When you get fired, the last thing you are anxious to do is begin a job search. Like anyone, you don’t react well to losing your job. Your mind is racing, filling with doubt in your abilities and wonder of what you could have done differently. The thought of looking for a job and putting yourself out there again is daunting. You’ll have to update your resume, assuming you even have one, and sell yourself to your next employer against all of the other people out there in need of a job. As much as this stresses you out, conducting a job search once you’ve been terminated is always the first thing you should do.
Some of the reasons are obvious. Being unemployed tends to mean that you are not getting a regular paycheck. Your bills pile up and depending on your financial situation, you may rack up quite a bit of debt. Being unemployed can also wreak havoc on your personal relationships. Another reason to begin your job search immediately after getting fired is something most people don’t even consider.
After several months of trying to avoid it, you start telling people that you lost your job and how. Multiple people point out that you may have been wrongfully terminated. You’ve done some research on the internet but it’s confusing and you don’t know what to make of it. At the end of an exhaustive search, you decide to call an attorney. Realizing you’ve been out of work for six months, the attorney asks you about your job prospects and mentions something about a duty to mitigate your damages. Say what now?
Most employees who are suing their employer for wrongful termination or some other legal variation of the same have a duty to mitigate their damages. The general rule is that the measure of recovery by a wrongfully discharged employee is the amount of salary…, less the amount which the employer affirmatively proves the employee has earned or with reasonable effort might have earned from other employment.” Parker v. Twentieth Century-Fox Film Corp. (1970) 3 Cal.3d 176, 181-182. This means that when you lose your income, you need to make reasonable efforts to replace it with, at least, comparable work. This includes filing for unemployment benefits, even if you think you won’t get approved. If you are awarded benefits, regular certification will require you keep track of your job search as well.
The best practice is to keep a log of your job search from the very beginning. In your log, you should include at a minimum:
- contact information of the potential employers
- date of your applications
- dates of follow-up calls/emails
- dates of interviews you receive
- interviewers’ contact information
- details of the position (hours, skills, duties, etc.)
- details of job offers (salary, benefits and your response)
This log will serve as evidence of your search so that you don’t have to remember every little detail. But even if you don’t sue your employer for wrongful termination, maintaining a log such as this, will help keep you organized and vigilant in your job search. With the job market what it is, any way you can get an edge is worth a shot.