When Laura Petrolino messaged me to tell me one of my Spin Sucks articles had made the “top posts of 2017” list, I was gobsmacked.
Mainly because it’s a rather old post.
And also because I haven’t been around for a few years (insert sad face)!
But I was also secretly really pleased.
I was secretly pleased because, as I re-read the piece, I was reminded of how losing a job had inspired me to make a massive career change.
And how that massive career change had inspired me to see the world differently.
It inspired me to see myself differently and to place value on “doing what you love.”
It also made me reflect a bit about these past few years.
My life has taken a few huge turns!
After 28 years of Toronto living, I’ve moved across the country, back to the Maritime Provinces and my family.
And I’ve switched jobs a few different times.
But I’ve never forgotten those five core lessons I learned that first time the rug was rather abruptly—and unceremoniously—yanked out from under my feet.
I’m happy to say that, even after all these years, I still look back on that day as a game changer for me.
A negative which turned into a positive and taught me so much about who I was, and who I wanted to be—both as a person, and an employee.
Oh! Another little side note (because everything’s not all about you, Lindsay. Wait. What…?).
My friend, who got fired on a Monday and inspired this post?
She’s doing swimmingly and is very happily settled into a new life path also. Yay her!
So without further ado, a blast from the past…………….
Day of Reckoning
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 workforce, 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.
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 termination.
- 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.’
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
And to my newly fired friend, I wish you bon voyage! You just might be embarking on the trip of a lifetime.
What else would you add to this list? Please share in the comments below.
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