You just got fired. Laid off, let go, dismissed, discharged, given a pink slip, booted, sacked, axed, the old heave ho… Feeling better yet?
It’s possible that there was a lack of work or you were merely a seasonal employee, or maybe you just weren’t working in your zone of genius. Whatever the reason, keep things in perspective to transform what appears to be a tragedy into the best thing that ever happened in your career.
As you walk down the hallway with a box containing your toilet shaped coffee mug and half-dead spider plant, hold your head high. Let the haters gossip because your boss actually did you a favor. You are on your way to find something better.
I’ll never forget a job that “let me go” in my youth. I won’t name names, but it was a corporate video rental chain that should have paid more attention to the popularity of Netflix when they had the chance.
I was in middle management, required to wear a tie and a long-sleeved, collared shirt to work every day. At a video store. Really?
I worked insane hours for a boss with an unhealthy relationship to his own ego. The majority of time it was comparable to babysitting — supervising a handful of whiny teenagers every Friday and Saturday night when they wanted to be anywhere BUT there, after I had already worked most of the week.
There were TV screens everywhere blasting commercials and movie trailers, customers screaming about their late charges, phones ringing, people fighting over the last film on the shelf, all while I was trying to manage the store, schedule employees who also did not want to be there, and other tasks too boring to mention.
My boss and I didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye. I was never acknowledged for my contributions, never asked for my feedback, and was eventually fired on a technicality. Even though I hated my job with a burning passion, I still felt like a loser (for about five minutes) after getting fired.
But who gets fired and goes on to be truly successful? Well, how about Steve Jobs?
Yes, one of the most revolutionary inventors and innovative entrepreneurs of our time was actually fired from Apple in 1985 after a battle with the board of directors. But in 1998, he returned to the struggling corporation and brought it back to profitability. After all, the iPhone and iPad are two of the most successful, best-selling products of all time. Not bad for a guy that got booted from the company he founded thirteen years prior.
Another example is three-time mayor of New York and successful business magnate, Michael Bloomberg. He was fired from Salomon Brothers in 1981 when they were taken over by a competitor. He used his severance package to start his own venture, Innovative Marketing Systems (later renamed Bloomberg LP) and that company is still thriving today. Salomon Brothers was bought out several times since, but Bloomberg went on to be a beloved political figure.
With that inspiration in mind, I moved on to a much better paying job with a more pleasant schedule working “banker’s hours”. Most importantly, I was supported in my work and placed in a role in-line with my skills, gifts, and desires.
When it comes to being fired, Bloomberg once said, “I’ve always thought tomorrow was going to be the best day of my life. Even the day I knew I was going to get fired, I had never been fired before and wanted to see what it was like.”
Being “put out” isn’t the same as being put down, there is no failure in the ending of employment. It is not about the fall, but rather how you rise and pull yourself back up. Here are three tips to remember when you’ve been shown the door by an employer:
– Keep things in perspective. It’s not the end of the world, the end of your career or even the end of your life – it was just a job.
– Don’t retaliate. When people are let go, they often get nervous about finances or have difficulty dealing with the emotional impact. Unless you had been discriminated against or been mistreated or abused, let it go. Move forward to the next big thing with dignity.
– Think about what you really want. This is an opportunity to go deep within and consider how you want to contribute your gifts and experience the greatest satisfaction. Consider speaking with a career coach or receiving training in a new discipline. While those options can be expensive, they can also put you on the correct path.
Don’t let an employment separation define who you are. There are always bigger and better things awaiting you if you remain receptive and optimistic. Keep working towards your success!
Image Credit: Shutterstock
Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years, and has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. Follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.
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