If you have experienced a career disaster, it has most likely led to one of several possible outcomes: getting laid off, fired or early resignation. There are of course many things that could lead to this, from fighting with the boss or co-workers, lying on your resume, making a major mistake at work, stealing, and the list can go on and on. However, making a career disaster is rarely something that cannot be overcome. You must not just sit around and feel sorry for yourself, but you need to bounce right back and get in the game to restore your career.
Before you can seek to totally bounce back, you need to seriously take a hard look at the situation and figure out the real root cause to the problem that got you to this point. Were you to blame? What actions on your part had contributed to the scenario? What could/should you have done differently that could have changed the outcome? Learning from mistakes is what builds a better leader; while passing the blame does not. This is the time to be honest and examine your actions, motives, and passions, and determine what mistakes you made in the disaster, and take action to correct or eliminate them from being made in the future.
Even if you have been released from the position, or even resigned on your own, it is always important to try to make things right. Once you have analyzed the issue and noted what part you were personally responsible for that led to the disaster, you need to apologize. This is not necessarily an attempt to make things right in order to get your job back, this is simply stating that you are aware of your errors made in the situation, and apologize for the reactions it caused in you and others including any damage to the company or its reputation.
The best way to accomplish this is by a verbal apology to the individuals involved, as well as a follow up “for the record” written apology. The ultimate goal in doing this (aside from honestly being sorry and regretful for your actions) is to restore peace between yourself and the parties involved. Leaving a job under bad circumstances is never a good thing, and can come back to bite you later. Restoring things can mean in the future you can still use them as a reference.
During this down time, aside from looking for a new position, you need to stay active. Do not let this get you down and drag you into depression and self-pity. Bounce back, get on your feet, and stay busy to keep the motivation up. Get into a hobby you previously did not have time for, or hit the gym, or spend some time stretching your wings by studying up on career related issues and new skills that can be beneficial for your job search. Go to the local library and get trade books, or take online courses, or begin taking some classes locally that could help to further your career and open new doors.
Recovering from a career disaster can be tough, but you have to commit to taking the steps to do so. Do not let it drag you down, but bounce back, get on your feet, and get motivated to repair the damage done and get back on the fast track.