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What I Learned From Being Fired

The day started just like any other day. I slowly dragged my tired body out of the bed, started complaining and began the process of getting ready for work. I had about 2 full hours of sleep due to the new born baby that was sharing a room with my wife and I in our one bedroom apartment. After drinking a full pot of coffee, which burned all taste buds from my tongue, I fired up my piece of crap car and began the journey to work.

I can remember it like yesterday. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining so brightly that even the rusted spots on my automobile had a marvelous glow as the rays kissed the surface. The temperature was immaculate and I was in the perfect place mentally. I was a proud papa and the sole provider for my family. If there was a spot on the top of the world I was there smiling from ear to ear.

Work on the other hand was absolute chaos. I was working in retail and it was January, return season, and I was a team lead in charge of guest services. I don’t think I talked to one happy person that day. Everyone had a bad attitude and clearly I had just desecrated the grave of their deceased grandmother I assume because of the language people chose to use at me. Who knew that returning a pair of socks could be so stressful? I mean I had been called an a#@hole so many times that I was convinced that I must be one.

I had reached my boiling point. So, what do you think I did?

I kept working. What? Well there were bills that needed to be paid.

Later on during the middle of my shift my manager called me into his office for a quick discussion. We discussed my performance. We discussed my career. We discussed my personality. We discussed my termination. You see I was placed into a team lead position for a role I did not want in a location that I did not request. I was under-performing due to a lack of experience. I was great at providing service but terrible at managing people and their volatile personalities.

I was given the pink slip, my walking papers, laid off, temporarily let go permanently or whatever the euphemism you choose to use for being fired. My world literally crumbled before me. Can you imagine how it felt to go home and tell my wife that I was fired as she was holding my new born son in her arms? I didn’t know how the rent was going to be paid, what we were going to eat, or how the lights would stay on. I didn’t even have any savings. My emergency fund consisted of a piece of paper warning me not to have an emergency.

It felt like life as I knew it was over. Fade to black.

Luckily the story didn’t end there. Opportunities arrived in my life that I never would have taken a moment to recognize had I not been let go. I started to read more. I started to study more. I started to watch a lot more Spongebob. Through the toughest moments in my life, when I wasn’t balled up in the fetal position, I was being prepared for my next level. I didn’t recognize it then but I am so grateful for it now.


When I was fired I thought it was officially the end of my life. I knew that everything from that moment on would only put me in a worse condition than I was already in. My outlook on life was as bright as a butterfly drawn with a black crayon on black construction paper. I didn’t have a degree to fall back on. All I would fall back on was the concrete floor underneath me after my furniture was repossessed.

Even though I didn’t think it was possible, life moved on. My ending was the opportunity for a new beginning and so far I am loving the way this new story is unfolding. Since my firing I have found new employment doing a job that I am under qualified for on paper. Yet, I am outperforming 80% of my peers and considered a leader within my team. I sure as heck never would have saw this coming.

In life we are going to have circumstances that don’t go our way. The good news is that we have a choice. We can let the story end and complain our way to our timely passing or we can let our ending become a new beginning. I learned a lot from my experience. I challenge anyone who is dealing with similar circumstances to do the same.

Now, what did I learn from my experience?

Nothing is impossible.

The library offers free books. (read them)

Experience is everything.

Life is what you make it.

Ramen noodles although cheap are not good for you.

Spongebob is not a good reference for conversations with adults.

It’s not over as long as you are still alive.

Now it’s your turn to share your story. Have you ever been let go from a job? What did you learn from your experience?

Frank Jennings is the founder of A Spark Starts where he writes short stories of inspiration to help you reach your maximum potential. He writes with purpose. He writes with passion. He writes for you.

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