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Fired, Or Laid Off - How to Recover After Job Loss

Dear Joan:

I was laid off by one employer and fired by another. Both were a complete shock. I think it’s my personality. I’m educated, friendly and try to be accommodating to everyone. I am a single mom and I need some job security. And with the way things have gone for me, I don’t think I could handle another job loss. How can I find a job that wants to keep me?

Answer:

You’re right to be asking, “Is it me?” Getting fired is traumatic. The typical reaction is to feel wronged and defensive and blame the boss, the job or the company. But when it happens twice—or more—you have to look inward.

Unfortunately, many people who are fired more than once never get it. They rant and wail that “It’s the system,” “It’s politics,” “It’s management!” When they should be saying, “It’s me!”

You say that you’ve been laid off, which is often not performance related. Before you attribute your lay off to your personality, ask yourself some questions:

Did your employer tell you why you were fired? At the very least, most employers tell someone why they are being let go. If not, one option is to call your manager back and ask for some feedback. If you do this, it must be done without anger or accusations. For instance, “I need to move on with my life and find a new job but I don’t want to make the same mistakes twice. I’d really appreciate it if you would give me more specifics about why I was fired, so I can learn from it.”

You may or may not get an honest answer. In any case, be gracious and thank the person for their time. There’s no sense making a bad situation worse. And you never know, by asking for feedback, it shows a willingness to change and his or her perception of you may be improved.

You may have a close friend or family member who can coach you about personal traits that might be hurting you at work. Beware though; asking for honesty from someone close to you isn’t for the weak of heart. You have to be willing to listen and ask for advice, without attacking the messenger.

If you can afford it, I’d recommend seeking out a credible career coach. If that isn’t an option, consider registering with staffing companies. Not only will they try to match you with an appropriate job (that may turn into a full-time opportunity), they may also be able to provide you with some feedback and advice about your personality at work.

Finally, in your next job, make it a point to ask for feedback at regular intervals. At least quarterly, go to your boss and ask, “What could I do more of?” “What could I do less of?” Those questions are more likely to get an honest answer than “Am I doing okay?”

There is no real “job security” these days but learning from past mistakes and taking steps to correct them will help you find a job you can keep.

- Joan Lloyd

Do you need answers to tough job hunting questions? Are you looking for some added punch to help you stand out from the crowd? Joan Lloyd’s has developed job hunting tools that can help you to maximize your job search:

Savvy Negotiation Strategies to Get Paid What You’re Worth on a New Job (Detailed, special report) Savvy Salary Negotiations Easy, Step-by-step Guide to Using the Internet to Land a Great Job (Detailed, special report) Land a Great Job How to Get Your Dream Job (VHS video) How to Get Your Dream Job The Resume that Gets Results and the Interview that Gets the Job (37 page, detailed instructions) The Resume that Gets Results

Joan Lloyd has a solid track record of excellent results. Her firm, Joan Lloyd & Associates, specializes in leadership development, organizational change and teambuilding. This includes executive coaching, 360-degree feedback processes, customized leadership training, conflict resolution between teams or individuals, internal consulting skills training for HR professionals and retreat facilitation. Clients report results such as: behavior change in leaders, improved team performance and a more committed workforce.

Joan Lloyd has earned her C.S.P. (certified speaking professional) designation from the National Speakers Association and speaks to corporate audiences, as well as trade & professional associations across the country. Reach her at (800) 348-1944, mailto:info@joanlloyd.com, or www.JoanLloyd.com