What I Learned From Getting Fired

I want to Own my Career
After I finished my MBA in early 2000 I got a job as a HR Consultant. I didn’t know much about what I was going to be doing. Luckily things went quite well and I heard from clients that I did a good job.

Yet when I had been there for almost 2 years I got fired.

At that time the economy was not doing so well. This was shortly after the bursting of the .com bubble. The company was losing revenues. So the company had to cut down cost. That resulted in me getting fired from my job.

I was not happy at the time, as you may understand, getting fired from my job was not fun. But now I value this experience because I used it to learn from, and grow in my career.

Tips on how to grow after being fired
First, I learned a lot about how not to fire people. This is how it happened in my case.

My boss called me to his office. I sat down in a sofa in his office. He sat in his office-chair against me. Just the two of us, none from HR. He started chatting about everything and nothing. When we had chatted for about 45 minutes, I started thinking that there must be something going on. This was very unusual, us chatting like this, since we were not close, at all. Finally I asked him “K are you going to fire me?”. He stuttered “Yes…., yes I am…”.

I went numb for few minutes but decided not to let this define me, or defeat me.

What took the most energy from me in this whole process was the fights I had with him after this, in my dreams. That went on for months after I left the company. If you are going to fire me — at least do it properly!

I ended up getting a much better job. I was able to turn this sad thing, of getting fired from my job, into a learning experience.

Unfortunately I have had to take part in laying people off on several occasions. I feel that this experience of mine helps me to do that as well as possible. I also feel I can relate to how people are feeling.

I can also well relate to what Steve Jobs said:

“I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.”

Now I work on Owning my career and not be too dependent on one employer or income stream.
 — I’m writing the script for my career instead of following somebody else´s script.
 — I’m working on my own dreams instead of getting paid to work on somebody else´s dream.

If you want to be an employee you probably want to know how to decrease the risk of getting fired.
 Here are few tips I think might be helpful:

  • If you are not getting training or feedback on your performance — ask for it
  • Take full responsibility for your performance and development in your career. Blaming others for how well or poorly you do will not get you anywhere
  • Perform so well that your bosses find you valuable, almost irreplaceable
  • Please note that your bosses are not only monitoring your performance on the job, but also your attitude. Attitude towards your assignments, co-workers, the company values, the company itself etc.
  • Don´t get too comfortable in a job — either find ways to keep growing in that job or leave
  • Be your own brand. Show what you got. Do what you can to be more in demand than supply. Point made for my economist-followers)
  • Ask yourself if you would hire yourself for your job, based on your own performance and attitude
  • Ask yourself, on a regular basis, how you like your job. Does it make your heart sing? Does it make you jump out of bed every morning (or most mornings) with excitement?

Don’t be too busy making a living that you forget to make a life for yourself.
 Have a job but don’t be your job. You can work as a head of a department — but you are not a head of a department.

If you get fired find someone to talk to about it. A friend, a coach, a psychologist or someone you trust. This is not the end of the world, but this can be painful, get help to make sure you get over this shock as soon as possible. Don’t get stuck in anger, blaming or disappointment.

Maybe getting fired is a chance to stop and reflect and find out what you really want to do. Do you need to define what Success means to you? Do you need to reset your focus and priorities?

Maybe you want to think this whole employment-thing all over again. There is no more security in having a job than running your own business.
 — Are there ways for you to create your own income?
 — Are there ways for you to have more income and more flexibility at the same time? Maybe by having several part-time jobs for different employers, at the same time? Or become a contract-worker?

Whatever you decide, please be the one that opens and closes doors in your life. It is just so much more fun and more rewarding.

My book; Rekindling your spark: Strategy for better Self-Leadership is now available to you on Amazon. It includes various tips, tools and exercises.


Originally published at herdispala.com on September 22, 2015.

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