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How to Handle Getting Fired
I’ve been fired twice in my lifetime. The first time was when I was 17 and the general manager at the pizza joint where I was a hostess sat me down and told me I was too lethargic. “This is a family restaurant, you’re not supposed to depress people.”
The second time was my first real job out of college. My bosses called me into a conference room and gave me way too long of a speech outlining all of my flaws. “We’re sure you’ll make a really great writer some day – just not here.” I bit my lip.
And cried when I got to my car.
Both of those times I was let go because of my own personal shortcomings and if I would have paid better attention, I probably could have seen the ax a comin’.
The reason I bring this up is that I’ve been wondering if I would have felt any differently if I would have gotten canned as part of a mass slaughter like those going on at Sony, which will soon let 8,000 employees and Yahoo, which will let go 1,500 workers go today. Does it sting any less when the party line is “It’s not you it’s me,” rather than “You stink?”
My hunch is that it’s no fun either way. However, there are some benefits to being a part of a group. For starters, you’ll automatically have company at happy hour. Also, you have a built-in network system. On the Wall Street Journal’s Laid Off and Looking blog, former Bear Stearns banker Brian Murphy shares how his fellow firees have been helping him since they were all let go in March. He writes:
“Beyond the usual email and phone conversations, we usually get together for happy hour, or now that football season is in full swing, we’ll sit down and catch some of the games on Saturday and Sunday. As a result, all of the interviews I have had since being laid off have come almost exclusively through former coworkers, or through my business school network.”
If you’ve recently been let go, you may be reluctant to have any contact with anyone or anything relating to your old company, but after you’ve had some time to process everything, don’t rule out the possibility of contacting former co-workers. Sometimes I still talk to my lazy partner in crime from the pizza joint who ended up leaving shortly after I did. We both agree we’re better off now.
Would you rather be singled out or go out en masse? -Joy Hepp