Losing your job or getting fired

Getting fired (losing your job) is very hard. You might be confused about what to do next. Learn what you can do to make this event a little easier.

Getting fired - two women outside work

Most people lose their job at least once.  Getting fired can be a very scary experience, especially if it is a surprise. You may be worried about paying your bills or helping your family. You can do things to make getting fired or losing your job easier.

Listen and stay calm

Employers do not like to fire people. The most common reason for getting fired is money. The company may not have enough money to pay you anymore. Or you may have done something that was against the rules. Maybe the thing you did was an accident. If you do not understand what happened, you can ask. The manager legally has to tell you why you are getting fired.

Whatever happened, listen to the manager’s instructions. They may want you to leave right away. They may want you to pick up your things and say goodbye to your coworkers. Do not cry, yell, or act angry. Try to stay calm.

File for unemployment benefits

If you can, file for unemployment benefits right away. Unemployment benefits are the money the government gives you after you lose your job. Most states will pay unemployment benefits for up to 26 weeks. They will not pay your full salary amount.

You are eligible for unemployment benefits if you are:

  • Admitted for permanent residence
  • Legally in the United States  because of your job
  • A refugee
  • Granted permanent asylum
  • A parolee

Learn how to apply for unemployment benefits after getting fired

If you leave your job without getting fired, you will not get unemployment benefits except for:

  • Medical reasons
    You are too sick or injured to work
  • Taking care of a sick family member
    Your family member is very sick and you cannot afford to pay someone to take care of them
  • Domestic violence
    The person you are in a relationship with is hurting you mentally or physically
  • Constructive discharge
    This means that your work situation was very hard. If your boss hit you or was making you do something illegal, this would count as “constructive discharge.”

Every state has different rules about benefits when quitting.

|Unemployment benefits in your state

|Unemployment benefits for immigrant workers

Make a budget

Make a budget even if you get unemployment benefits. Think about how you can save some money. Can you change your lifestyle to live with the money you have now? It may take a while to find a new job.

Update your resume

Most jobs require resumes. Make sure your resume is up to date. Add details about the job you just left. Write any skills that you may have learned while you were there. Add any recent classes you have taken.

Update your LinkedIn profile

LinkedIn helps people find professional jobs. You can connect with other workers and look for work. Your profile on LinkedIn is like an online resume. Update it every time you update your resume. Send out a message to your LinkedIn friends about what kind of jobs you are looking for.

Learn to make a LinkedIn profile

Start looking for jobs

It is OK to rest for a few days after getting fired. You can take some time to think. Even if you are sad, start searching as soon as you can. Finding a job can be a long and difficult process. Search for jobs online and/or look for signs at local businesses. Set a goal of applying to at least 10 jobs a week.

Things not to do

  • Do not say bad things about your employer on social media 
    Even if you did not like your boss, you may need a reference or your new employer. Also, your new employer may look at your social media and will get a bad impression of you. 
  • Do not stay quiet
    You may feel embarrassed to tell people you lost your job. That is normal. However, telling people will help you. Your friends and family may think of you when they hear of jobs. They may be able to introduce you to people who can help.
  • Do not get discouraged
    In America, employers do not email you about every application. You may not hear back from people unless they want to interview you. This does not mean you are not a good worker or that you will never find a job. It is normal to be frustrated, but don’t let that stop you from trying to find a new job.

Learn more

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