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Your career is rattling along nicely and then BAM! All of a sudden, you’re out on the street without a job. Anytime a person gets fired, it’s pretty traumatic. There are bills to pay, mouths to feed, and disappointing glances to deal with. It gets worse when you’re in your 40s without a career. Some people spend decades building their reputation only for it to crumble with one small tap.

The questions exacerbate the situation. What are you going to do? Where will you go next? Who’s going to hire a forty-something over a millennial in this day and age? Three little words can cause you to go into a tailspin and lose your head. How and when you get it back is up to one person: you.

The key is not to panic and think rationally. Muddled decision-making only increases the odds of doing something stupid. Once you are as calm and relaxed as you’re going to get, it’s time to think to the future and how you can bounce back. Here are five ways people in their forties can put their career back on track.

Gain Perspective

Firstly, it’s essential to evaluate what happened and why. It’s tempting to think “I wasn’t good enough” or “I was a victim,” but there is no way to tell until you take stock. After forensic analysis of the situation, then you’ll be able to talk with certainty about the factors that contributed to getting fired.

Although it’s tough, the key is to be super honest here. Remember that you’re only lying to yourself by deflecting or projecting your failures on others. Yes, maybe there were multiple details which ended up with you losing your post. 2008-style industry crashes happen and employees are innocent bystanders.

However, your actions might have also played a part too. Was the standard below the required level? Were you on thin ice after a final warning? Did your circumstances make you unreliable and erratic, i.e. drinking during the week? Decide how much each factor contributed and then give it a percentage.

Solve The Problem

The unfortunate people will have been at the mercy of the industry. Sadly, there isn’t much you can do when the excrement hits the fan but hold on for dear life. Even then, there are no guarantees because it’s a dog-eat-dog world. Usually, the universe won’t be the reason for dismissal. For the most part, it is the actions of the individual as people make mistakes. No one is perfect.

Still, this is not to time to wallow in self-pity and feel guilty. Careers are measured by how you bounce back, and you haven’t got as much time as most. So, it’s integral to get out of a funk and come up with a solution. Sometimes, an upheaval in your lifestyle can make all of the difference. Hotel California by The Sea has seen “disgraced” former execs come through their doors and return to the fold. All it takes is the courage to admit there is a dependency problem.

If the issue is communication-based, then thinking about how you interact is wise. People that can’t pick their battles tend to get into arguments and start trouble when it’s not necessary. Try and come up with ways to avoid always offering your opinion. Standards-wise, the only solution is to improve. At your next job, work on keeping focus throughout the day. That way, the quality will be consistent.

Go Back To School

Ageism was never a thing when you started your career. If anything, the younger generations were looked down on while the oldies earned the big bucks. Nowadays, advancements in technologies mean there is a preference for graduates fresh out of school. They have the modern workplace skills employers need to maximize their profits.

Please don’t assume you are out in the cold because there is an answer. The obvious thing to do is to go back to education and soak in the information. Focus on the things that you think are going to be the major players and hone in on them. For example, the marketing sector is being overwhelmed by multimedia and social media. So, a course which teaches you how to embed posts, create videos, and develop shareable content should be effective.

Thanks to the internet, there is no need to enroll full-time. Online courses are available and they let you study while attending interviews. A new diploma looks very good on a resume.

Go At It Alone

Be honest – aren’t you tired of not being the boss? There comes a time in a person’s life when being told what to do isn’t worth the paycheck. Of course, quitting a well-paid position and taking a huge risk with a startup takes cojones. After all, you are responsible for others and people depend on your salary.

Well, now is the perfect time to throw caution to the wind. Think about it logically for a moment. You’re experienced and have a stellar reputation within the industry. Your book of contacts should be full of clients and customers that will be interested in the venture. And, you’re young enough to build a business from the ground up into something special. It’s the perfect storm.

Okay, maybe you won’t earn as much as you did before or can do by working for another employer. Still, the money will be steady and you’ll be in charge of your destiny. You can forget about getting fired again when you’re the boss.

Stay In Touch

Don’t disappear into the background after leaving a role. The temptation is to never speak to anyone again out of embarrassment, yet it’s the wrong move. To begin with, some of your colleagues might also be close friends. Never let the company get in the way of a relationship.

Secondly, they are contacts, moles in the opposite camp. Conversations can reveal a lot about the industry which is vital if you have your own company.

Remember that this is an opportunity to bounce back. Don’t you want to show them they made a mistake?

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