The Benefits of Being Fired

The first time I was fired, I deserved it. In fact, I don’t know if I have ever deserved anything more. In a sense, it was a blessing. Being fired was clearly preferable to the other option—being in jail. The second time couldn’t have been more different. It had come as a shock. And to this day I can’t decide what had astonished me more, the fact that I had been fired, seemingly without cause, or the fact that I had been notified of it via an email form letter

Now, at this point, I know that you are thinking. But before you click out of this article let me assure you that you that I am not crazy. And if you are honest with yourself, you have probably been in similar situations. As you well know, there are few events in life that are more humiliating than being fired. It is the ultimate form of rejection mixed with a sense of panic over one’s future career path and livelihood. It combines the heartbreak of a love gone wrong with the anxiety of now considering where your next meal comes from.

Walk Into the Storm

Furthermore, in my case(s) it seemed as though I was fired right when I needed the money the most. I’m terrible at saving. And both times, the firings occurred right before I was about to embark on a major life change. And in both cases, I thought I needed that job to fund it. On the surface, it seemed as though these events couldn’t have occurred at a worse time. But funnily enough, both gave me a push that I never knew I needed.

Oprah says, “failure is a sign that you should be doing something different.” Now, while that isn’t always true, it is almost always the case if you are getting fired. Why? Because if you have been terminated from your job, it means that either you weren’t performing your duties correctly, or you were working for individuals who didn’t value what you had to offer. Either way, being fired liberated you from a situation that clearly wasn’t healthy—or at the very least, it wasn’t helpful to you in the long run.

The reality is getting fired is never easy–but staying stagnant is worse.

Sometimes, either by circumstance or by necessity, we take positions that don’t really suit our unique set of skills. Perhaps money is running low and we are desperate for an income, or the job market is slow and we need to take what we can get. That was certainly the case for me in both situations. However, there comes a point when you have to let go of the safety rail. Where you have to put actual time and energy into building yourself up—not just maintaining the status quo. Staying stagnant will lead you into a prison of your own making; where you will cease to grow and evolve. Instead, you spend your days wasting away in drudgery watching life pass you by.

I know that this can be hard to hear. No one wants to hear platitudes when they are standing in line for unemployment. But the reality is that you probably ended up here because you tried to stay too long in the wrong place. It was time to move on and because you didn’t make the decision to leave, the universe did it for you.

Take Time To Make the Change

If you are still unsure consider this. A month after the first time I was fired, I boarded a plane for Madrid, free now to start life over again. The second time I was fired was a week before I was meant to take a solo trip to Italy. In Madrid, I became a teacher and in Italy, I sought out freelance work. While neither was easy, it was better for me in the long run. Why? Because In both cases I had no choice but to rely fully on myself and make use of skills that would have otherwise remained dormant.

The reality is getting fired is never easy–but staying stagnant is worse. So, take this time to learn about yourself. Brush up on some old skills or acquire some new ones. Take temporary or need-based work if you have to. Don’t let your pride get in the way. Everybody has to eat. But while you are in the midst of doing what you have to do, don’t forget about doing what you are supposed to do—setting long and short-term goals for yourself. Make this time the last time that you find yourself in this situation. And just remember, while you are working towards your goals, don’t get too comfortable or waste your skills on the unworthy. That’s what got you in the unemployment line the first place.