Regardless of your field, there's always a chance that you can be let go without warning, and sometimes it really isn't your fault
So what do you do?
1) Exit gracefully. A friend recently had to terminate someone. The employee expressed appreciation for being able to work with him, asked to be considered for future opportunities and left with no issues. In fact, the person was expected to lead a conference call later the same day and joined anyway, in spite of just being fired. The next week someone reached out to my friend asking if he knew of anyone who could help with a project. Can you guess who he highly recommended? He said that it was solely because of how graciously his former employee exited the situation that he felt comfortable referring him to another company. Lesson: never burn your bridges.
2) Frame the story. Ask your former employer if they'd be willing to either describe your separation in neutral terms to a future employer, or just confirm the dates of your employment and share no other information.
3) Review your finances. Adjust your budget with the assumption that you might not find a new job for a few months. Cut as much as you can, and do an honest assessment of how long your money will last.
4) File for unemployment. In most states, terminated employees, but not necessarily those who quit, can collect unemployment as long as they weren't let go for intentional misconduct.
5) Go to the doctor. Your health insurance will most likely extend through the end of the month, so get those checkups in now while you're still covered.
6) Remain objective. Are there any things you could have done better? Do you understand why you were let go? Be open and honest with yourself, which can include acknowledging that the company or field simply may not suit you.
7) Decide on a career path or change. If you determine that you want to stay in your field, update your resume, reconnect with your industry peers and get on LinkedIn. If you'd like to change fields, your resume should highlight transferable skills. You likely won't have as many contacts in a new industry, so search for any free networking opportunities and get to know some new folks.
8) Be prepared for a pay cut. You'll most likely rebound into a bigger and better situation, but circumstances may arise that will force you to consider a salary reduction. Before scoffing, assess the long term possibilities. Is this the first step in a company/career with huge growth opportunity? Have you been out of work for a while and need to get your feet wet again? Are you running out of money? Are you entering an industry that simply doesn't pay as well? Taking a pay cut may be an excellent strategic move, so put your ego aside and determine whether the temporary sacrifice is worth it in the long run.
9) Do things that you couldn't do while working. There's always something on the to-do list that never gets done. There's no better time than while unemployed to check the box on those tasks.
And so it is.