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Lindsay Bell

Five Reasons Getting Fired isn’t the End of the World

By: Lindsay Bell | March 20, 2013 | 
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Bell, Lindsay BetterToday’s guest post is by Lindsay Bell.

So, a good friend of mine got fired this week.

On a Monday.

What type of company fires people on a Monday??

Anyhow, we texted back and forth about it, and in one of those texts she mentioned she’d never been fired before.

In 40 years in the work force she had never received a pink slip.

Oh, she’d left gigs in the past, moved around and up the ladder.

But always on her clock, when it was time to explore bigger and better things.

You’re Fired!

Forty years and never been fired is a pretty impressive statement. I was at 20 years (and counting) before it happened to me the first time. Our conversation took me right back to that warm summer day a couple years back when I was fired the first time. Not ‘let go,’ but properly fired, like ‘no clue whatsoever it’s coming’ fired.

Interestingly enough, the last text my friend sent was about how strangely excited she was. And I agreed. Because while we all have “Man, I really wish I was doing X, Y, Zed instead of A, B, C” moments, most of us don’t have the flexibility to choose to take big leaps.

Whether due to the kids, mortgage, or other debts or commitments, actually choosing to leave a job in this economy is considered reckless at best, downright ridiculous at worst.

But as my pal mentioned, I too found being let go strangely gratifying. Freeing even.

Five Reasons Getting Fired isn’t the End of the World

Here are a few things I discovered in the days and weeks following my own – koff – termination.

  1. You are forced to take a hard, honest look at yourself: You are no longer employed for a reason. Company restructuring or company politics. End of a contract or end of a career. Your life has changed, and somehow, someway, somewhere, you played a role. Figure out the ‘why’ before thinking about the ‘what’s next.’
  2. You discover who your industry friends are: You should already know who your ‘real life’ friends are. I certainly know mine. But, especially if you work in the wonderful world of social media, it can sometimes feel like you have ‘thousands’ of friends. Trust me. You don’t. That said, whether in online life or real life, the ones who truly matter will step up. They’ll pass your name around or send freelance work your way, and help lead you one step closer to stability.
  3. You receive the gift of time: Yeah, yeah, I know, I know, bills to pay and all that other nonsense. But schedule yourself a few hours of worry free time a day – what you will gain is immeasurable. Read. Reconnect with people you haven’t chatted with in awhile (see above). Most importantly, clear your mind, allow it to wander, and start to really think.
  4. You get out of your comfort zone: Comfort zones are not necessarily bad places to be, if you’re content and happy. But most of us want to keep learning, doing, and achieving more. When you’re working at a stressful job week after week, at times the comfort zone becomes your default button. Between work, kids, house, and spouse it’s difficult to muster up the energy to tackle something new. Now, that comfort zone is gone. Go crazy!
  5. You get to be you again: If only for a short while, until that next gig comes along, you really get to be you. We all conform somewhat to the voice of the organization we are employed by, and depending on your role, you might have been conforming a lot! That’s normal, and is part of being a part of a team, and being loyal and respectful to your employer. But the freedom to shed that voice and let your personality really shine is as invigorating as a cold shower.

At first, being fired is definitely shocking, painful and extremely hard on the ol’ self esteem. And the above are simply my personal revelations, things I learned when I got canned. I know a lot of you out there have been (or still are!) in similar situations. What else would you add to this list?

And to my newly fired friend, I wish you bon voyage! You just might be embarking on the trip of a lifetime.

Lindsay Bell is the content director at Arment Dietrich, and works in Toronto. A former TV producer, she’s a strong advocate of three minutes or less of video content. She has a cool kid, a patient husband, two annoying cats, and just welcomed Hank, a Vizsla/Foxhound cross, into her home. 

About Lindsay Bell


Lindsay Bell is the content director at Arment Dietrich, and works in Toronto. A former TV producer, she’s a strong advocate of three minutes or less of video content. She has a cool kid, a patient husband, two annoying cats, and Hank Dawge, a Vizsla/Foxhound/moose hybrid. Ok, maybe not moose.

81 comments
dbvickery
dbvickery

I've never been fired orr laid off, but I like your 5 points. I know I've frequently wondered what my "next career" would be if I wasn't doing my current day job, but I'm enjoying the ride right now. I still idealize the possibility of being a high school teacher/coach, or simply coaching inner city kids for different sports, or writing a book, etc. But I sure like having the money to pay that mortgage each month...and pending college expenses for two daughters. I appreciate that I've spent the last couple of years making some great industry friends, and I especially agree with you - you find out who your true friends are when you are out of work!

erikajbush
erikajbush

This is a great article! My Mom got laid off about eight years ago in her 40's and finally decided to pursue her dream as an interior decorating consultant. Now, she is doing what she loves EVERY day. It's inspiring and this captures that feeling! Great article Lindsey!

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

Getting fired in my early 20's was one of the best things that ever happened to me; I realized I was a square peg in a round hole.   Getting laid off at 40 - not so grand.  But the strong ones rise smaller, right?  And there is a lot worse we can suffer through.

Karen_C_Wilson
Karen_C_Wilson

I got laid off a few years ago. I knew over a year before it happened that it was going to happen. I don't know why I knew, but I had a gut feeling based on some things that were happening in the company. It didn't stop me being pretty upset at first. I had been back from maternity leave for less than 5 months, so it was really scary timing. But I was also excited. The company was in a downward spiral that continued after I was let go. They've since recovered (which makes me glad for my friends who are still there). 

