You open the door and see four executives speaking to each other. Actually you only see three of the executives speaking. The fourth, silent executive is avoiding conflict. That executive is staring blankly back at the three doing the talking.
That guy right there, making no noise, and staring blankly. That's me. Well, that's the 34 year old me. You may not know it from looking at me, but I'm in the midst of a panic attack.
Yep, right there in the middle of an office, my brain seems to have shut down. It may seem odd that I'm having a panic attack in the middle of an office. It won't seem so odd if you consider that I'm getting fired.
My brain seems like it's shutting down, but really it's doing the exact opposite, and has just shifted into hyper drive. Thoughts are swooshing by at light speed.
I'm thinking about the unborn baby my wife is carrying and how the news will affect her health. I'm also feeling the humiliation that will come along with this being the third time in two short years where I've lost my job. It's seeping into every deep dark crevice of my body. My soul. Deep humiliation. Again.
Now back in present day, but I can still hear every word. "Today is your last day at Buddy Media."
I've had a great deal of time to think about what that moment and here are five ways to move past the devastation of a termination.
1. Allow yourself time to mourn.
I barely moved for the first week. When I finally did move, Buddy Media got wind that I had interviewed at a competitor and revoked my minuscule two weeks severance.
I went back to not moving for another week. I licked my wounds, drank some scotch. But after that, I was back in the game. Take some alone time. But not for too long, or it will take hold of you. Depression is a real thing. You have to keep moving.
2. Focus on the positive.
Just two short months after Buddy Media fired me, I was "discovered" by a television producer who put my ugly mug on television. I dove into this opportunity hard, and I never looked back
3. Get introspective about what you could have done better.
This is a tough one. But here's the rub - many smart people get fired for many varied reasons. Think it through, chalk it up as a learning experience, and don't let it happen again.
Maybe the lesson for you is that you're not cut out to have a boss. Or maybe you just need to find the right one for you.
4. Surround yourself with people who raise you up.
Now isn't the time for negative people. You have to get out there and network. Meet new people from new industries, and let everyone know you're looking. Everyone.
You never know where your next opportunity will come from. Now isn't the time to lay low.
5. Don't ever hold a grudge.
They have their reasons for doing what they did. You had your reasons too. Move on, and get on with your life. It may not feel like it, but your life isn't over.
There are opportunities out there that you never would have if this never happened. Get to it!