The Parker Blog:

How to Cope with Being Fired

It happened: you got terminated from your job. Maybe you knew it was coming, maybe you didn’t. It could feel like a weight lifted off your shoulders, or it could feel like you got punched in the gut. Either way, it’s important to press pause for a moment and think about next steps. Though it’s difficult to cope with being fired, mapping out a plan for yourself could offer some relief.

Let the feelings flow

This is the absolute first thing you should do to help you cope with being fired. Getting terminated can be a traumatic or anxiety-inducing experience for anyone. There is a wide array of emotions we can feel after being let go – anger, sadness, fear, stress, grief, confusion – and it’s 100% normal. Taking a couple of days to sort through your emotions can put you in a clearer headspace when you’re ready to find work.

It’s important to note that working through your feelings does not mean expressing them to former coworkers. For example, if you’re Facebook friends with former colleagues, don’t post a status bad-mouthing your former employer. Word will get back to higher-ups, and you’ll come out looking extremely unprofessional… not to mention any chance of a good reference goes out the window.

Ask for an exit interview

Depending on the situation, ask for an exit interview after your termination. A great way to cope with being fired is by getting the closure that an exit interview can offer. If the company does agree to conduct one, take the time to figure out what went wrong. This is a great opportunity for you to gather information on how you can improve for your next role.

Was your termination rocky at best? You likely won’t receive an exit interview.

Claim unemployment, if you can

Unemployment is a weekly (or biweekly) stipend you receive from the government that can help you as you transition into looking for another job. Unemployment laws vary by state, so you may want to freshen up on your state’s eligibility requirements.

In Washington State, if you were laid off from a job (meaning your employer is not planning on replacing you) you will likely meet the criteria to collect unemployment. If you were terminated, but not for what is considered misconduct or gross misconduct, you may be eligible to collect as well. Washington makes it easy to apply for benefits – both online and by phone.

Consider what it is you’re truly looking for

With a fresh job search (for any job seeker), sit down and ask yourself: “What am I looking for in my next job?” What is your top priority? Pay? Company culture? Benefits package?

If you’re a list person, establish a list with three columns: must-haves, nice-to-haves, and deal breakers.


In your must-haves, write out what it is you need going into your next role. For example, maybe you need to make at least $18 / hour and work a firm 40 hours / week. You also need to work for a company that has strong community involvement. Must-haves are your hard and fast requirements, and you will not consider a job that does not meet the must-have criteria.


Treat your nice-to-haves like a wish list. For example, a pet-friendly office with monthly employee happy hours are obviously really fun perks, but they’re not necessities.

Deal Breakers

Your deal breakers are just as important as your must-haves. Make sure you really think about what factors you absolutely do not want (or can’t) work with. Going back to the pet-friendly office for a minute… what if you’re highly allergic to pet dander? Then you should place “pet-friendly office” on your deal breaker list. Are you someone who needs fulltime work? Then “anything part-time” would belong on this list, too.

A simple list like this can keep you organized and on-track; moreover, it helps staffing agencies like ours get down to the nitty-gritty of what positions would be a slam dunk for you.

Get back on the horse

Okay, so you feel emotionally ready to jump back into your job search. Great! The best place to start is your resume. When’s the last time you updated your resume? How’s your resume formatting? Dust off any cobwebs you may have on that resume and give it a little TLC to make it fresh and pristine for recruiters’ eyes. Do the same for your LinkedIn profile; in fact, when’s the last time you edited your LinkedIn summary? While you’re on social media… to clean up (or lock down) other outlets too – Facebook, Twitter, even Instagram.

Once your online presence is sparkling and clean, start connecting with temp agencies. Don’t be afraid to put your feelers out there because there are plenty of staffing agencies, like Parker, that have both temporary and permanent placement opportunities. Connect with recruiters on LinkedIn, apply for roles, and keep track of every application. By following these tips and keeping a can-do attitude, in no time you’ll find the right role for you.


If you’re looking for a new permanent position, the benefit of using a staffing agency like Parker is we can place you in temporary assignments to offer experience and income while simultaneously helping you seek a perfect permanent role. If you’re ready to explore your options, we’re ready to help.


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