How to handle losing your job in Denmark: Your Guide to Bouncing Back

Being fired from a job is not a fun experience for the employee or the boss. No one want’s this to happen, but it did. So how can you turn a negative into a positive and handle this situation like a true winner? 


Handle your notice period


In Denmark, your notice will be at minimum one month and can go up to 6 months or longer depending on how long you worked the company or if you agreed on something else with your employer.

This is a good thing. Not only does it allow you to discuss your needs on how to leave the company, but it also means you have a ‘safety net’ in a salary period of X months.

Once fired, your (former) employer is very likely to bring up the possibilities of how you might leave the company. It is mostly up to you how you wish to proceed, and although it may be difficult, think about what the company needs as well to leave with grace. You never know when you might bump into the same people in the future. Denmark is a small country.


Option of direct leave


Very often, options like direct leave (with pay) are possible if you are let go because of too little work for example. It’s best never to take being fired personally. However, if it does feel, or was told to be personal, you may wish to avoid the office going forward. It is important regardless of your wishes, that you inform your employer instead of staying absent unspoken.


Option of a thorough handover


If you can understand the reason for being let go and feel at peace with the decision, odds are a handover is preferred. This could be if you had a joint conversation about the misfit within the company.

From the employer’s perspective, your knowledge will need to be retained within the organization either by training whoever will take over or by detailed documentation.

Because being fired changes your stance and commitment towards a company, it is recommended to agree on a seasonable timeline together and the exact required task you should take on to finish this early on. After all, you will find yourself caring less by the day, regardless of good intentions.


Option of balance

Let’s say you have a 3-month notice period, and your employer desires a handover whilst you have mentally checked out. It’s good manners, and respect towards the work you have put in so far, to agree to a 1-month handover.

In this example, you leave the company with a good impression, maintain your dignity and dedication towards your former work, and still receive a good 2 months’ pay whilst in search of the next job.

how to handle losing your job - How to handle losing your job in Denmark: Your Guide to Bouncing Back - Career Denmark 


2. Settle belongings


Once it becomes evident you are no longer part of the company (this often comes in feelings first), it’s beneficial for your mental health to close the chapter.

Before you do though, it’s important to return any company property and pick up any personal belongings from your (former) desk.

Consider if there is anything you would like to keep and inform HR (if you prefer not to communicate with your manager) about your options of taking over a laptop, for example.


3. Unemployment Insurance (A-kasse)


Assuming you are already part of an A-kasse, inform them at the earliest opportunity of your situation. This is the main purpose of the insurance and you will start receiving unemployment benefits (dagpenge) for the period you are in between jobs.

If you did not have an A-kasse before being fired, it would be a smart choice to get one once you have your next job. Getting one after being fired will not entitle you to dagpenge due to criteria such as having worked a specific number of days/months before unemployment.

 how to handle losing your job - How to handle losing your job in Denmark: Your Guide to Bouncing Back - Career Denmark

4. Engage with Your Union

If you’re part of a union, reach out to them. Sometimes your A-kasse and Union are the same organizations so it can be worth checking with them.

Unions can be useful to help you land your next job as they are oftentimes the first to know about events, assist in courses, help to update your resume and provide insights into salary ranges.


5. Update Your CV


Once you are both ready from a particle sense, and emotional level, you can start working on your resume. As listed above, a union can be of massive assistance here.

However, working on your resume by yourself is also a viable avenue, as long as you can articulate your last experience and decide how you wish to visualize your resume ‘gap’ due to being fired.

 6. Reflect and aim


Before you get out there and fully commit to a similar position or the next company, take some time if you can afford it to think about yourself.


Find out what drives you


You have been working X amount of years so far, and what have been the tasks that brought you energy and which have taken away from your enjoyment?

Understanding how you might feel about work, now that you can zoom out and reflect, can give you new insights into your ideal job. No one is saying you will land the ideal job, but by profiling it, you have created a northern star to aim for.

For example, you may realize the work you do is amazing, but the companies you have done it for have not fulfilled you enough and you lack the sense of true impact and greater purpose. On the other hand, you may find out that as long as the people in the team are fun and you get your social time in, you are happy.

Either way, this becomes your next criteria list for searching for a position where you will spend ⅓ of your workdays contributing.


Adjusting your professional life


This is of course too broad of a question to tackle by itself. But think about all the ways you might want to adjust the course of your professional life.

Maybe you want to make a switch from the public sector to the humanitarian, or vice versa. Perhaps you would like to pick up that master you never got around to? Maybe that SCRUM course is looking very enticing now to make a career adjustment.


7. Be aware of your (mental) health


Losing a job is stressful and requires a lot of coordination at once. Then, suddenly, there is nothing. This is a hard thing to make sense of. Take care of your physical and mental health.

Talk to people. It can be hard to find yourself in a different mental headspace than before whilst the world keeps on spinning and your friends are off to work whilst you are dealing with the sea of time you’ve been ‘gifted’.

Allow yourself some grace and set small goals and wishes to eventually get back out there. If you can afford it, take the proper time to recover from the blow whilst planning your ideal job to get renewed motivation.


8. Keep a Routine


Structuring your day can provide a sense of stability and help regain motivation and steps toward progression. Pick up a new hobby and/or consider volunteering in the meantime whilst you work on yourself and start applying to jobs again.

Remember, switching from one job to the next usually takes several months. Having been laid off is likely no different. However, those several months will feel very different being still employed vs unemployed. So find your way of giving back and feeling fulfilled through purposeful acts.


9. Determination is key

The job market will most likely be challenging, but maintaining a positive attitude is crucial. You should not expect to land a new job within a week or two.

However, this does not mean you shouldn’t hope for that cool position at Lego or the specific specialist vacancy at that new startup. Celebrate the small wins, like securing a first interview, and remember that each application brings you closer to your next opportunity, regardless of how many might end up in a standardized rejection letter.

Ask for help. Career Denmark specializes in providing personalized career consulting and job search strategies tailored to your unique skills and industry.

Career Denmark works with unions on creating job search events for internationals in Denmark. Follow Career Denmark on Facebook to keep informed on all upcoming events. 


Picture of Kate Dahl

Kate Dahl

Career Consultant for Internationals in Denmark. Founder of Career Denmark since 2018. Expat living in Denmark