Have you ever had the feeling that something just wasn’t right at work? Maybe your company is showing signs of financial trouble, or your boss has given dire warnings or poor reviews about your performance. Either way, things have gone from bad to worse. And you now have a gut feeling that your position might be in jeopardy. If so, here’s how you can better prepare yourself for what’s to come.

Warning Signs

Get direct feedback and look for the signs

    Ideally, feedback should be given to you along the way; however this is not always the case. You should solicit feedback well before you believe there is an issue. This way you will either be reassured that things are not that grim, or you may receive constructive criticism that you can use.
    The best way to solicit feedback is to come up with a go-to, direct question such as, “What can I do to make it easier to work with me?” Give your supervisor time to answer and don’t get defensive once they do.

Prepare for the worst now

    If all signs point towards a potential firing in the near future, it’s time to get prepared now.
    Typically when you are fired, you’re asked to leave the premises immediately. You may be allowed to grab your personal items from your desk on the way out, but not always. Start thinking about items you may want to take with you when you leave, such as personal contact information for references, statistics that might support future job interviews, or anything that might be useful. Always make sure not to take anything confidential or for which you’ve signed an agreement not to take or use. (That could lead to worse trouble!)
    Another good idea is to plan any medical appointments while you still have health insurance. Likewise, make sure to have a substantial emergency fund, to get you through a few months without pay. This kitty will make things a lot less stressful if or when the fateful day comes.
    Next, read your employee handbook for any separation procedures. The employee handbook can be used as a great reference to see if the company pays out any unused vacation days or if you can negotiate a positive (or at least neutral) work reference.
    Finally, try to turn the negative meeting into a positive learning opportunity. If you’re not too upset during the meeting, try to ask for feedback about what you could have done differently. Ask what you could do better, so hopefully you won’t find yourself in the same situation in the future.

Hit the ground running at your next job

    Always have an up-to-date resume. Try not to wait until you have actually been fired to start searching for a new position. If you have that gut feeling, then go ahead and start on the job search. Try reconnecting with old friends or colleagues who can help point you in the right direction.
    Networking will help you line up interviews. Make sure you are prepared in the interview to discuss why you left your last job. You don’t have to directly say that you were fired, however you should not lie either. Most hiring managers will contact your previous employers for work references. Come up with a brief, non-defensive way of explaining why you left the previous position. If you can show that you’re a person who takes feedback and learns from experiences, good employers will take notice.
    Lastly, remember that no amount of preparation will completely prepare you for the blow to the ego. Take a few days to recover and reflect on what had happened, but try to shift your focus to the future. Remember, the best revenge is a life well lived.

(written by: wc)

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