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Advice / Succeeding at Work / Getting Ahead

What Would You Do if You Were Fired Today? (Hint: You Should Have an Answer)

We’ve all seen those insurance commercials that ask what you would do in the chance of a flood or a car accident. But when applying this question to your career, have you actually ever given any thought to what you would do if you were fired today?

Lisa Rangel, managing director of Chameleon Resumes, had a friend who found herself totally blindsided at work when she was called in by senior management and promptly fired, with no real warning signs leading up to the event.

What did Rangel’s friend learn from the incident? To always be prepared. Regardless of your current situation or how secure you feel in your job, imagine you were fired from work today: What would you do, and would you have the means to find another job or opportunity quickly?

If you’re already freaking out that you don’t have an answer, don’t stress too much. Here are five things you can do right now to prepare yourself should the worst happen.

Consider it an insurance plan for your career.

1. Go on Coffee Meetings

One of the worst things that can happen if you’re fired unexpectedly is realizing that you haven’t been keeping up with your network. Think of it this way: If you were fired one hour from now, it’d be much easier to connect with people you talked to a couple of weeks ago to ask for help than it would be to reach out to people you talked to several months (or even years) ago.

If you don’t want to go on a networking extravaganza, even grabbing some coffee with different professional contacts can keep you in the loop and fresh in people’s minds.


2. Create a “Resume Dump”

Obviously it’s important to tailor each resume you write to the particular job you’re applying for, but it’s equally as important to have a “resume dump” where you include every possible accomplishment and notable moment, from winning “Employee of the Month” four years ago to running a marathon last month.

Doing so makes it easier to pull a resume together if you need to in an instant, and it also gives you a single place to monitor all that you’ve done. So next time you’re binge watching your favorite show, open up a document and start writing up all of your accomplishments. It won’t feel so hard, but it will save you in a pinch.


3. Update Your LinkedIn Page

There’s no need to go on a rampage and connect with 600 new people or write down every single accomplishment of the last 10 years of your career, but definitely give your profile a look to see what needs fixing. Every so often, instead of wasting five minutes on Facebook, go to LinkedIn and update your job descriptions, look out for typos, and connect with clients, vendors, and other people from your current job to keep your connection list fresh.


4. Keep Up With Industry News

Subscribe to a widely regarded industry newsletter, or join professional groups online or in person. However you find out what’s happening, you don’t want to be left out of the loop about the trends and happenings in your field in the off chance you lose your job.


5. Save, Save, Save

It’s important to have your professional life in order, but it’s incredibly important to have your personal life in order as well. Calculate how much money you’d need in order to live for three to six months of unemployment. Be diligent about your money and your saving habits to always keep that safety buffer around—just in case.


Sure, you might not be getting fired today or any time soon. But there’s a certain level of comfort in knowing that you created a safety net to fall into in the off chance you were.

Photo of people leaving work courtesy of Shutterstock.