You Lost your Job, What Next?

Written by

Claudia Rojas


January 27, 2019


Losing a job is terrible. However, getting fired is not the end of the road and can serve as a push into a new role or new career field. Read on further for tips on what to do next after you have lost your job.

Understand the Terms

Find out in what terms you’ve lost the job. Find out your last day on the job and what projects or assignments are expected of you. Are you fired due to a company-wide or departmental lay off? Was it performance-based? Are you eligible to file unemployment benefits? Here is a list of other acceptable and necessary questions.

Understanding as much as you can about the situation will inform you about how much control you had, but more importantly, how to begin planning for your next career opportunity.

Even if losing the job wasn’t on you, it’s an opportunity to think objectively about the ways you fit into a company. Entrepreneurs have shared that for the millennial generation, a few common reasons are keeping them from staying in the job: poor verbal communication, not taking the job seriously, and overconfidence or not enough confidence.

Tell Someone You Trust

Don’t keep the news to yourself; doing so will make it harder to see solutions. Tell a parent or family member. Tell a spouse. Being unemployed isn’t something to leave unsaid because the bank statements will tell on you.

At the end of the day, talk with someone you trust for mental health reasons. Being unemployed is dangerous on your ego. It’s easy to feel alone and hopeless. Reach out to people and let your personal network know that you’re on the job market. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile right away. The College Mouse Blog has career resources, so that you can start taking control again.

Exit with Grace

Be in control of your emotions. Though you may find it hard not to show any bitterness, it’s better to leave the company showing your best face. Your colleagues will remember that, and some of those co-workers may stay within your professional network. Exchange contact info now that you won’t have a company email address or phone number.

Thank your supervisors or managers in a letter, emphasizing the role you played with data where possible. Keep it short and professional; read an example thank you note. Showing this small token of gratitude will leave doors open at the company—in the future, the management may change, the budget may grow. A positive attitude goes a long way.

Do you find it hard to say good things about your workplace? Say no words. Be careful with social media: it’s not a space to badmouth a boss or colleague, not only because word can get passed along, but because future employers might find these posts.

Make a Weekly, Monthly, and Yearly Plan

Look at your expenses while you were employed. Find places to cut or reduce spending: takeout food, cable and internet packages, or online subscriptions. On average, a household in the U.S. spends about 8% of its income on both entertainment and clothing. Of that income, 11% goes to transportation. Plan for a gas-friendly commute or take public transportation.

If you had healthcare provided by your employer, plan to use it for a limited 18 months through the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (COBRA). Do your research, then make a finance plan for monthly expenses imagining a worst-case scenario: finding your next position could take several months.  

Think of Opportunities Ahead

While being fired isn’t going to lighten up your days, it may clear up your vision for your future. The days ahead are an opportunity to reimagine yourself. If you were in a hostile workplace, getting fired was a kick in the right direction. Maybe it never crossed your mind this would happen to you.

View this difficult time as an opportunity to grow and reshape your career path.

Start researching new companies. Most companies won’t ask for the reason you left your last job until the interview stage, and at that point, provide a brief and simple explanation. Don’t overexplain, then keep it moving. The best way to handle losing a job is picking up your spirits and strategizing.


Written by:  Claudia Rojas

Claudia Rojas is a freelance writer and a poet with a Bachelor’s in English from George Mason University. She is a proud first generation college student. Claudia’s poetry appears in The Acentos Review, Poetry is Dead, and The Bookends Review.

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