As you’re walking into an ATM vestibule, a person who recently fired you is walking out.
“Whether you’ve found a new job or not, you still need to interact graciously,” says Pachter. Feign excitement and offer an upbeat reply to the inevitable question, “So how’s it going?” Even if “it” is not going well.
“Mention a few of the possibilities that you’re exploring, and say that you’re ‘planning to make a decision soon,’ ” Pachter suggests. “It shows that you’re not wallowing in self-pity.” And if you’ve found a position that you love, let him know.
If you want to have a bit of fun with your ex-employer (who probably feels as awkward as you do), try the approach of Mary Matalin, a former adviser to President George W. Bush. “I actually enjoy running into people who have fired me,” she says, “particularly if I’m with another person and can jokingly tell them how the meanie got rid of me. It breaks the tension and leads to a good laugh.”