3 Ways to Handle Being Blindsided at Work

blindsided at work

With 20+ years as a corporate outplacement professional, I’ve seen them all. Being blindsided at work is the ultimate ugly, cowardly way for a company to decide they no longer need you. They will walk in your office, shut the door, sit down and with a sincere face (that ‘s not really sincere) tell you they’re sorry, but your employment with them ends immediately. Or they may call you into an office and tell you the same words. The rest of the plan follows: They walk you to the door, past your colleagues and then after you’ve gone home, box-up your personal items to be delivered by a courier.

That’s the reality. Here are the guide lines for how you should handle it that day and in the coming weeks??? They’re not easy and you need to have someone as a sounding board when you’re ready to be unprofessional, call your boss, vent on your facebook , or reach out to former colleagues to tell them what you really think…. But they work. I’ve been the consultant who’s worked with people who’ve lost their jobs in this manner and it has happened to me as well. My advice comes from both sides of the desk.

3 Ways to Handle Being Blindsided with Termination

Be professional

Be professional when you walk out the door. Hold your head up, smile at people and get out as quickly as possible. When you get home, tell spouse, immediate family (if they can be trusted to not vent on social media) and then don’t answer your phone except for trusted friends and your spouse/children. Take a few days to decompress, look back over your work history and be honest about whether or not there were signs and you just chose to ignore them. Then write out a statement with which your comfortable that says: I am no longer with SYX, my last day of employment was ______________, Whatever reason they give you, recouch it in a positive note if possible – – ie they made a decision and I plan to move forward with my career.

Professional network insurance

A note of advice. No matter who you work for – nor how long you’ve worked there – – always be sure you take important email addresses and phone numbers home with you while you’re still employed. It’s called “professional network insurance”.

Avoid bad-mouthing your employer

Do not bad-mouth your employer, your supervisor or fellow-workers. Somewhere down the line, your paths will cross again. The mantra to live by is: Would you rather be right (tell them what you think) or do the right think (be professional). The second one is the hardest – but it will pay rich dividends as your career progresses.

I have emails from people who lost their jobs that would curl your hair – or permanently straighten it. While not directed at me, it shows they do not have a governor on their thoughts, their mouth or their fingers. And some day it will come back to haunt them – – certainly not like the witch hunt with Paula Dean – – but in today’s world social media and your private life are connected- – forever.

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Kay Stout

Kay Stout is an experienced career consultant. Her insight and business knowledge provide a strong base to help clients reach their career goals.

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