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Three Lessons I Learned From Getting Fired

Getting fired can be liberating. While the loss of security and fear can be crippling, it can also be the foundation to a new life of purpose and direction. I make no bones about the vast array of jobs I have acquired and lost due to mistakes, foolish decisions, and overall bad choices. With hindsight being 20/20, I can now say that each time I was fired, there was always a lesson to be learned. I would like to share some insight I gained from these sometimes devastating experiences.

1- Responsibility for my actions.

We live in a society where a lot of blame and finger pointing occurs when a person is “caught” or “found out.” I can recall being fired from a very good job wit a county government and I quickly began to play the blame game. When they brought me in for that final talk, I attempted to shine the spotlight on the fact that my supervisor was incompetent, a bully, and no one respected him. The chief quickly reminded me that I was the one being fired and these were the reasons. I had refused to conform to the organization’s policies and procedures. I believed that my way was better and despite many coaching sessions by management, never adapted. I fabricated the truth in a few scenarios instead of being honest about mistakes I had made. They had made the decision to fire me for not being honest, thus showing a lack of integrity. While I was devastated for a with the new loss of income, I had to finally recognize that it was me who created this outcome by my choices and no one else. At the end of the day, we go to bed with ourselves at night and while external circumstances may happen, we are ultimately responsible for how we act and react.

2-My worth and my work are different

Just because I had made mistakes and poor decisions, I am not my failures. I may have failed, but that doesn’t equate to who I am. I had to learn that my worth as a person isn’t equal to my circumstances. Otherwise, I allow myself to identify myself as those failures and the language I tell myself is more important than anything anyone could ever tell me. My internal dialogue runs 24/7 and allowing it to be negative, full of pity, and shame can and had almost destroyed me on a few occasions. I learned that by getting fired for poor performance or lack of humility manifesting itself by inflated ego has only taught me to remember that I am worth more than my choices.

3-I have a new beginning

Just because a door closes, doesn’t mean that the end is here. As long as I am alive and breathing, I have a chance to start again. I now look at it as I am not a failure, I just learn and implement lessons learned. If Edison quit each time the light bulb he was attempting to create didn’t work, we might not have electricity. If I hadn’t ultimately lost my paramedic license as a direct consequence of substance abuse, I might never have been able to share my experience with others. I might not be able to impact people with my story as a means of giving others the courage to address their struggles. Being fired gave me a chance to live a life of purpose that may have never happened otherwise. If I can look up while being down, I can certainly get up and climb the ladder again. Falling off the bike leads to the choice of staying down or getting up and moving forward.

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