10 Lessons Learned from Getting Fired

I was commenting to a current coworker on how I ended up in my current position and it really was a result of being let go from my former job.   You can be let go, released, terminated, down sized, right sized, laid off but in the end I was fired.  Sadly for me it was a complete shock with little time to prepare.  On the bright side I never wallowed in misery in my job or thought ill of my boss or company.  One day I was just done.

Trump's You're Fired

It is much easier to find the positives and enjoy where I’m at given this experience is 5 years hindsight.  I realized that the days of gold watches and 25 year retirement parties are long gone with my parent’s generation.  Everyone is bound to be dropped on their bottom once or so in their lifetime.   If you don’t think so read on so in case you’re wrong you too may find the bright side to a seemingly uncontrollable situation.

1.  It’s business and rarely if ever personal – I wasn’t the right person for the job.  They could have coached, they could have trained but in the end the start up I was working at needed the right person in place quickly and me out of the way to make that happen.   Maybe I could have taken it personally but I wasn’t feeling it.

2.  Don’t be where you are not wanted – My mind was filled with the fact I wanted out when they let me go.  I didn’t want to be where I wasn’t wanted.

3.  Sometimes you can’t learn it, you just have to be it – I reflect and I had the skills needed for the job but I didn’t have the experience and instinct needed for a start up.  I worked a big corporate job the 9 years prior to this job and I was in a state of corporate detox according to my boss.  I wasn’t what they needed as a total package.

4.  It can be as hard to be fired as it is to be the one firing – I felt that it was hard for my boss and the HR lady who had been working with us for 3 days to let me go.  I got the information that I needed about severance and was grateful and left peacefully.

5.  Never, ever burn your bridges on the way out – My former boss was the biggest advocate and reference to my new employer.  I don’t really understand it but I accredit it to the fact I kept all roads open on my way out.

6.  I have talent and worth even it that company didn’t want / need it – I didn’t lose confidence in myself and that made it much easier to interview and find a new position.  My focus became on finding a good match for my talents and not proving my abilities.

7.  Connections and contacts are priceless – Having followed lesson #5 when I left my previous company along with a strong LinkedIn network I had resources when I was without a job.  References were plenty as well as support, without them I would have not been as well off to pursue new opportunities.

8.  Sometimes you don’t get to say goodbye – when I left I didn’t have the opportunity to say goodbye to my coworkers.  This left one of the greatest gaps in the experience of being fired.  I rationalize that in life we don’t always get to say goodbye.  I’ve learned to leave every day in a complete way in my interactions; you just never know.

9.  Good teams have to get those who don’t fit out – a winning NFL team will cut and trade players who don’t perform or gel with a team.  The NFL is big business and they realize the value of having high performers and functioning as a team.   I’d like to think that in being fired I could become a free agent and move onto a team that valued me.

10.  Sometimes others see what is best for me better than I do – I realize now that I’ve had to release more than few employees that it can be difficult to self filter oneself.  It’s difficult to be objective about the reality for others.  When one door closes another will open.

My comments to my coworker seemed to resonate.  It turned out to be a positive reflection on how a less than desirable experience turned into the path to the job of my career.

Be strong if a career decision is made for you.  It may turn out to be a blessing in disguise.  Too many wallow in a job they don’t really enjoy.