Being terminated from your job can be a highly emotional experience. Emotions can get the best of you. The mental toll can make you unsure of what to do next.

Consequently, letting your emotions overwhelm you to do the wrong thing can have lasting negative repercussions on your career.

Here are tips for handling being laid off emotionally.

  • Don’t take it personally. This is hard to do because being fired is personal. But this situation calls for detachment. The person on the other side of the table is dreading an emotional outburst. If your response is calm, cool, and collected, that person will be relieved. You will have given yourself the best chance to make the best of a very bad situation.
  • Try not to argue. Even if you are able to talk your employer out of firing you — which is highly unlikely — you’ll be walking on eggshells every day for as long as you work there.
  • Refrain from begging. Remember: It’s not being fired that takes away our dignity, it’s how we respond.
  • Ask for specifics and get them in writing. You are entitled to a coherent explanation of why you are being fired. It is professional to press your employer for details, and to get the details (along with details of your severance package) in writing. Being able to show a prospective employer the reason for your termination could be quite helpful.
  • Check with your attorney before signing anything. If your termination involves a non-compete agreement, confidentiality agreement, or another type of separation agreement, review it carefully with a reputable labor attorney knowledgeable about the laws in your state. These documents have enormous impact on your career, are often negotiable, and may not be legal or enforceable as written.
  • Ask for help. This is the time to ask for things you need in a severance package. Beyond that, appropriate questions may include: Do you know any firms that might be interested in hiring someone with my skills?Is it OK for me to list you as a reference? What kind of recommendation would you give me if I listed you? What things can I do to improve my skills and abilities?
  • Express gratitude. Saying things like “Thanks for the opportunity,” “Thanks for sticking with me as long as you did,” or “Thanks for the help you’re going to give me through my transition” just confirm your professionalism. Employers have long memories about statements like these–or when they are absent.

Terminations are never pleasant, and following all of this advice won’t make you feel better, at least initially. You just have to remember that plenty of successful people, rock stars in their fields, were once fired for a good reason, a bad reason, or no reason at all.

Make sure to read: How To Deal With A Layoff

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