9 Things You Should Do After Being Fired from a Programming Job
The tech revolution has done some amazing things for the world, but unfortunately being fired is an all too common occurrence. We’ve got the Internet. We’ve got the power of an entire PC in our pocket (even though we only use it to look at cat pictures).
However, it hasn’t done a lot to improve the work environment, particularly in the software sector. Once upon a time, companies vied to keep their top talent. Today, they fire on a whim. More and more software programmers find themselves out of a job through no real fault of their own.
Analyze The Situation After Being Fired
The first thing to do after being fired is to dig down into the nitty-gritty of what really happened. Were you really fired for no reason? Was it age, gender, or racial bias? Was it something that you did or failed to do? Honesty with yourself is critical here.
It’s easy to blame someone else – that untrained middle manager, for instance. Maybe it was because you lacked critical skills the company needed, and it was simpler to hire someone with the right skillset than train you.
Write down the reason (or reasons) for being fired and use that information to better yourself.
Decide What You Want
Next, it’s time to figure out what you really want. Yes, that’s a tough thing to do. Don’t worry – you have some time. You have some savings to live off of and little pressure to find a job right away, so you can afford to be a little picky.
Is there a particular company that you want to work for or a particular position that’s always intrigued you? What will it take to land that job?
On the other hand, maybe you want to start your own company, or maybe spend some time out of the workforce exploring the world and really finding what motivates you, and what you’re passionate about.
Being fired doesn’t have to mean that a door is closed – it can actually be the opportunity you’ve been waiting for.
Update and Get Out There
Before you forget all about it, write down your past experience, accomplishments, and responsibilities. Update your resume and make sure that your LinkedIn profile reflects this information as well.
It can be all too easy for details like this to fade very quickly and if you wait too long, you might find that you’re not able to effectively update your critical information. And, given the competition out there for programming and similar tech jobs, you need every advantage you can get.
And, given the competition out there for programming and similar tech jobs, you need every advantage you can get.
Perform an Assessment
Although you’ve got some cash in the bank, it’s not enough to live on indefinitely. While you have no pay coming in, it’s important to think about restructuring your life to help make your money stretch as far as possible.
No one’s saying that you need to cut out all of your activities and do nothing but sit on the couch watching reruns, but maybe you could cancel your gym membership and go running in the park, instead. Rather than dining out, you could eat in.
It’s also about cutting things out of your life that aren’t bringing you happiness or peace. Identify things that suck life away rather than making it more enjoyable and remove them.
Find things that you’re passionate about, that you enjoy, and that help you really live, rather than just moving from one day to the next. What do you want to do?
Where do you want to go? Are there new skills you want to learn? Old skills that need brushing up? Places you want to travel? Now’s the time to write it all down.
Formalize Your Network
After being fired, it’s important to formalize your network. Create a simple spreadsheet and list your contacts, friends, and former coworkers. The goal is to create a graphic representation of the contact list you keep in your head.
These people are those who can help you land a new job or put you in touch with a company that’s hiring. Don’t limit yourself to phone calls or emails, though. Go out to lunch with them. Grab a cup of coffee with them.
Build Your Selling Points
Sure, you’ve got crazy programming skills. However, after being fired is the best time to learn something new. Maybe there’s a new coding language you want to learn, or perhaps you want to break out of the programming world completely.
Now’s the time (and you’ve got nothing but time until you find a job again).
Invest in Health
Don’t let your health slip. Just because you don’t have to go to the office every day, it doesn’t mean that you get a pass from physical fitness and health. A good workout does more than just burn calories, as well.
It can help you physically work through the stress and hurt from being fired. It can also give you the chance to think about where you want to go next. Whether you hit the trail for a run or you opt for the gym, keep at it.
Grow Your Brain
Pick up a book or three. You can load up your e-reader, or you can invest in paper books. Whatever the case, now’s the time to build your brain. Read books on career building, but remember that all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.
Throw in some enjoyment reading, too.
Set Goals and Make a Plan
Finally, set goals and make a plan after being fired. Having goals and a concrete plan will help you keep moving forward. How many job applications will you submit each day? What companies will you target?
How many of your contacts will you meet with each week? Plan, plan, and then plan some more. Make sure you’re writing your goals down, though, and having an accountability partner can help as well.
There you have them – nine things you need to do after being fired from a programming job (or any other job, really). Follow these steps and you’ll minimize stress while enjoying your free time, and reduce the wait before landing your new gig.
Finally, remember what Guy Kawasaki, the former Chief Evangelist of Apple, said, “Smart, well-meaning people get it wrong when they start believing that the world owes them something and that the rules are different for them.”