How Getting Fired Taught Me To KonMari My Career

by Jody Allard

Getting fired didn’t feel like a blessing when it happened. I’m a single mother without a safety net: Losing work is the difference between feeding my family a dinner of steak and potatoes or beans and rice.

Oh, who am I kidding? The most we can hope for is a nice casserole. There’s no steak on this dinner table even at the best of times.

I knew my job wasn’t working long before they fired me. Every Sunday night, a pit of unease gnawed a hole inside my stomach at the thought of getting back to work on Monday morning. I told myself I should quit. Life’s too short to spend it doing something you hate, I often reminded myself. But, almost as quickly as the thought came, I remembered it’s also too short to have bare cupboards and a mailbox full of pink and yellow past due and utility shut off notices.

But, almost as quickly as the thought came, I remembered it’s also too short to have bare cupboards and a mailbox full of pink and yellow past due and utility shut off notices.

I’ve never been a fan of clutter. When I stumbled across the KonMari method of organizing, it was like coming home. The idea of ridding my life of excess baggage and weight, and surrounding myself only by what sparked joy resonated with me. I eagerly applied it to my closets and drawers, and even my life, but I hesitated to allow myself the luxury of finding a job that sparked joy. Others could, sure, but not me. I have bills to pay and mouths to feed, and I don’t have the luxury of loving my job. Or at least that’s the lie I told myself.

After I got the email that fired me, I submerged my fear and pain — and a niggling sense of betrayal — in lightly rose-scented bath water and waited for the storm to pass. I knew it would feel better someday, eventually, but not today. Today was reserved for feeling every last drop of misery. I was going to take to my bed in a deep Victorian depression and never come out, I declared.

Today was reserved for feeling every last drop of misery. I was going to take to my bed in a deep Victorian depression and never come out, I declared.

My anguish didn’t last forever. Long after the bath water turned cold, I emerged shaky and frightened, but with plans in place for finding a new job. I scoured my social media networks for opportunities, and I swallowed my pride and let my peers know that I needed a new job fast.

I scored an interview the next business day and I was hired on the spot — at double the pay rate. Maybe we will eat steak sometimes after all. Maybe now I will feel joy when I write again and spend my Sunday evenings at peace with the work I do.

It never dawned on me to look for another job to replace the one that left me feeling anxious before I got fired. I was so busy focusing on the tight-rope walk of the present that my options seemed binary — black and white, stay or go, with nothing in between.

I was so busy focusing on the tight-rope walk of the present that my options seemed binary — black and white, stay or go, with nothing in between.

I was right that I didn’t have the luxury of quitting without having another job lined up, but I should’ve hustled my way into something I loved long before I got fired from the one I didn’t.

Even I, a single mother with too many kids and too many bills, deserves to find a spark of joy in my work.