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What to do after getting fired; walk away or beg for your job?

Updated: Sep 13, 2022

Oyemaja Executives, a division of The Oyemaja Group.

There are only a handful of things worse than a heartbreak and one of them is losing a job. Nothing really gets you ready for the hurt, trauma, and confusion that follows.

Getting a great job in Nigeria is a big deal because there are not a lot of them out there. It can be disheartening to lose a good paying job after weeks and months of CV masterclasses, cold mails and stalking HR managers on LinkedIn. Except your Daddy is Dangote or you just love to do charity work, your first reaction to the loss of a job will be confusion and worry as to where the next one will come from.

It is you being torn between walking away like a Hollywood hero or considering groveling in front of your employer”.

Before you make a decision, let’s examine some of the thought processes you can go through to help you with more clarity:

  • DID YOU SEE IT COMING: there might have been subtle signs leading up to the termination. It could be incessant complaints of performance below par. Take a moment to understand whether you saw it coming and what must have sealed it.

  • WHY WERE YOU FIRED: this question might be a difficult one to answer especially if it happened out of the blues. Regardless, you need to ask. Was it a specific thing you did wrong or have been doing inappropriately; insubordination, lateness to work, nonchalant attitude? Or was it just a necessary lay off and you happened to be unlucky. Your first instinct might be to get out of the environment as soon as possible, but consider enquiring from the HR the reason for the termination. If the HR is willing and able to give answers, it might inform you better on the next steps to take.

  • HOW WERE YOU FIRED: asking this question would help understand the state of mind of the employer before the termination. Was due process followed? Were you served a termination letter? Was it during a presentation your employer cut you shut - “you’re fired”? Did your boss come to your office to have a gentle discussion on why the company needs to let you go? These will enable you make sound decisions.

  • DO YOU LOVE THE JOB/IS IT WORTH IT: As cliché as these questions sound, they might be the most important in determining whether to put up a fight. It is very possible you do not really love the job, but you’re only doing it for the money, or because there are no better options at the moment. On the other hand, you could really love your work and the pay, but find yourself struggling in a hostile and toxic work environment. So ask, is it worth it? Am I respected, valued and appreciated here? To be honest, it’s more honorable to be jobless than to work in an environment where you are not valued. All you might just need to do is brush up your resume and apply for new jobs.

  • BE COURTEOUS: Not all work relationships end well, so you’d need to make your peace with that. However, make sure the reason it did not end well is the other party and not you. Regardless of how unfairly you have been treated, keep it together. Burn no bridges. You can always have more to lose.

Begging for a job back

You could motivate yourself to walk away, convinced of getting a better job, but the reality stings. Job hunting sucks. Getting a job you love, pays well, and is in a great environment, may take months, and sometimes years. Frustration often drives people to beg for their old jobs back. This is why you should not burn bridges. If you must woo your former boss back, keep these in mind:

  • BE PROFESSIONAL: Maintain your self-esteem. By groveling and appearing desperate, you’re setting up yourself to be maltreated. Rather, send a professional email stating how you’d love to work with the company again if you are given an opportunity. You can discuss what value you’d be adding to the company, such as your previous experience and familiarity with their operations and policies coupled with the new ones acquired after your departure. Done this? Wait honorably.

  • WAIT FOR A JOB OPENING: if the company happens to recruit regularly, it might be in your best interest to wait to apply, like a fresh recruit. You could apply for the same position or try out another.

No matter how much you love a job or you have invested in it, sometimes, what you need to do is move on. There’ll be new opportunities to explore, new experiences to gain, new skills to acquire. Don’t linger in the past; be resourceful and forward thinking.

Yours in hustle,

Oyemaja Executives.



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