This might sound like a controversial opinion, but I swear to you it’s true: Getting fired is a good thing! It’s not just a good thing that can happen to you—it’s the BEST thing that can happen to you.
You might be thinking, “Jessie, that sounds a little extreme. Getting fired is the best thing that can happen? Surely winning the lottery is better.” And you know how I would respond?
“DID I STUTTER?”
The reality is that getting fired, laid off, or being asked to resign is rarely within our control and it’s that lack of control rather than the exit itself that affects us more than anything else.
How it feels versus how it IS
Naturally, getting fired, laid off, or being asked to resign from a job can be an incredibly chaotic and unstable time, especially if you didn’t see it coming.
It can feel exactly like a relationship breakup because of the similar investment of time and energy we put into an employer. After all, we often spend the majority of our time at our jobs—more than with our families, friends, or significant others.
But just as the saying “Rejection is protection” applies to relationships that don’t pan out, so it does to jobs.
Let me ask you this: Was this your absolute dream job in every single way? Like, if pressed, you couldn’t find ONE THING that could improve?
Typically we aren’t fired or let go from places where everything is in alignment with our dreams, strengths, and desires. More often than not, we’ve been unhappy in the position or the organization in some way. You’re bored, you stopped growing, your pay isn’t what you deserve, you hate your boss, you don’t like the company culture, etc.
If that’s the case, then you truly are being protected by a higher power/unseen force. You are being gifted the opportunity to fix the aspects in that job that don’t fit. This rejection is protecting you from settling for the bullshit you’ve been tolerating. It’s an invitation to find an opportunity (or create one!) that cures those shortcomings.
But I loved this job & I was laid off
OK, sure, maybe you considered this your dream job or your calling, but riddle me this, Batman: When you think about your dream job, is it at a company or organization with financial issues?
My guess is that unless your calling is in rescuing failing businesses, no, you didn’t envision working somewhere that is actively downsizing you or your work friends.
That means the same reality applies. The universe/your higher power is protecting you from an unstable working environment by freeing you to go somewhere you will have (or create) stability.
Your job is not YOU
The knee-jerk reaction to being fired or asked to resign is to immediately take this on as a personal failure and internalize it as you not being good enough, a hard enough worker, or etc. And who would blame you for that? The success stories we hear only highlight firings and failures AFTER the person reached success. No one goes out to broadcast that they got fired right when it happens (except me, apparently).
This tendency toward shame can be worse if you work in a career that is often conflated with an identity. What do I mean by that? Well, careers where you are that thing, regardless of whether you have a job. So, for example, a person is a lawyer upon passing the bar and that’s that.
In those types of careers, being fired or asked to leave carries the potential to affect your self-worth because by thinking “I’m a shit lawyer,” there’s the tendency for that to mean, “I am a lawyer and I’m a shit one; therefore, I am shit.”
Shame is optional
Of course that’s not true, but taking it a step farther, why should you even feel bad? If you can see that this is an opportunity to fix the issues you had in this current position, then who cares how the change is coming about?
We tend to glorify people who take risks on themselves—as long as they’ve done it in a socially acceptable way. Saved your money until you have three to six months’ expenses saved up to quit? SO BRAVE. Networked your way to a new job? SO BRAVE. Started a business while working and only quit when it could replace your salary? SO BRAVE.
Get fired/laid off? Suddenly the crowds are a little quieter. You know what I think? That choosing to change your life after being fired—when it’s easy to let it become a reflection of your self worth—is braver than all the rest. You’re choosing to climb from the valley to the mountaintop. Be proud of that!
A note about other people
Maybe your parents, friends, or partner are making you feel insecure with questions or comments. Well, my friend, just because a package is delivered at your doorstep, doesn’t mean you need to accept it.
At the end of the day, you know that people are doing this shit because they love you. Yes, even toxic shit. But loving you doesn’t give them a free pass either.
Set your boundaries with your loved ones. If they’re saying or doing anything that is making you feel worse, tell them that! Although I wish it were possible, no one is a mind reader and we can’t walk around expecting people to anticipate our needs.
Instead, tell them what you need to feel supported. And if they won’t take that suggestion, then remember you can always hang up the phone or walk away. Do no harm, but don’t take any shit either.
Thanks for this, but I’m still clueless & scared
I get it. I can tell you what a gift being fired is until I’m blue in the face, but if you have looming bills, dependents, or even pets, it’s easy to feel anxiety right now.
But if that anxiety is nebulous in the sense that you can’t tell what’s up or down, much less what you should do next, consider some temporary guidance.
I love taking people through the process of finding their natural strengths, connecting it with their passions, and teaching them to maximize their earning potential. Everyone who reaches out gets a free call, so don’t be afraid to hit me up.