Photo: Viktor Hanacek

What To Learn When You Get Fired For No Damn Reason

Kayla Beckmann
Mar 14, 2016 · 3 min read

I got fired.

And because I’m a damn professional, I want to learn from it. I want a lesson. An equation that that is formulated of: If next time I do X + Y x Z then it’ll work out. But business isn’t math, and sometimes your equations are correct and your work is shown, and you still get fired.

I own a startup TV production and social media marketing agency that is fresh in its second year of business. Our first year was successful beyond expectation. We’ve worked with local, regional and national clients and even won a few awards. We’ve kept things small and efficient. We’ve chose clients and projects that we’re passionate about and we’ve done damn good work. Work that speaks for itself and has the metrics to back it up.

The situation involves a social media client that has been on retainer for almost a year. They had 54 Instagram followers when I was hired. I grew the Instagram account by 1,983% and the interaction by 176%. I created Facebook ad campaigns that were viewed by 10–15k people a day in the target areas. We measured success from promo codes and click throughs. Corporate raved the quality of the content. I went above and beyond the contractual obligations and was pleasant, agreeable and accommodating even when I disagreed with the client’s suggestions. I did this all at a third of the going rate at similar agencies. If there was dissatisfaction it was never communicated, despite my emails ending in “any feedback welcome and appreciated!”.

I just got an email one day — “can you meet this week?”.

The client suggested we meet at Panera. What is it about Panera that just has “you’re screwed” written all over it. Also, very risky on the client-side. It also sounds like a hot Panini to the face if things go wrong. But that’s not what it resulted in, because like I said, I’m a damn professional.

What it did result in is the client telling me that for financial and political reasons they’ll be moving social media in house. They loved the work, recognize how successful it has been, and it was just the situation they are in.


Henry Ford and a throw pillow somewhere once said, “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.” Fair enough. What can I learn? I did what I always do when I want to learn something — ask Google. There is no shortage of advice on the topic.

Yes, I read them all.

Some of the most popular lessons included:

• Not thriving in an environment (inapplicable)

• Not taking your job for granted (got it)

• Brainstorming ways you can perform better next time (inapplicable, see results above)

• Clarifying expectations (contract expectation met and exceeded)

None of these suggestions seemed to apply to my situation. And no, not because I’m a millennial that thinks I do no wrong and everything should be handed to me — but because the work was good. Plain and simple.

What I learned is that sometimes there is nothing to learn. Sometimes it’s not you, it’s them. Sometimes Henry Ford and throw pillows are wrong. And sometimes you just use it an an opportunity for a Medium article, pour one out to all the followers they won’t get now, and move on.

Kayla Beckmann

CEO, Small Fox Media // // @smallfoxmedia @kaylabeckmann

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