The day you were fired may have felt like the worst day of your life. At the time, you weren’t sure how this event would impact the future of your career, and while you worked to protect that future, you also had to deal with the challenges of the moment, including embarrassment, damaged relationships or a personal financial crisis. Long story short: that was NOT a good day.

But that day is now in the past. And since then, you’ve come a long way. Among many other lessons, you’ve learned how to regain your composure and your footing during what research suggests may be one of the most traumatizing common events in modern adult life. Many of us experience this type of job loss (it’s common), and many of us consider it one of the darkest chapters in our lives (also common). But the experience provides a valuable education we wouldn’t otherwise have. Here are a few important ways to put that education to use.

Become better.

Simply put, this experience can make you a better person. If you’re paying attention and applying your expensive life lesson, you’ll gain more empathy for others in the same position. You’ll be more gracious and patient with future employees of your own, and you’ll be kinder to strangers and friends who are struggling with this challenge.

Gain perspective.

You lost your job! The end of the world, right? As it turns out, not so much. The worst-case scenario actually came to pass, and miraculously, you survived. You now know something very important: job loss is NOT the end of the world. From now on, you’ll be more likely to pursue your own course with confidence, and not allow fear or desperation to place you or trap you in situations that are wrong for you.

Make smarter decisions.

Along the same lines, you’ll now find it easier to say “no.” You can now—with greater ease and confidence—say no to lowball offers and abusive bosses, and you can also say no to decisions that don’t seem right. You can also say no to allegedly “secure” jobs in favor of those that feel more appropriate for you. No job is secure; you know that now.

Get better at what you do.

Getting fired can clarify a few truths, which can clear the path to greater happiness and success. For example, the experience can help you understand what you’re good at, what you really want to do, what you’re not so good at and what you’ve been doing to please others instead of yourself. If you aren’t a fit for this profession, you now know it’s time to choose another. If you are, it’s time to get back in and fight on with a renewed focus on the skill sets that need a boost.

For more on how to use your job loss to improve your life and elevate your career, contact the experts at Extension.


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