When I Got Fired

In some aspects I am a typical millennial: eager to make an impact and open to change. This entails a fair amount of job-hopping. There was always a reason to leave, a new challenge to pursue. But only once it wasn’t my decision to quit. I wasn’t literally fired but I was let go, replaced, and at that time it left me feeling devastated.

Your contract will not be renewed. We will be hiring someone else.

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Image credit: Pixabay free stock

I was originally hired on a fixed term contract, as a replacement for someone who took a sabbatical year. This person decided not to come back and to my big surprise I wasn’t seen as a good fit for the position anymore. I was desperately trying to figure out what I did wrong and I was begging for feedback. Sure, I was aware of a few bumps on the road but I delivered on the goals, met all the deadlines and received positive feedback from my colleagues. Being kicked out for no apparent reason was tough to swallow. 

But here’s the real challenge. While I appreciate my employer informed me in advance, it left me with more than 2 months to carry on with my daily tasks and prepare a detailed handover. Emotionally, I wasn’t in a good place. I put so much of myself into this job and now it was time to just give my ‘baby’ away? To a complete stranger? Nope! I was struggling. Inside, every little piece of me was shouting “Go to hell!” for the first few days while I tried to stay professional on the outside.

Soon, I realized I had a choice. I got to choose my attitude. Would I become a resentful employee who just doesn’t bother anymore or would I swallow that bitterness and finish my job like a professional? Of course, I chose the latter, I chose BetterMe over BitterMe.

In my journal I kept track of my thoughts evolving:

  • I am worthless, I will never find another job
  • I feel angry, this was so unfair
  • I will show them they made a mistake in letting me go
  • I will do my best to prove them that they underestimated me
  • I am doing it for me because my career and integrity is in stake
  • I believe in my strengths, skills and capabilities
  • I don’t see it as a failure anymore, it’s a lesson learned
  • I feel grateful, it’s a good thing and it helps me grow

Along the way I watched a number of TED talks, listened to leadership podcasts, read stories of people dealing with job loss and spoke to my friends. All of this helped me to identify 3 steps that I think were crucial in my mindset change.

  1. Get some perspective
  2. Shift from them to me
  3. Embrace the “failure”

In the upcoming weeks I will dig deeper into these 3 steps and share the materials I found useful in my transformation. In the meantime I invite you to read these 3 stories on how others handled their job loss: by Kate KrukielAlex Korchinski and Sallie Krawcheck.

If you find yourself on the other side of the barrier and you need to let somebody go I highly recommend this podcast by Kevin Kruse.

2 thoughts on “When I Got Fired”

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