"But Mr Trumped, it wasn't my fault," said the warthog. "Jerry never co-operated with me at all!"
Never mind that the warthog was dressed in suit and tie, and that he had a name - "Steve Daedalus" it seemed to be, as Mr Trumped vaguely recalled. Warthog looked and sounded bad: he was out of shape; had a big, round, pimpled face; an irritating, whiny voice. And those beady eyes! Warthog looked like a huge focaccia stuffed on top with two sesame seeds masquerading as pathetic excuses for eyes.
No! Trumped fumed. Such a specimen would never do! How on earth did he even make it through the preliminaries?
Then he decided. The great Trumped had made up his mind. In his characteristic, cavalier fashion, he pointed his index finger at the warthog. "Wart ? no, I mean Steve ?"
A tense moment of silence ensued.
"But, sir! I'm not Steve Daedalus! Steve's not even here! He's in Dublin painting a portrait of an artist as a young man!" And so the argument continues.
But we won't bother about that anymore. We all know that once the Trumped has made up his mind, no amount of expostulation will sway him. What's left for the warthog to do is to learn how to cope with being fired.
In a milieu of economic uncertainty, getting fired is a possibility that many of us have to face. Touch wood, but if it really happens, don't feel like it's the end of the world. You're not alone (well, at least the warthog's in the same boat). The question is: Where do you go from there?
First of all, be kind to yourself. Don't feel like you are the scum of the earth. People get sacked for all sorts of reasons - some of which are really unfair - so it may not necessarily be your fault. You could have been a victim of an elaborate plot to replace "old dudes" with delectable eye candy. Or someone may have had a personal agenda against you. Or you might really have screwed up, in which case, put the episode behind you and buck up!
Your application letters and your resume must be positive. There is no need to mention that you were fired at this point. Do as you normally would when looking for a job; outline your qualifications, competencies and experience, and explain how these make you a suitable candidate for the job. You don't have to talk about being fired until you have to.
When filling up job application forms, don't lie. If you're queried about whether you have been fired before, be honest about it. Employers often do background checks, and furnishing false information on a job application is sufficient grounds for dismissal. If that happens, you'll have chalked up two sackings and the future will look bleak indeed.
Surviving the interview
Now this is the part that determines whether you "live" or "die". Unless they have been kept in the dark (which would be unwise), no employer can possibly resist asking you about your termination.
The trick is to turn a negative into a positive. If it was due to circumstances beyond your control (merger, downsizing et cetera), explain it clearly to your interviewers. If it was your fault, admit your mistake, then relate what you've learnt from the experience and how it has benefited you. Keep your answers brief, honest and to the point, and when opportunity allows, quickly move on to your skills and experience. Once you are able to make it to this stage, you've got a fighting chance.
Leaving a good impression
It's natural to be bitter and angry after getting fired. However tempted you might be, do not disparage your former boss and company. No employer likes to wonder if you might denigrate them the same way in future.
Leave your anger at home. When at the interview, put on a professional front and take a cool, objective approach to all issues. You might just impress your interviewers with your fortitude in bearing adversity with equanimity.
Everybody makes mistakes. Every so often, however, misfortune befalls those who are not at fault. Have faith that some employers are mature enough to recognise that as long as there's a determination to change or persevere, everybody deserves a second chance. Focusing on your strengths, rather than the firing, will put you in good stead to take the next brave step forward.