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On Getting Fired or Laid Off

by Ron Kurtus (updated 17 December 2021)

Getting fired or laid off from a job can be devastating. Not only is your source of income cut off, but it is also a blow to your esteem, confidence, status, and feeling of value. This is especially true if you were the only one "laid off" from the job. You should never allow yourself to be surprised by such a situation. As a response, you need to build up your esteem and get a plan of action to get new employment.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Effect of losing job

Losing your job can be devastating to a person in many respects. Being part of a massive lay-off in a company can make if difficult to find another job. Being the only person laid off or fired can really hurt your self-esteem.


When you are let go from a company, it is a big blow to the ego. This is especially true if you are the only person released, but it even applies to those affected in a large lay-off.

Losing your job is rejection. Someone is telling you that your skills are not valuable to them anymore, that you aren't important to them. You may question your worth. Your confidence in doing what you do can be shattered.


Certainly, losing your job means losing your income. In many cases there is unemployment compensation, which helps somewhat. But now you must evaluate what type of work you can do and what type of jobs are available.

A large lay-off means that there are many people looking for jobs--often with the same skills as you. That makes it more difficult to find work.

Being fired hurts your job-seeking efforts, because it is difficult to explain your firing, as well as to get decent references from your past employer.

A standard measurement states to it typically takes 1 month for every $10,000 in yearly earnings to get another job. That means you should expect it to take 4 months to get a $40,000-a-year ($20/hour) job. In tough economic times, that number can double to 2 months per $10,000.

Being prepared

No one is ever laid off or fired without warning. You should be aware and prepared.

Company lay-offs

There are always indications that things aren't going well in a company or in some department within a company. It is a good idea to keep an eye out for problems, especially if work seems to be slowing down. Typically, management will not let on there are cash-flow problems for the fear of an exodus of the top performers.

One good indication of problems is when some of the good people leave for other jobs. Although it is not always the case, you should be aware of people leaving, as well as rumor of financial problems. It is a good time to update your resume and look around at other possibilities, even if you don't plan to leave. At the very least, if you do get caught in a lay-off, you will be prepared to quickly move on. It will also not be as much of an emotion shock to be laid off, if you were expecting it.

Individual release

A person who gets fired or who is the only person laid off usually has been given some indications of problems. These include if the boss has given you reprimands or has indicated he was not happy with your work, if there are some serious problems on the job, or if the customer has been complaining.

Even a person who has been breaking job rules, taking off from work, coming in late or such should know there is a possibility of losing that job. No one is immune from being fired.

Often there can be personality conflicts. The boss will tend to fire people he or she doesn't get along with, before doing it to friends. You can tell if there is personality friction between you and the boss, that you may be skating on thin ice.

After losing your job

After losing your job, you need to rejuvenate your esteem, evaluate why you lost your job, and then seek a new job.


The first thing you should do after losing a job is to rejuvenate your esteem and feeling of self-worth. Make a list of all the good things you have accomplished in the job. This will also be useful in preparing your new resume. Your accomplishments will show that you are of value.


Also make an evaluation of why you lost your job, while others didn't. Don't point fingers at others, but rather look at things you did and how you could have done things differently. If you have been fired or laid off more than once, take a serious look at your personality and work habits. Your negative behavior traits may need to be changed, otherwise you will end up in the same boat again.

Look for a job

Once you have a better feeling about yourself, then go out with fury to get another job. Unemployment benefits are great to tide a person over, but they also can be a drug that will keep a person from seriously looking for a new job or even a new career.


Getting fired or laid off from a job can be a blow to your feeling of self-worth, as well cutting off your source of income. You should never allow yourself to be surprised by such a situation. After losing your job, you need to build up your esteem and get a plan of action to get new employment.

Use the loss of a job to move on to better things

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