Maybe you saw it coming and maybe you didn’t.  But you’ve just been fired and the aftershock has you reeling. Don’t feel too bad. It happens to nearly everyone at one time or another. Why, it’s practically a rite of passage!

I remember when I was fired from a secretarial position because of my big mouth. Here is the Reader’s Digest condensed version of what happened:

One of the other secretaries was crazy-mad in love with the boss.  Unfortunately, management was not supposed to date employees but hey, rules are meant to be broken, right?  Well, sometimes, maybe. However, in this case there was more than just a company rule being overlooked.  There were covenant wedding vows being broken. You probably know the one I’m talking about.  The promise about “forsaking all others” and being faithful only to him/ her, “for as long as you both shall live.”

People were beginning to notice, as they always do, and the buzz around the water-cooler was, “Have you seen the way they look at each other?” When the secretary in question learned the boss’ wife was pregnant, instead of ditching the two-timing rat, for some odd reason she began making booties for his baby.  I learned this one day when I found her knitting in the break room and asked what she was making. I was sharing this information with another woman in the ladies room (aka gossiping) when, who do you suppose opened a stall and walked to the sink to wash her little knitting fingers?

The next day the boss appeared at my desk and handed me a pink slip.  You have to remember this was more than 20 years ago when bosses had, and used, that kind of power with no repercussions. I cried all the way to HR, out the door and for the entire time it took for my husband to leave work and come pick me up.

Lessons learned:

  • Do not get sucked into office politics. Socialize with co-workers, but walk away when the gossip starts.  Choose your friends carefully and keep the intimate details of your life private life just that – private!
  • Take these Biblical words of wisdom to heart.  “Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging… It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbor’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.”  The Message: Matthew 7:3-5
  • Watch what you say in the ladies room!


  1. Be Classy ~ Do Not Cry! 

Take a deep breath and hold your head up high.  Look the person firing you right in the eye and attentively listen to what he/she has to say.   Face it.  It’s over and there is nothing to be gained by an emotional response or begging for another chance. With a simple nod of your head say, “I understand,” or “That’s too bad” and then make your exit as quickly as possible.

If your boss laments having to let you go and begins saying some of the stupid things managers with no management skills say when they find themselves in uncomfortable situations, express agreement with a nod of your head, hand them a tissue and think of this as a really good thing. Being able to tell your folks how bad the boss felt when he or she had to let you go will probably help smooth things over a bit when, like the young barn swallows at my window, you have to return to the nest for a while…

  1. Keep A Lid On It!

It may not be fair and you may have every reason to be upset, but expressing the anger you feel will only make things worse. Right or wrong the decision has been made.  Accept it with grace. Bite your tongue if you have to but at all costs, hold it!  Remember, the person firing you is more than likely the same person new employers will be contacting for references.  Always leave with a good taste behind you.  You never know when you might have to go back…

  1. Stay Focused!

Don’t give your now ex-boss the upper hand. Yes, being fired hurts, but don’t let the sting of rejection turn the situation to from an adult- to-adult conversation to a parent-to-child exchange.

Don’t pout, sulk or whine!

Ask:   “May I return to my work area to collect my personal belongings?”

Don’t say:  “Can I at least say goodbye to everyone before I leave?

Ask:  “When can I meet with HR to discuss the terms of my severance?”

Don’t say:  “Do you think I’ll be eligible for unemployment?”

Ask:  “How soon will you expect me to return company property?”

Don’t say: “I suppose you will want my cell phone and keys to the company car right away, won’t you?”

Now take action!  Quickly exit stage left (or right) with grace and panache. No huffing, puffing, crying or sighing. Simply leave and don’t look back.  I love what a friend of mine says at times like this. “Ha! I’ve been kicked out of better places than this before!”

So, What Happens Now? Come back again next Tuesday and discover:

Five Simple and Effective Ways to Bounce Back

After the Cardboard Box from Work Is Unpacked.

Until then, smile.

The world needs you and God loves you. He always has. He always will.

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