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[HR] So It’s Christmas and You’ve Got Let Go….

It is safe to count getting let go before Christmas, among other termination Indignities, as one of the many non-traditional practices that companies are now utilizing to balance the year end books. So how does one deal with the situation?

Well, the key is not to make a bad situation any worse. So once the rush of blood to your head (on realizing what’s happening) has subsided and you’ve rightly resisted the urge to punch anyone in the face, you’re left gathering your thoughts and your wits and of-course dealing with the flood of emotions that immediately follow – anger, puzzlement and sometimes panic. You’re probably thinking “Why not go with the flow and freak out?”. The truth is, though stomping out of the office with expletives and middle fingers blazing would seem therapeutic – and to some extent, it would – very pragmatically and simply put, it is not in your best interest. When you lose a job, your first thought should concern what’s best for your future, not seeking revenge for something that happened in the past. And if you think about it in the moment – the event itself is already in the past.

Ultimately the best thing to do is to deal with the situation with class, like a pro:

  • Suck it up, send out “thank you” notes to the people that matter. Leave as smoothly and smartly as the first day you signed on for the role.
  • All that thanking and making nice will potentially help set you up for a few things – a potential future business relationship, maybe as a reference, or to help with a lead, or even a role with the same company down the road – you just never know.
  • Within all the “thank yous” and “let’s grab coffee/beer sometimes”, you’ve planted the seed that you can handle adversity, make the most of it, and heck, even thrive in the opportunity it has presented you – even if you don’t know what that means just yet.
  • Just keep in mind that there is a remote possibility that you might not even want to be associated with the company ever again.

Some other strategic tips that you can consider during the termination event and in its aftermath include:

  • Negotiating your severance pay – of-course you can negotiate the separation package outlined in the termination letter, but take a non-confrontational approach. Depending on your tenure with the company, you could potentially ask for additional time and/or money from the company, and you can also request an additional month or two of benefits continuation.”
  • On a personal front, remember that you’re human, and it is OK to rely on a support system, and take care of yourself. While the conversation may be difficult, its best to be straight, honest and upfront about your personal and financial situation – especially if you’re restricting your budget. Yes, the people who care about you will understand, and will be quite supportive and more than willing to forego receiving holiday gifts.
  • Use all of the free resources you can from the company. You could ask for your company to offer you some sort of outplacement support – I believe that if you don’t ask, you don’t get!
  • Verify the status of your Record of Employment (ROE) and apply for Employment Insurance(EI) with Service Canada, but be mindful that you may not qualify immediately based on how long your termination payments from your ex-employer There are also all kinds of resources and assistance programs available at a provincial and local level to help you get back into the workforce. There might be workforce training programs, resumé-writing workshops, interview workshops etc., and, you can find a lot of helpful information just by searching online.
  • Seriously consider skills re-training or e-training program(s) for yourself. There are quite a few resources available online for this – an amazing new option among many is – where users can explore top courses across 8 different high-growth fields. Some other portals where you can learn a new skill for free or a minimal charge (read investment in yourself) include, and Depending on your individual situation, you’ll have to remember to check with Service Canada for your continued eligibility to receive EI if you are paying to enroll in an educational course, online or otherwise.
  • It is now the new year. It’s time to get back out there. In contrast to December, when everyone is busy with holidays and festivities and no one’s really paying attention, January is a very decent time of year to look for your next job. It would be wise however,to use this time through to the second week of the New Year to prepare.
  • It’s also an excellent idea to update your LinkedIn profile, join an “in person” job support and networking group in the city or local jurisdiction you live in, there are some really excellent ones. and let your friends know on Facebook, spread the word that you’re an amazing talent and you’re looking for your next big career break. For the time being this is your new part time job – Marketing yourself.

A closing thought, from an excellent movie about hope, believing in yourself, perseverance and hard work “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel(2011)” – “Everything will be alright in the end….and if its not yet all-right, it is not yet the end!”