Though not everyone gets to be in this position, some of us are fortunate enough to have terrific bosses to work for. But what happens when your manager, whether you like that person or not, is unexpectedly let go? Suddenly, your own future at the company becomes somewhat uncertain, and your mind is apt to start racing with questions. Dealing with a fired boss isn't an easy situation to be in, but here's how to manage it on your end.
1. Don't assume you're next
Your boss's performance and reputation at your company are by no means representative of your own. Even if your manager seemed to be doing a good job, you never know what aspects of his style or output didn't sit well with the company's higher-ups. Remember, too, that sometimes people are fired due to politics more so than anything else. If your boss happened to clash with a senior person in your organization, that alone could've been enough for him to get the boot.
The point? There's no reason to assume you're about to be fired just because your boss met that fate, so go about your business as usual, and don't rush home to rewrite your resume (unless, of course, you were unhappy to begin with, and your boss getting fired just seals the deal).
2. Carve out new opportunities for yourself
If you liked your boss, it may be hard to look at his firing as an opportunity. But in reality, you now have a chance to impress other people within the business, and that might extend all the way up to your company's executive team. So rather than keep your head down, use this transition period to present new ideas and take charge of business items that may not have an owner now that your old boss is gone. The more steps you take to get noticed, the greater your chances of landing a promotion, even if the circumstances leading up to it aren't necessarily ideal.
3. Keep in touch
If you had a good relationship with your old manager, then it pays to reach out and affirm your desire to keep in touch. Of course, you'll want to give your boss a little breathing room after getting fired, so don't call or email right away. Rather, wait a week, and then pick up the phone or send a note letting your manager know you've been thinking of him or her. Even if you have no interest in staying in touch for social purposes, you never know what company your boss might land at and whether there's a better position for you there -- so put in the time to stay connected.
That said, resist the urge to bash your current company in the course of your correspondence with your former manager. You can certainly say "things aren't the same without you," but don't complain about your new boss or the company itself. Doing so might add insult to injury, but more so than that, you never know what information might somehow leak back to the people you currently work for.
Having your boss get fired can put you in an awkward position to say the least, but don't assume that your own career is doomed if that happens. Rather, pick yourself up and keep doing the best job possible, and with any luck, your new manager will be just as good as your old one.