts regarding our country. I plan to write a post soon discussing those, but felt like I needed more time to digest everything. Thanks for your understanding.]

 

Getting fired sucks. There are no two ways about it. Even if you hated your job, no one likes being fired.

If you’ve come to this post because you’ve been set free from your employment or feel like you’re about to be, then here are the five most important things you should know.

 

(1) Know Your Rights

Despite seeming boring and dry, it’s extremely important to know your rights. The US Department of Labor as a list of resources to keep you informed.

If you can afford it, it’s always helpful to consult with an attorney.

But if you’re like most of us and can’t afford to do so, then it’s even more critical to understand what your legal rights are, and what you need to do moving forward.

Don’t let your fear or lack of knowledge hold you back.

If you don’t understand something, Google it! Look it up on YouTube. While you should make sure that the information is from reputable resources (usually ones ending in .gov can be trusted!), you shouldn’t hesitate to look for an answer or keep digging until you understand an issue.

 

(2) Get everything in writing

First, if you’re reading this, and you haven’t been fired, but you feel like the writing is on the wall, then get out your pen and paper.

  • THE WHAT:
    • Start keeping track of all of the little things that lead you to believe your firing might be coming.
      • Granted, if you’re constantly 20 minutes late, then it maaaay be your own fault.
  • THE HOW:
    • One of the best ways to do that is to start an email account where you can send emails to yourself to ensure a time and date stamp.
      • The email can be as simple as, “Today at 4:14pm, my boss began screaming at me over moving the stapler in her office.”
  • THE WHY:
    • The purpose is to create a record that you can reference and use as evidence in an unemployment hearing.
  • THE EXAMPLE:
    • If you notice a change in your boss or other employees are being treated differently, then document it.
      • Any record of action that you can produce will come in handy when you file for unemployment.

Second, having a written record even after you’ve been let go is equally as important, so if you have been fired, you want to get the following items in writing:

  • Date of when you were let go
  • Exactly how long you will receive benefits
  • Precisely how much those benefits will be, etc.

When you go to file for unemployment and/or food stamps, they will need this information immediately, so getting it ASAP is crucial.

 

(3) Immediately file for unemployment and/or food stamps (if eligible)

FILING UNEMPLOYMENT

And when I say file immediately, I mean the minute you get home. If not the day you’re fired, then as soon as possible after it.

Even though it takes a bit for the filing to work its way through the system, the clock starts on the day that you actually file your paperwork.

That means if you got fired on Friday, March 1st, and you file the following Monday, March 4th, you will start getting credit (and paid for) your unemployment starting on the 4th.

The longer you wait, the later the payments will start, so you want to do it as soon as you can.

FILING FOR FOOD STAMPS

This can vary based on the state you live in. When we had to file in Alabama, we filed through what they called the “Department of Human Resources.”

Other states put them in different departments, so the best thing to do would be to Google, “How To File For Food Stamps In [State]”

Again, be sure to look for a .gov ending web site to make sure you’re getting the correct information. But filing for food stamps, or at least discovering your eligibility, will allow you to get your benefits more quickly.

 

(4) Update your resume and LinkedIn profile

You’re likely not going to want to do this, but it’s also required for moving forward. You want to quantify what you’ve done in your latest job while it’s still fresh so you can move forward with finding your new one.

It can take some time to find the right wording, layout, etc. for your resume and LinkedIn now that you are including new information. That’s why you want to get this all in order before you start the path towards a better position.

 

(5) Give Yourself Time To Mope

You may think this silly, but you’ve experienced a loss. Even if you were hoping and praying to get fired, it can still suck.

The way in which your bosses let you go can also hurt. I wasn’t sad when my time at my previous job ended, as I had been unhappy for awhile. What I was very sad about (and felt betrayed over) was how the entire situation was handled. The situation was made unnecessarily antagonistic when it could have been smooth and happy.

The point of sharing this is that you deserve time to mourn. For me, that meant dressing up in my unicorn onesie, eating a McDonald’s burger, and watching America’s Next Top Model for an entire weekend.

Whatever it is you need to do, do it! It IS ok to feel sorry for yourself and to mope for a bit. But give yourself a time limit. You don’t want it to spiral into a feeling-sorry-for-yourself-party 24/7.

Have your time to throw your pity party, and then pick yourself back up and get busy kicking ass!

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Have you been let go recently, and wish you had known something else? Or have a story to share of your own firing? Let me know in the comments!

P.S. Here’s a quick hits list of what to do in case you need it!

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