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You’re Being Terminated.  How To Accept It And Move Forward

Michael VanBruaene

Michael VanBruaene

By Michael VanBruaene, Guest Blogger

Someone recently contacted me to ask my thoughts and suggestions as to what she should do upon being terminated after working for many years for a company.  Below is the email sent to her.  The name below is not her name. 

Dear Charlotte,

I’ve been terminated a few times due to changes in organization strategy and financial conditions.  It’s never been easy, but there have been many benefits along the way.  I am assuming that you are inclined to find another position that is full time. Some thoughts. 

Leave on good terms with everyone, even if it’s hard to do.  You want to have a positive mind-set when you depart.  It will be healthy for your well-being.  Negative thoughts and feelings will not be good for you going forward.  You want to nurture positive feelings and perspectives.  And you never know when you may need help from your colleagues and/or management in the future.  To the extent feasible say good-bye to as many people as possible, and wish them well. 

Take some time to relax.  Maybe a couple of weeks, before you start to look for work.  You can probably use the rest and can use the time think about your career and your accomplishments. 

Don’t take it personally.  It happens to a lot people every day.  And business, unfortunately, is business regardless if it’s a for profit, non-profit or governmental organizations.

It’s not about who you are as a person.  Maintain your personal integrity and sense of self.  That can never be taken it away from you and is a very important asset. 

There may be unknown positives that will appear.  Sometimes it’s time for a change.  Also, we may be compelled to do something completely different going forward, because we’ve been forced into a new set of circumstances. 

Be open to possibilities.  Much of life, maybe all of it, is subject to fate.  Be open to whatever you see, feel, read and hear.  Take care to not see new things from a negative position; and also to be aware of any negative perceptions you may have about anything.  (Even if you believe you are being “realistic”) 

Take one day at a time and be busy.  Develop and follow a to-do list.  It will keep you active mentally and physically and will keep you mentally sharp.  It’s also important to create personal momentum.  For some people, if they look too far ahead they become depressed about the future. 

Who are you?  This is a good time to think about your essence and how that might pertain to the kind of work you do in the future.  What activities are most enjoyable for you; in what types of activities do you lose a sense of time?  What types of work are easiest for you, almost second nature?  How might you find work that is conducive to your essence?

Network.  Get in contact with colleagues and friends, possibly in this manner:

Develop a one page, or so, summary of your strengths, accomplishments and work history.  When you ask to meet with someone, state that you are looking for their thoughts about how you might proceed with your career.  During or at the end of your conversation you can ask them if they know anyone else with whom you could meet for advice.  And also inform them that you will keep them posted on how the meeting went with their referral.  This gives you an opportunity to stay connected. 

The objective with this approach is to find work, but not by explicitly asking for work.  Explicitly asking for work will lead you to dead-ends with your contacts.  Most people will want to help you and will refer you to one or more others.  And if they know of work in their organization they will inform you of the position. 

There is a book called.  The Joy Of Job Hunting.  It may be out of print.  I think it describes this process in more detail. 

Social media.  Get on LinkedIn.  As you know it’s one of the ways that people find out about us. You may also want to consider developing a rudimentary website about your-self.  The easiest way is via Google.  It provides a basic platform that is free.

Your accomplishments.  List your accomplishments and any key milestones or items of note, not just job responsibilities. This will come in handy when you have a job interview or are networking, as well as when you develop your resume.  Note that job longevity and loyalty to an organization are accomplishments; also the ability to change and evolve over 38 years of work.  You must also be good at working with others and being a team member. 

Be confident.  You’ve accomplished a lot and there is more that you can accomplish.  You have tremendous value to the world and anyone with whom you work. 

Exercise.  You will have time to do this.  It will help you to feel good.  And if you happen to do it with others it will help you to generally feel good and also network. 

Inform friends and acquaintances. Be open to informing friends, acquaintances and anyone you meet about your being out of work and that you are looking for a new position.  Be ready to give them a quick summary of what you do, and can do. 

Any chance of working on your own?  Consider being open to working on your own doing special projects for others.  This is a good way to network and stay active and ready for full time work. 

I hope this at least a little helpful.  Let me know if you have questions.

The very best to you,


Michael VanBruaene was a KPMG Director and blogs at “Michael VanBruaene – Pragmatic Approaches To Move You and Your Organization Forward”.  

Michael VanBruaene.  How can I help you? How can we collaborate? See the services I provide and other organization and personal development tools and articles at  Contact me at

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