The Dreaded Pink Slip Part II - How to Deal With it

How do you deal with the reality of being fired from your job? In this second part of his article Dr. Ramesh Grandhi discusses the best strategies for dealing with a pink slip once it has been handed to you.(To read the first part, Click Here.)

It is every employee’s nightmare come true and something he devoutly prays will never happen to him, but realistically speaking there is a decent chance that it might happen. For some it might happen within 2 to 3 years of employment and for others perhaps a decade or so after. The only constant is no matter when it happens most employees are psychologically ill prepared to face the brunt of an uncertain future.

I would not like to in anyway portray employers as ogres just waiting to pounce and destroy careers and lives, nothing will be farther from the truth. They too have to safeguard their own interests and keep up to their obligations and believe me in these days there are a lot of stipulations placed on them. They have to “cut” quite a lot of corners to achieve what they promised their shareholders or funding agencies. It would be na├»ve on the part of the employee to expect that employers would sacrifice their own interests to save them.

Now that we know that the pink slip is something we cannot ignore let us find the best ways of being prepared for this eventuality and coping with the aftermath.

1. Money: Save as much as you can for the coming rainy days. The psychological boost and confidence you get with having money in the bank is indescribable. Do not bank on any severance pay or gratuity to tide you over, consider that as a bonus, but make sure you scrimp and scrounge but SAVE as much as possible while you still have a job to go to. Each and every employee should be well versed with his contract particulars. If not, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to immediately read it to find out what kind of a severance package is on offer, what the gratuity would amount to, and also how much money would be there in the provident fund.

2. Handle the pink slip with as much grace as you can muster. It might be the single most difficult thing you have to do, but do it. You will feel that the entire world has conspired against you and that the “exit”utives are disguised hangmen who are unfairly beheading you. To a certain extent if you are a conscientious and productive employee you would be right, however, you will have to recognize that it is not in your interest to create a scene, because no matter what you do the pink slip for you is a reality and you will need to pack up and leave. There is no sense in burning any bridges, because if things change this very same employer might take you back, so make sure not to rile him up. Make sure to leave the premises as unobtrusively as possible, just inform your close colleagues and leave with a smile on your face.

3. In these uncertain times, it pays to be on the lookout for better pastures. If you get any hint that your management is seriously considering downsizing to cut costs, immediately brush up your skills and update your resume. If a new manager or supervisor has been appointed and you don’t get along with him all that well that might be more than enough to “earn” the dreaded slip. You will need to understand that the new guy on the block might have already been given the brief to show you the way out. So do make sure to keep your Biodata or CV or Resume or whatever else you might call it up to date and not leave it to the day you are fired.

4. Develop a finely tuned antenna that will warn you of an impending pink slip, and once that antenna starts to tingle start checking job ads immediately, the early bird does catch the worm! If your company has been acquired by another and you are in a managerial role, your antennae should go wild. If you don’t already have an old-boy network start developing one on a priority basis. Ring up your friends and acquaintances working in related industries and request them to inform you of openings in their companies.

5. Try and ask the “exit”utive the reason, ask him whether your performance and attitude had any bearing on the decision or it was due to overall cost cutting through downsizing. You will in most cases not get a straight answer, with that gentleman mumbling that it was a “management decision”.

6. Recover from the shock as quickly as possible, it is true that you have been hard done by, but sitting at home bemoaning your fate, cursing all and sundry or drowning yourself in liquor will not help you or your family, you need to understand YOU will need to continue to bring home the bacon. The sooner you put this behind you, the faster you can search for a new job and you never know there might be a much better one out there waiting for you.

An employee who has just been kicked out in spite of commendable service to his company might not at first glance like a lot of what I have written, but if he takes a moment or two to reflect I am reasonably certain that he will understand that there is more than a modicum of truth and common sense in this article.


  1. HI,

    Wow this article showed me a path
    very nice,


  2. Very nice article, its shows our path

  3. Anonymous4:46 AM

    brilliant writeup and very useful for people going through such situations.

  4. very helpful & educative post.
    one can never say when some of us will need this one :D

  5. Thanks for the comments, I really don't want anyone to go through the agonies of being pink slipped, but if it does happen these articles just might help putting them back on the right track.

    Dr. Ramesh

  6. Subhorup, as always, loved this post as well. I was never handed the pink slip, and instead I was on a team where my job was to reduce the umber of head counts in our projects so internally I know how it works. And I really like how he said to accept it as much grace as one can. That is needed the most.


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