3 Lessons Learned After Losing a Job
What getting phased out of a workplace taught me
There’s a moment in everybody’s life when they completely lose sight of who they were, or rather, who they thought they were. At least that’s what happened to me.
I recently had my world crumble around me as new information was revealed to me: I’m a bad worker. Well, that’s what my manager thought.
The sad part is that I had no idea that I wasn’t meeting expectations. I was doing my job in a “soft” way in our relaxed environment, but still meeting what I thought the expectations were. However, I was wrong.
My life and identity have been briefly and temporarily shattered as I review and reflect on the past 10 months of my life. Where did I go wrong? What could I have done better. Looking back, I am aware that I could have been a better worker. But there was no indication that my performance was subpar.
The thing that hurts the most is having no idea that this was happening. I was completely oblivious to the fact that my boss thought I wasn’t adding value to the workplace. I was completely blindsided.
After our text exchange, naturally, I cried. A lot. I cried as I drove my car. I stopped crying. And then I cried again. (Stoplights were especially conducive for hysterics.) I was filled with so much shame that this misunderstanding of myself was being thrown around.
If I had known this is how he was feeling, then I would have changed it. Sadly though, I was clueless. This was news to me and I’m still processing this new information. I only wish he would have told me sooner that he had concerns with how I was doing my job. Instead, I got phased out of the schedule.
While I wasn’t curing cancer or doing anything award worthy, I still have integrity in my actions. If I’m not meeting expectations or am not doing a good job, I want to know so that I can ameliorate the situation and do better. Unfortunately, I didn’t get this opportunity.
So all I can do now is walk away with a few life lessons. I did feel weird energy at work and felt like something might be wrong, but I didn’t say anything.
Lesson #1: If I feel this tension, say something. Ask what I can do better before it comes to being phased out.
I also knew that I wasn’t urgent in what needed to be done. I let other people do things because I didn’t know exactly what my role was.
Lesson #2: Find clarity. Ask what the expectations are and how I can meet them or do better.
Not all of the blame rests on me. I can acknowledge that. My boss wasn’t clear with what he expected and there was no communication. And there’s a lesson to be learned from that.
Lesson #3: Keep an open line of communication. Check in periodically to make sure expectations are being met and see if expectations have changed since Lesson #2.
All relationships take work. Some people change. Expectations change, as they did at my work. I became aware that my boss changed his mind about allowing certain things and as he started to settle into his new position he restructured how he wanted to manage things and what he expected. I just wish I knew that sooner.
Right now, I’m going to allow myself to feel bad. It sucks that people think you’re a bad worker. I feel shame that I have been misunderstood and that I actually want to be a better worker but won’t get the chance. And going forward, I’m going to take my three lessons and try to be a better employee.