I never thought that I would hear the words, “You’re fired”—though technically, I didn’t. Instead I heard, “We won’t be renewing your contract for the next year.”
And that was how at 22, nine weeks after my father had passed away and two days before Christmas, I was left unemployed.
I tried to focus on what my boss was saying, but of course, I just wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible before the tears rolled down my face.
I felt like a failure. I had always done well at school. I had excelled at my previous job. And yet, I apparently sucked so badly at my first professional job that I got fired.
But my career didn’t end there that day. In fact, since that day my career has only continued to improve, and I now know that getting fired was one of the best things that ever happened to me. And here’s why.
It made me honest about myself and situation.
I wasn’t the best employee, sure I turned up before 9 each morning and left way after 5, but I didn’t want to be there and that was obvious.
I hated every minute of work and was actively looking for alternative employment but never left. Why? Because I thought a slight gap in my employment history was worse than my own enjoyment and mental health.
In fact, when I told one of my friends what had happened she was happy for me. Her exact words were, “Great! Now you focus on finding something that will make you happy.”
The entire time I had worked at my old company I had hated it, I was just in such a denial about it because I didn’t want that resume gap.
It taught me what I really wanted in a job.
Looking back at what had happened, it was obvious that my previous employer wasn’t the right fit for me.
I was micromanaged by a man who didn’t understand my role which left me stressed and caused me to make more mistakes. And the difficult coworkers who never introduced themselves left me feeling alone and isolated without any help or guidance. I never even knew where the kettle was kept.
So in my job search I ended up being extra-picky. I didn’t just take the first job I was offered like before; I asked questions about the company’s culture and issues important to me. I waited for the right job to come along that fit me perfectly.
It got me out of one of the most toxic situations of my life.
While I had been trying to leave my former company for months, I never did due to the worry about having a resume gap.
The stress of work, traveling three hours a day, and never having time for my friends had left me a tense and angry person. And yet I never left.
While being told I was fired was awful, it got me instantly out of that situation. I could finally have a proper night’s sleep and enjoy Christmas with my friends and family without the worry of work looming over me.
Although getting fired isn’t the best situation, it definitely isn’t the end of the world (or your career). I managed to find a great new job that fit my needs perfectly while letting me grow and develop professionally and personally.
So, even if right now getting fired and being unemployed feels awful, you and the millions of others who get fired each year will get through it. It might even be the best thing to happen to you, to.