Whether it was entirely unexpected or you saw it coming from a mile away, getting fired is never a pleasant experience.
However, what you do next can directly affect how easy it is (or isn’t) to get back on your feet. It can even affect your ability to find future employment. Here are some tips:
1. Don’t shout, threaten or resign.
You do not want to lose your cool in this situation. It may be tempting to say, “You can’t fire me, I quit!” but that would only mean your employer wouldn’t have to pay you unemployment benefits.
It may also be pretty tempting to put the entire upper management on blast and let out your feelings, but that could definitely hurt your future career prospects. You could even end up facing potential criminal charges if anybody feels threatened and the police get called.
2. Don’t violate any company policies.
You don’t want to give your employer any just cause to deny you unemployment compensation or other severance benefits, so be very careful to adhere to company policies as you leave.
Only take documents that belong to you, don’t damage your computer and make sure that you turn over any keycards or other devices (and get receipts) before you go, if so required.
3. Don’t sign anything until you’re done negotiating.
Your employer would probably prefer that you sign whatever paperwork they give you and leave, but you have plenty of room here for negotiations. Don’t agree to sign any severance paperwork until you’ve discussed:
- ● Whether or not you’re entitled to a severance package
- ● Whether or not you can extend your health care benefits
- ● How your retirement funds will be handled
- ● How any remaining paid time off (sick or vacation) will be paid
You can also negotiate an agreement between you and your employer to describe your parting as “mutual.”
Sometimes, no matter what you do, an employer won’t play fair. If your former employer is denying you were fired and trying to refuse your unemployment claim or you need help with severance negotiations, legal guidance is available.