“So what do I do now? Seriously – what are my actual next steps? I just left the pastor’s office. I feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. I didn’t see this coming. I know I should have seen the signs…but I didn’t. Now what?”
NEXT 5 STEPS:
1) Don’t sign anything. No resignation letters or transition agreements, etc. Even if you feel pressured to agree to “we’ll say you resigned instead of got fired.” It’s not the optimal time for you to think clearly.
2) Skip the pack-up production and take only the 2-3 most cherished items with you. Leave quietly and within 15 minutes of exiting your boss’s office. No boxes, books, furniture – nothing that looks like the big, emotional goodbye. You’ll get the rest of your stuff eventually, but believe me, people will be watching what you take and don’t. The littlest thing will cause a rumble.
3) Don’t call anyone but your spouse or your mom. I mean it. The first few conversations after “the talk” could make or break years to come of what follows your professional reputation.
4) Go home. Don’t stop at the store or a friend’s or another youth worker’s place or the bar or the ice cream parlor. Go home where you can process in a complete zone of safety.
5) Set aside messages for the rest of the day. The texts, emails, phone calls, visits, etc., will start to come in but you and your family need time to cry, scream, swear, get mad, throw stuff – and no one needs to see it. If need be, have a relative come over to answer the door. In your “away” message, let people know you’ll get back to them the next day. Every single thing you say is painfully fresh and won’t be filtered like you’d like it to be…and will be repeated numerous times by others. Why give anyone any bullets to shoot you with?
Let me know if you want to read steps 6-10.
PS-Just got interviewed about this very thing for a podcast. Thanks, Terrace! Here’s the info: the episode will air next week, Thursday, March 5th, at www.ThisWeekinYM.com or you can listen and download the podcast on iTunes.com.