With the news this week that KPMG trashed a bunch of its workforce cuz Rona or whatever, we thought this might be a good time to talk about what you should do if you think you might get the axe. I wish I’d read an article like this a few years back when I got fired — er, laid off — from this website when it was bleeding money because salespeople didn’t know how to do their jobs, but no such thing existed back then.
I speak with some authority here and wish I’d done what I’m about to suggest when I got wind that I was going to be fired — yikes I did it again, I mean laid off — from this esteemed website back in the day. I was lucky in that I knew a week or two before it happened, but I did nothing of substance with that information when I could have been securing my future. Whatever, live and learn.
The first thing you need to do is secure your contacts. All those people in your email? Yeah, you’re gonna be locked out with the quickness if the hammer comes down, so it would be worth it to take the time and farm your contacts. LinkedIn is trash and I’m pretty sure they banned me a while back, but since you’re going to get fired anyway, might as well take half a day and add your professional connections, assuming you aren’t also banned like me. Throw everyone you ever talked to into a spreadsheet while you’re at it. It’s funny to me now that I’m back at this website when TPTB ask me if I can reach out to so-and-so at whatever accounting org and I’m like *shrug* I would but I don’t have their contact info, I got locked out of my old email. Too bad.
Now. All those contacts you gleaned from your inbox? Those are the people you want to hit up. Ideally before you actually get fired, as it’s easier to get a job when you already have one, which brings me to my next point.
Start working on that resume. I mean, you’re about to be fired anyway, who gives a shit about work output when you have one foot out the door? Polish that bad boy up and hit up r/accounting to give it a glance, they’ll be honest and tell you if it’s trash. Alright, resume sorted.
And now you just kick back. It’s just a job, you’ll be fine. People leave jobs all the time. As Glassdoor reminds us, even Oprah got fired once and she’s like the 10th richest person in the world so nbd.
In the moment, getting fired can feel earthshattering. But for such a seemingly catastrophic event, getting fired is actually quite common. Business icons like Steve Jobs, Anna Wintour and Oprah Winfrey were all famously fired at some point in their career. In fact, in 2010 Wintour told a conference audience, “I recommend you all get fired. It’s a great learning experience.”
There are also a whole slew of reasons why the firing might not have even been your fault. Setting reasonable boundaries in a chaotic work environment, raising “elephant in the room” issues that management is afraid to address or even delivering such stellar results that you embarrass your boss can all be hidden reasons for being handed the pink slip. And if getting fired was really your fault? This is an excellent learning opportunity.
Have a drink, dust yourself off, and go respond to all those recruiters in your InMail you’ve been ignoring all this time.