what to do when you've been fired

“YOU’RE FIRED” … Now What?!

An Open Letter to Former-FBI Director James Comey (and anyone else who has ever been fired)


Dear Former-FBI Director Comey,

We heard you were fired and we want you to know that we can help you during this stressful time. The first thing you need to know is that you’re not alone – plenty of people get fired (although most people don’t hear about it on TV, so that’s pretty unique) and they still go on to have great careers. Like other people who have been fired, you’re probably dealing with a lot of conflicting emotions and meanwhile starting to worry about where your next job will be. So, we’ve put together a list of Dos and Don’ts for you to help you get through being fired and get on with your life and your career.

  1.     Don’t sign anything without a lawyer present.

Whether you were fired because you weren’t doing a good job or because of political differences or downsizing or any other reason, you may be asked to sign a severance agreement. We would strongly encourage you to refuse to sign anything without first having an employment lawyer look over the document. Even if HR says “it’s standard” or something like that, anything you sign might take away your ability to negotiate the terms of your departure.

  1.     Do try to get a reference.

Everyone knows President Trump probably isn’t going to give you a great reference after firing you – he’s already said publicly that you were doing a bad job. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get a reference from someone else. For instance, you served under a former boss – President Obama. Even though he is no longer with the organization, he may be able to offer you a positive reference. You can even seek out someone else still working for the organization who might offer you a good recommendation.

  1.     Do fill employment gaps.

Unfortunately, it’s easier to find a job when you already have one. So get busy! Volunteering is a great way to fill employment gaps on your resume. For instance, you might want to testify in front of Congress for a few days, which will of course take some prep time, too. So, on your resume, you can list that after your position at the FBI. We also hear you enjoy gardening. Even though gardening isn’t related to your career path in law, it’s perfectly acceptable to say you took a break from your career to perform service for your community when you volunteered at an urban farm for a few months. Not only does volunteering keep you from sitting at home and watching Judge Judy all day, you will appear all the more noble for wanting to spend some time helping your community.

  1.     Don’t use the F-word.

We know you were fired by probably the most famous boss of all time. After all, the President literally made a career based on saying “YOU’RE FIRED.” That doesn’t mean you need to use the “F-word” when describing what happened to you. Instead, try using one of these phrases:

  •      We had differences in opinion.
  •      We had different working philosophies.
  •      We had differences in creative direction.

The great thing about these descriptions of what happened is that they are vague about whether you were fired or left voluntarily. While it seems unlikely, former-Director Comey, that anyone doesn’t know you were fired, it’s possible! So be vague and let them wonder whether you were fired or left voluntarily.

  1.     Don’t badmouth the boss.

The President has made it known that he thought you weren’t doing a good job. He’s claimed some things about a few conversations the two of you had that seem…questionable. He’s even sent a few Tweets that have a hint of a threatening tone. So we understand why you might harbor some negative feelings toward your former boss. But you need to work through those feelings on your own because new employers don’t like complainers, even if they may be understanding of your point of view.

  1.     Don’t lie.

In some cases, you may be asked on an application or in an interview if you have ever been fired / let go / asked to leave a position. Don’t lie. Even for people who have experienced less public firings than you, lying is a bad idea because if your new employer finds out you lied, even after they’ve hired you, they could take back your employment offer because you deceived them during the hiring process.

  1.     Do turn a negative into a positive.

If you’re asked whether you have involuntarily left a previous position, you can use the question to demonstrate that you can be honest (use one of the descriptive phrases in #4) and then turn the discussion to you positive attributes. For instance, if you say you were let go over differences in opinion, you can follow-up by talking about how you’ve spent your career valuing impartiality and fairness and abiding by the law. You could point out that you’ve worked for both Republican and Democratic administrations, showing that others have viewed you as impartial and non-political. Do all of this by talking about yourself in positive terms – and not speaking negatively about President Trump.

