Q: I walked into my office to find out I'm being fired after working hard for the company for eight years. What's the best way to deal with...

Share story

Q: I walked into my office to find out I’m being fired after working hard for the company for eight years. What’s the best way to deal with this?

A: To answer your question, I interviewed Harvey Mackay, author of five best-selling business books, including “We Got Fired! … And It’s the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us” and also the author of “Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.” Being able to learn from bad experiences (including getting fired) was a key element of Mackay’s advice.

He pointed out that firing is rejection, but if you can learn to handle rejection well, your ability to be successful increases enormously.

Mackay figures you’re not a failure if you get fired, but you are a failure if you don’t learn from the experience. He emphasized that effective professionals don’t just go to school once for a lifetime but are “in school” for a lifetime.

Mackay told me several stories about people who used a firing to find better jobs, become better people or figure out what they really wanted to do. He repeated his favorite quip: “Find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life!”

His recommendations for surviving and thriving after a firing include:

1. Find out the real reason you were fired. Often the reason you’re given is not the actual problem. You can’t fix what you don’t know about.

2. Make sure you know how to get along with people. This is essential in business and in life. Other important people skills to home: selling yourself and public speaking.

3. Don’t burn your bridges, or you’d better be a good swimmer. You never know when you might need the support of a former employer.

4. Do what works best for you in timing your next job. You might need time off to get the cobwebs out of your brain, or you might need to get right back on the horse.

Mackay topped off his advice by noting that even the Lone Ranger had Tonto. When facing adversity or rejection, people need other people. Whether you reach out to your spouse, clergy, friends or family, make sure you can get emotional support.

The last word(s)

Q: I hate my boss and am sick of “making nice.” Isn’t there a diplomatic way to point out that he’s a jerk?

A: No.

Daneen Skube, Ph.D., can be reached at 1420 N.W. Gilman Blvd., No. 2845, Issaquah, WA 98027-7001; by e-mail at interpersonaledge@comcast.net; or at www.interpersonaledge.com. Sorry, no personal replies. To read other Daneen Skube columns, go to: www.seattletimes.com/daneenskube