Everybody Gets Fired

It's that unscheduled meeting with your manager and ends in a few moments of pained silence. After that, you're out of there. Maybe you knew it was coming all along, maybe you thought it was weird that you hadn't had a project in weeks. Or maybe not. Most people (and for very good reasons) identify with their employment and losing it often feels like losing part of who they are. It's not uncommon to feel weird and alone, with reservations about how you spent the past months, or even years, of your life. Kate Wendleton, president of a national career coaching organization, warns: "The first challenge following a layoff is to conquer your emotions."

Don't think about it

It probably makes, really, very little sense. I was once fired for being too chatty on the job. The next week, they fired my now-former coworker who had never talked once. You can think yourself to death about why it was you, instead of the guy one desk over who got the talk, but that's because "People lose their minds," says Liz Ryan, author of Reinvention Roadmap: Break the Rules to Get the Job You Want and Career You Deserve. You've got to keep yours.

Stay Classy

Over at Forbes, Susan Adams, talks about how impressed she was by an email that a former employee mass-sent that was "striking in its tone of grace and confidence" and "offered heartfelt praise for the whole staff." So do that. For anyone not directly involved with your termination (which is probably one or two people at most), you can control the narrative of your departure and keep the doors open between you and any of your coworkers.

It's also tempting—especially if you know exactly why you were fired and who's really to blame—to let loose on social media, now that you can tell the truth. But alerting your vast group of friends and not-quite friends that something is wrong about the whole way a business is run doesn't translate very well either. In fact, Wendleton, recommends not to "talk to anyone outside your inner circle," until you've let your emotions settle. But don't let that stop you from:

Getting (back) on that Linkedin

Krista Canfield, a former Linkedin PR manager, recommends updating the current tab and professional headline tabs of your profile immediately in order to tell prospective employers what kind of position you see yourself in. Maybe you want to give a stab at PR after years of editorial.

Haven't been on the job market in the past two years? Then your Linkedin presence might be a tad underdeveloped or you might think your profession or goals aren't something that needs a linkedin. Well, they do: check out the good Deborah Jacobs for some excellent tips on how to craft one, fresh on the marketplace and contemplating a new direction. "Label yourself as what you would like to be," she advises, don't feel "limited by what your last job title was."

Also? Aim for punchy language. "Use active verbs, amply convey your responsibilities, and show results."

But Get On It!

One big temptation, if you can afford it, is to use the occasion to take the small (and undoubtedly well-deserved) break from the grind. Sandy Johnson, a former vice president at NEXCareer Inc. who now runs her own career and outplacement firm, is adamant: "Putting your toes in the sand could feel pretty good, but may be equivalent to sticking your head into it."

If you had worked at your old job for a while, make sure that you made every push you can for best severance package available to you. Make sure that you get everything that's due. And, more importantly, make sure you don't lose focus on the job market. Set a goal of applying for a certain number of jobs everyday and stick to it. Your better job will thank you.

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I’ve been feeling very British lately. Not in a Union-Jack-obsessed, “Keep Calm and Carry-On” way. I went through that phase in 2012 with everyone else… no thank you. And it’s not even a surge of patriotism catalyzed by the Queen dying — I’m firmly team Diana and team Meghan.

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Quiet Quitting is the latest trend among Gen-Z TikTok that encourages setting boundaries at work

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Toni Morrison has an anecdote about her first ever job, which was cleaning some neighborhood woman’s house. The young Toni arrived home after work one day and expressed her troubles to her father. But he didn’t provide the sympathy she expected. Instead, he gave her something better — his advice:

“Listen. You don’t live there. You live here. With your people. Go to work. Get your money. And come on home.”

Years later, she wrote about this remarkable experience for the New Yorker and said, in hindsight, this is what she learned:

1. Whatever the work is, do it well—not for the boss but for yourself

2. You make the job; it doesn’t make you

3. Your real life is with us, your family

4. You are not the work you do; you are the person you are

What Morrison so eloquently articulated was setting boundaries. I revisited this piece during the pandemic when working from home ramped up in earnest. Back when work was one of the few things that anchored my day.

Without a physical office, the pandemic shattered the work/life balance for many people. There was no more of that physical separation that Morrison talked about. There is no coming home from work physically. There is no real life to come back to — just a manufactured commute to your laptop in your makeshift home office.

But, par for the course, Gen Z are navigating this boundaryless era using TikTok. While internet gurus promote hustle culture and constant online availability since you’re not getting face time with your managers, there’s a trend in town — “quiet quitting.”


@zaidleppelin On quiet quitting #workreform ♬ original sound - ruby


The trend arose from the depths of the pandemic. Layoffs, salary cuts, and furloughs proved that their employers did not care about their hard-working employees.

The Washington Post dubs quiet quitting as a fresh trem for an old phenomenon: employee disengagement. In many cases, it’s a response to burnout. For much of Gen Z, it’s a way of establishing healthy boundaries in the office and resisting the pressure of the rat race. After all, why work yourself to the bone for a company that just proved it’s ready and willing to let you go?

Despite the term’s negative connotations, Quiet Quitting can provide an empowering shift in thinking for employees.

For far too long, employees have been indoctrinated with a slew of toxic workplace advice. Faced with these old misconceptions and lacking job security or clear paths for advancement, Gen Z is untethering their identities from work.

Quiet quitting — therefore — might be a bit of a misnomer. These employers aren’t completely disengaged. They’re certainly not launching Flight Club-esque sabotage attempts on their employers. NO. Contrary to media panic, Gen Z understands the value of a job — the fickle market they entered ensured that. But they also understand the value of life.

They’re doing what they’re being paid for. Nothing more, nothing less.

According to Chief, a private membership network focused on connecting and supporting women executive leaders, older generations should learn from this approach.

“Gen Z has already endured the largest seismic shifts to the career landscape than any previous generation, having started their careers in the middle of a pandemic that changed office culture forever and a gig economy that makes piecing together work more viable. They’re taking both those realities and therefore demanding more autonomy and flexibility than any other generation.”

Gen Z are less attached to job titles and statuses. They’re more concerned about their lives. Sure, this can lead to problematic outlooks on money and experiences — see the “I can earn my money back” TikTok trend. But it’s better than hustling for no reward. Besides, as some Gen Z-ers put it on TikTok, the office isn’t even a vibe.

“With the ability to work from anywhere and for more than just one place, Gen Z-ers are forging their own paths that don’t rely on old patterns set by previous generations and are redefining what “career success” looks like. Gen Z can take note, as more and more leaders are similarly pursuing multiple income streams of their own through the form of a portfolio career. The way in which work looks like and where it happens is evolving.”

With less single-minded focus on one job, some TikTok business gurus advocate shutting your laptops precisely at 5 pm. And then jump onto your side hustle. Do nails or lashes on the weekend. Become social media managers for your phone. Sell soap on Etsy (again … perhaps not in the Fight Club way).

But this valorization of side hustles is not about hustle culture, either. They say job security isn’t guaranteed. Learning new skills and develop an alternate income stream/s to keep you afloat. Just make sure you’re not left in the lurch. BTW inflation is here. So every little bit helps.

But where do you start? Watching TikToks can only get you so far. Try a course on LinkedIn Learning to sharpen up your skills and learn new ones that you can turn into a verifiable side hustle — or leverage in your job search if quiet quitting leads to … real quitting.

Learn on your own time with bite-sized videos or in-depth courses. Watch them after work, before you clock in, or on your lunch break. Then, after your courses are complete, you’ll have certificates prominently displayed on your profile that prove your skills.