So, former-Director Comey, we know you’re probably still feeling all the emotions, so do grab yourself a pint of your favorite Ben and Jerry’s flavor and spend a night Netflix and chilling. Sleep late. Putter in the garden. Indulge a little and rest up for a few days because we have a feeling you’re about to get really busy – and that’s the best thing you can do after being fired.

In the meantime, if you have questions about how to revamp your resume to shift into a new career, we’d be happy to help. For instance, you might want to move out of government and into private industry. While these kinds of career moves can be tricky, with a little tweaking of your resume, we can set you up for success on the job market and get you back to doing what you love faster than President Trump can say “YOU’RE FIRED.”

7 Skills to Learn Today to Make Yourself More Marketable in Any Industry

Let’s face it: gone are the days when employees specialized in a certain area and stuck with that – in a single industry – for their entire careers. But unfortunately, many of us haven’t been trained in more than one area. Maybe you are coding whiz but you know nothing about finance. Maybe you’re great with data but really haven’t ever perfected the art of grammar and spelling. It can be tough to hone a new skill if you’ve been out of school for a while, but, if you’re looking to advance your career, adding even one of these 7 skills to your arsenal may be just the extra something you need to get your next position.

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What to Consider Before Changing Careers


Are you considering ditching it all and running away to join the circus? Are your dreams of becoming the next great American novelist are just too vivid to ignore any longer? Do you think you could land a spot on the national Olympics team in curling if it weren’t for that pesky day job? Many of us fantasize about what it would be like to make major career – and life – changes, even when we’re perfectly happy with our current careers. But if you’re seriously considering a career change – not just a move to a new company, but a whole new industry – it can be an exciting and scary time.

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Tips for Seasoned Workers Seeking a Career Change

There is the well-known saying: You’re never too old to start something new. It is important to be happy with the work you do; however, it could be challenging to find a job that is a good fit, especially after spending many years performing duties that you have grown accustomed to.

As people are living longer and maintaining active lifestyles, more people are choosing to remain in the workforce past retirement. In 2014, 23% of men and 15% of women ages 65 and older in the United States were still employed. (Suggested Reading: Fact Sheet: Aging in the United States)

For seasoned workers choosing to find new careers, they may encounter challenges with job search as technology is continually advancing and younger generations are taking over the workforce. The Baby Boom (individuals born between 1946 and 1965) led to a significant increase in the U.S. population. Members of this generation were more likely to learn about new jobs from someone they knew at a company while Gen-Xers were likely to utilize recruiters and staffing agencies and Millennials were using third party websites and online job boards.  (Suggested Reading: Understanding Baby Boomers At Work – (How a Person’s Age Affects Why They Change Jobs)

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Why Your 30s and 40s Is A Great Time To Change Careers

You’ve been in the workforce for a decade or more. Maybe you’ve worked for the same company the entire time, or perhaps you’ve moved around a bit (or even a lot). But you’ve begun to feel like you’re not in the right place. If you’ve started to think about a career change and you’re over 30, there might be a number of things holding you back from taking the leap. But, whether you know it or not, you’ve got a lot of things going for you, too. Here’s our list of skills and experiences you’ve likely gained by the time you’re 30 and why they make your 30s and 40s a good time to make a career change.

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The 10 Most Dangerous Jobs – and Which are Worth the Pay

You’ve probably never thought to yourself, “I want to have a really dangerous job.” But if you knew that job came with a hefty paycheck, would you be willing to risk it? How big of a paycheck would you need to, say, swim with sharks every day? Or handle venomous snakes? Or play with wild tigers? Granted, none of those “jobs” are on the most dangerous list – and some that are might surprise you. But we wanted to know: what dangerous jobs might actually be worth it?

