It might be tempting to rant to or lash out at the person who tells you that your job has just ended, but there are a number of good reasons to resist the temptation.
First of all, remember that the person who delivered the bad news may simply be the messenger, not necessarily the person who decided to terminate you from the company. However, even if it is your boss who delivered the bad news and selected you for termination, lashing out at them is still a bad idea. This is the person who may be able to bring you back on board in consulting capacity to help the company with your expertise.
After all, you could be among those rehired if the company’s policies allow the rehiring of former employees. Many companies have rehired former employees when demand for their skills and experience presented itself. Such rehiring invitations, however, tend to be reserved for former employees who exited the company gracefully, professionally, and without alienating their bosses after receiving pink slips.
Listen as politely as you can to whatever information you’re being given about a severance package, outplacement counseling, and/or continuing benefits. Even if you forget something afterwards, you can always find out later by speaking with someone in the company’s human resources or benefits department. The key is to get through the exit interview with your professionalism intact.
But even if your former company doesn’t end up rehiring you on a consulting or full-time basis, your former boss may refer you for opportunities they hear about from colleagues in decision-making roles at other companies. Such referrals, of course, are far less likely if you attack your boss or company or tell them everything you could not stand about them after being told your job has just ended.
You can always unload in your car after leaving the office, or into a pillow or in the shower once you get home. You can rant and rave all you want at that point if it makes you feel better. Just don’t do it in front of your boss.
Do not leave the exit interview calmly only to make a scene as you walk back to your desk by badmouthing the company to the coworkers you may pass. Even if every ounce of your being wants to let loose before leaving the office, do not do it. You’ll be glad later that you didn’t.
And speaking of later, do not take the opportunity during the immediate post-layoff ragefit to jump on Twitter and trash your former company or boss. Just as job hunters are always advised not to badmouth former employers or managers during job interviews, the same admonition applies to using social media to trash your former employer publicly. Keep yourself under control and give yourself the best chance of quickly rejoining the ranks of the employed.