In the movies, breakups and firing scenes are always the most dramatic. Next to watching the main character throw a drink in someone’s face, there’s nothing more satisfying than seeing her toss the contents of her desk in a cardboard box and storm out. Who needs that stupid job anyway!
In real life, though, things tend to be a little more complicated. Although some companies do hand out pink slips that become effective the same day, others give layoff notices months in advance, forcing those affected to drag themselves into work every day and suffer the pitying looks of coworkers the whole time.
So how do you stay motivated to do a job that is no longer yours? Why not just play Solitaire all day and fax photocopies of your rear end to all of your colleagues? If you’re looking to get another job, I recommend not doing that either; such behavior won’t get you very good references. Instead, keeping your spirits up and impressing your boss with your commitment to the task at hand can help you succeed, even after being fired.
1.) Remember why you took the job in the first place. A layoff presents an opportunity to reflect on your career and evaluate whether you’ve achieved your goals. When you’re sitting at your desk wondering how much longer it will be before you can reasonably take another break, it can be tough to remember why you took the job in the first place. Did you want to provide a public service? Contribute to research? Make money for yourself and others? Have you accomplished what you set out to do?
Thinking positively can help you turn what most view as the worst possible scenario -- being fired -- into a reminder of your successes. Now that this particular chapter in your career is coming to an end, it’s a good time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished so far. Make a list of the ways you’ve grown in your current position, as well as how you’ll be leaving the company better than you found it. Doing so will make it much easier to go into work every day and finish up a job that you’ve done well, and that has done much for you.
2.) Envision the job you’d like to do next. If you can’t think of any goals you’ve accomplished (or you can’t think of enough of them), your pink slip offers you the chance to reevaluate your career path. Again, this should be a period of reflection. Have you not achieved what you wanted because your priorities have changed since you started your job? Or because the job itself hasn’t provided you with any opportunities for growth?