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Five Dream Jobs to Apply For Today

Remember when you were a little kid and your parents told you that you could be anything you wanted to be when you grew up? And then sometime in your teenage years, reality came crashing in. You didn’t have the perfect eyesight needed to become an astronaut. Your singing ability wasn’t going to land you a gig on Broadway anytime soon. Your lack of natural rhythm made you an unlikely candidate to become an international rap star. You realized you were never going to grow those 4 extra inches you needed to be even a 10th round draft pick in the NBA or land an audition for the Radio City Rockettes. Let’s face it: your parents lied. We are, unfortunately, limited in what we can “be” and do.

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How to Land More Interviews (and Shorten Your Job Search)


As the U.S. job market nears full employment, many job seekers are scratching their heads wondering why their own efforts are not generating numerous interviews and desired employment offers. After all, with the official jobless rate at a 9-year low, now should be one of the best times to begin a job search.  

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Another Vocamotive Success Story

Did you know…

…that, many years ago, Vocamotive developed an internship program with municipal building departments and private construction businesses throughout the State of Illinois? The Building Inspector Internship Program is specifically designed to facilitate the training of injured construction workers to become Building Inspectors, Project Managers, Construction Superintendents, Customer Service Representatives and other professional construction occupations.

This program has been highly successful in reorienting injured workers to well-paying occupations and assisting the men and women Vocamotive has served to develop new careers they did not believe were accessible to them.

Suburban Building Officials Conference, Willowbrook, IL.

screen-shot-2016-12-20-at-1-12-50-pmOn December 9, 2016, Joseph Belmonte, creator of the internship program and President of Vocamotive, attended the December meeting of the Suburban Building Officials Conference and had the opportunity to see former Vocamotive client Roy Giuntoli sworn in as President of the Chapter.

Roy originally came to Vocamotive as an ornamental iron worker in need of vocational rehabilitation services. We completed comprehensive vocational testing, job seeking skills instruction, and assisted Roy in the development of computer literacy with Microsoft Office.

Roy then became involved in our Building Inspector Internship Program and we assisted him with obtaining the necessary International Code Council (ICC) certifications.

Vocamotive Changes Lives

With the combination of on-the-job internship experience and certification, Roy became a competitive candidate for work in the industry. He has gone on to become not only a highly competent and well respected Building Code Official with The Village of Willowbrook, but also a solid, forward thinking professional dedicated to the industry and promotion of building code activities that benefit us all in communities which are safer and better managed as a result of the efforts of Building Inspection Professionals.

We want to congratulate Roy on his exceptional achievement. He has demonstrated hard work, dedication and commitment to the development of new skills and experience.

We are honored to have had the opportunity to work with someone of such exceptional integrity, character and commitment and we are proud of what Roy has achieved.

We also want to congratulate current Vocamotive client, Richard Mika, on his involvement in the building inspection program. Richard is currently active in study for International Code Counsel Certification and in professional networking with the SBOC and other organizations. Another Building Inspector in the making!

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About the Author:

Joseph Belmonte, CRC, is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and President of Vocamotive, Inc. He is passionate about and committed to providing vocational rehabilitation services and career guidance in order to help people realize their greatest vocational potential. Joe has been in private practice as Vocamotive’s owner for over 20 years and is highly respected among his peers.

Follow Joe on LinkedIn at: www.linkedin.com/in/joseph-belmonte-7b893813

Contact Joe via email at: service@vocamotive.com  

For more information, visit Vocamotive’s website or call (630) 789-2519.

Follow Vocamotive on LinkedIn and Facebook and read Vocamotive’s Blog to hear about our latest career and resume development tips!


The 5 Best Santa Profiles According to this LinkedIn Expert

‘Tis the season for holiday merriment, spending time with loved ones, gift-giving, and …hiring Santa Clause.

Every winter, thousands of entertainment professionals and others who simply like spreading Christmas cheer eagerly await the chance to compete for Santa gigs at shopping malls, promotional events, and even private gatherings around the western world. As LinkedIn has long been the dominant professional networking site, savvy Santas everywhere set up attractive profiles to draw attention from representatives of the most prestigious (and highest-paying) institutions.

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