How To Bounce Back Gracefully After Being Fired

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May 7 2021, Published 4:00 a.m. ET

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So you’ve lost your job. Now what? What did you do wrong? What about your bills? Where do you start to pick up the pieces?

I had those exact questions when I was fired in September 2020 in the middle of a pandemic after three years and winning an EMMY Award.

Initially, I wasn’t worried; I actually welcomed the much-needed break but life came at me fast and I knew I couldn’t sit around feeling sorry for myself; I had to put the shame and embarrassment aside.

Unemployment happens and as much as we want to believe it won’t happen to us, it happens to everyone.

Let’s take a look at how you can bounce back gracefully after a firing.

1. Allow Yourself To Grieve

Accept any emotions you feel about the situation. According to, people quickly recover from the pain of job loss because they accept their feelings of sadness, anger, fear, and shame as part of the healing process.

2. Vent And Release

Don’t hold those aforementioned feelings in. Maybe you’re not the person who likes to talk to someone about your problems, so instead write them down. Journaling can be therapeutic. You can even rip the letter up or throw it into a fire pit afterward. The choice is yours.

A bit of advice: Try not to vent on social media. Speaking ill of a former employee will only make you look bad to potential employers.

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3. Understand What Went Wrong 

Was the firing a result of something you did or didn’t do? Your performance? According to the, being aware of your shortcomings can help you to avoid carrying them over to a new job. Take responsibility for your role in the firing. If you were laid off due to factors out of your control, don’t take it personally.

You’ll understand that being fired doesn’t define you, your capabilities, or your future.

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4. Embrace The Break

Never got to sleep in late before being fired? Always wanted to stay up late during the week? Now is that time to binge-watch your favorite Netflix show or spend time with family and friends. Whatever self-care looks like to you, do it. If that means relaxing and doing nothing; do it. De-stress before you rejoin the workforce.

5. Be Proactive

Even while enjoying your break, be mindful that you will have to join the workforce sooner or later, use this time to update your resume, and send it out to companies. Even if it’s just one resume a day, that’s one step closer to regaining your identity as an employee.

6. Exercise Patience And Know You’re Doing Your Best

Jobs will call and interviews will come. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t land every job you interview for. Look at it as practice; a chance to hone your interview skills. If people are calling, you’re on the right track, and if they aren’t, it still means you’re on the right track but there is no harm in following up to see where you stand in the hiring process.

Being fired or laid off can feel like the end of the world, but it’s not. It’s a learning lesson and an opportunity to grow. Happy job hunting!

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By: Michelle Richardson

Michelle Richardson is an Emmy award-winning Journalist based out of the DMV. Born and raised in Baltimore, MD Richardson has worked for CBS, ABC, Hearst Television, and is the Freelance Arts, Culture, and Entertainment Reporter for THE AFRO-AMERICAN NEWSPAPER in her hometown. Richardson obtained her B.S. from The University of Baltimore in Corporate Communication and is currently in the process of obtaining her Masters in Broadcast Journalism from Georgetown University.

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