At some point in every career, a professional will see someone escorted from the building with a box full of belongings. It may be a coworker or a stranger from another department, but whoever it is, it can be difficult to watch. It serves as a reminder that anyone can be fired unexpectedly.
What happens if that fired person is your immediate supervisor? Chances are, it adds a layer of stress and uncertainty. Without your boss in place, you may suddenly feel as though you lack the support system you had before. Your boss’s termination doesn’t necessarily mean your own job is in jeopardy. However, there are a few things you can do to bolster your own career in the wake of your boss’s exit. Here are a few things you can do after your boss is fired.
Don’t make it all about you
Is your first concern how this will affect you? Don’t feel guilty if so. It’s human nature to be concerned about your own job stability, even while you’re watching your boss leave the building. It’s important to keep those feelings to yourself for a while, showing compassion for the person who has just been sent to the unemployment line. It’s a difficult line to walk, since you don’t want to show resentment toward the bosses who made the decision to terminate. Instead, focus on how you can help out in this new environment, where a position now sits unfilled.
Make your role known
If upper management has a firm grasp on things, you’ll likely be pulled aside in the ensuing days for a discussion. This will be an attempt to learn what your role is on the team and to reassure you that your work will continue as normal. If this doesn’t happen, approach someone in management to ask for such a meeting. Take this as an opportunity to highlight the work you do each day and offer to help ease the transition, especially if you can take on some of your former boss’s workload.
In the uncertainty that follows, you’ll likely see morale drop slightly, especially if your boss was terminated unfairly. Avoid being sucked into these discussions at all costs, and instead demonstrate a positive outlook. Even if you think nobody will notice your venting session at an off-site lunch, don’t take the risk of word getting back to your superiors. Instead, remain professional and polite and try to be part of the solution, rather than adding to the problem.
Don’t make demands
While things are in upheaval, try to avoid making waves, even if you feel as though you’ve gone far too long without a raise. There will be time in the future to ask for a bump in pay or even a promotion. During the transition, it’s important to focus on standing out as a hard-working, committed member of the team. By assisting with everything and stepping up to take on more responsibilities, you’ll put yourself in a better position to make requests once things have settled down.
An upheaval in the workplace can be distracting, especially if you fear for your own job. Instead of panicking, make a conscious effort to appear calm at all times. Allowing your work output to suffer may put your job in danger when it was otherwise safe. If your boss’s firing was as a result of a change in overall leadership, such as a corporate buyout or new management, pay attention to whether the new leaders seem inclined to work with the new employees. If they’re making an effort to get to know everyone and put new managers in place to handle them, your job is likely safe.
Do something extra
In addition to your usual day-to-day activities, look for small opportunities to impress upper management. Organize an office cleaning spree or bring in new items for the break room. This could be a great way to make a positive impression, especially if certain areas of your office have been long neglected. A crowded storage room may have been bothering the CEO for months and your cleanup efforts can make a big difference.
Have you recently lost your boss unexpectedly? If so, avoid panicking and take things one day at a time. After a few rocky weeks, you’ll likely find that your initial concerns were unfounded. Your boss’s departure could actually lead to better opportunities for you, since you’ll be noticed by upper management. If you take the chance to show that you can be counted on, you’ll have a better shot at a bright future with your company.
This article was originally published on Quill.com.