 

All I remember was feeling immense relief after that initial panic about what I was going to do. I knew I'd be fine and it truthfully was their loss. That lay off finally lit the fire I needed to do what I really wanted. I did all the things you describe here, without realizing until later how very good it was for me. Yay for getting fired!

maxnrgmike
maxnrgmike

@seanmcginnis One habit my father got me into, "No matter what you do son, remember you always work for yourself."

maxnrgmike
maxnrgmike

@seanmcginnis My remark 2 boss who threatened my job (real smart) "That's okay I was looking 4 a job when I took this one."

bdorman264
bdorman264

And the comeback is 'you can't fire me; I fire you'.....and walk out with your head held high...:). 

MagnetCons
MagnetCons

Lindsay, in my humble (but professional) opinion, you are SPOT ON with this advice! Are you sure you're not a people engagement consultant? :)  I would add under point 1- sometimes it's not restructuring or politics.  sometimes it's YOU (usually early career firings). and that pill can be hard to swallow, but I've seen people really self-examine and grow and have successful careers and then I've seen the smug/it can't be me go and fail again.  

Andrea T.H.W.
Andrea T.H.W.

Industry friends, when I left my last job they came out to be zero. I think it's quite common though. :)

 

Being fired these days is a big problem because there are no jobs around, in Italy but I guess all over the West. This forces people to be more creative in finding new or different ways to earn a living if the government doesn't block any effort making things too complicated, like here.

 

The one thing we must always keep engraved in our mind is that even if times are very hard there is always light out of the tunnel even if it seems there isn't. At the end when the going gets tough the tough get going right? :)

lizreusswig
lizreusswig

Love this post and all the comments!  I agree that whether you leave a "bad" situation on your own or not, there's often an exhilarating sense of relief!

 

BTW - Couldn't figure out the Zed thing until I saw @RebeccaTodd 's post... :)

allenmireles
allenmireles

I was fired once. It was done publicly and was absolutely humiliating. AND the very best thing that could have happened to me. I didn't see that at first but when I did, it was as if a lightbulb turned on. Now, in retrospect, I am grateful for having had the experience. 

KevinVandever
KevinVandever

Hasn't @ginidietrich fired you at least a dozen times? Nice post. Great to keep in mind should that Frid...I mean, Monday ever come. 

PattiRoseKnight1
PattiRoseKnight1

I have discovered that no matter how bad a situation looks; everything happens for a reason.  The next gig may be just what you've been looking for but didn't even know it.

KristenDaukas
KristenDaukas

I've been fired and I've been let go. Or maybe they just let me go because they didn't want to fire me. Who knows. The last time it happened is what propelled me to start my business. Which led me to meeting awesome people like Gini and my now partner, Adrienne. I am now able to do what I want for our clients as well as serve my family needs. It is the best life ever. Okay. I lie. The best life ever would be to win the lottery AND do what I do ;)

 

Being fired on a Monday would stink.. I was with one company who always did it on Tuesday. So much in fact, we called it Turley Tuesday (after the president) and the subsequent email the "Future Endeavors" email from him :)

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @erikajbush Great to hear that about your mom Erika - sometimes we just need that push - whether it's expected or not! ;) 

AmyMccTobin
AmyMccTobin

 @Karen_C_Wilson Wow Karen, I had an eerily similar experience, except that I was let go by a company destroyed by the people who bought it. I knew it too, because they were dismantling our culture, AND because our plant manager loved me and got drunk and told me at our annual sales conference 3 months before it happened.  I was still devastated. Big egos fall hard :)

BethMcShane
BethMcShane

@belllindsay I loved that blog post... Anytime perceived negatives are turned positive, I'm a fan :)

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @MagnetCons HA! I always thought I should have been a therapist of some sort - I love "people engagement consultant"!! I absolutely agree with you on point one - most of us have healthy egos and it's easy to blame outwards instead of inwards. You MUST accept that you did play a role, somehow, some way, and explore that aspect or you'll carry on making the same mistake (or worse - never growing!). :D 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @Andrea T.H.W. Is it horrible that I think you are already steps ahead of the rest of us since you're living the dolce vita...? Man, I love Italy. ;) All kidding aside, I agree, jobs are scarce - but in today's new wired world, opportunity is aplenty! Just requires some creative thinking, and *different* legwork than we've been used to. 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @allenmireles Oh wow - publicly and with much humiliation - that's HORRIBLE Allen! I'll have to  get that story one day! ;) 

belllindsay
belllindsay

 @KristenDaukas Oh man that made me laugh right out loud Kristen!! "Turley Tuesday" - hahaha! I love what Frank said below about it being a "reset button for the mind" - that gift of time - so true and frankly, an opportunity that so few of us have the opportunity to ever grab. So, instead it's forced upon you? It's still that SAME opportunity, right? I love that you started your business after a lay off - sort of like me and my 180 degree career turn. Finding the positives out of the negatives is a powerful way to take control back. :)

Karen_C_Wilson
Karen_C_Wilson

 @AmyMccTobin I feel like that should be a story line from a tv show or movie or something. So much drama! It's sad to me when things go that direction. There is nothing more stressful for the employees who rely on that company to do well for their livelihood.

belllindsay
belllindsay

@BethMcShane Had a bit of (koff) practice over the last 18 months. LOL If rough times don't teach you something there's something wrong. :)

MagnetCons
MagnetCons

 @belllindsay Exactly! And on "people engagement consultant"... it's because I despise being associated with the term "HR" so we don't use it here. :) 

aimeelwest
aimeelwest

 @belllindsay "the next gig..."  quote from @PattiRoseKnight1 makes me think of my PopPop he always said you have 3 jobs. Job 1 The job you left - Job 2 The job you are currently at and Job 3 The next job you will have. He felt that if you should always be looking for something better even if you were happy where you were at because you never know what you will find. I have taken that to heart and really tried to keep my eyes open for new opportunities because well you never know what is out there.

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