Getting fired is almost universally seen as something terrible, a shameful and upsetting event that sets your life off course. But does that always ring true? What if your job isn’t serving your soul or helping you meet your career goals? Being “let go” can actually be a blessing in disguise, even if it means dealing with revising your resume and that annoying unemployment paperwork. Sure, give yourself permission to feel bad for a bit, but then pick yourself up and force a look at the possibilities that lie ahead.
Here, six women share their stories of getting fired and how the experience ultimately brought them to a better and how the experience ultimately brought them to a better place.
1. “I was fired from a job I hated when I was 23—basically because my lack of caring was palpable. Finally being free of it led to me to seek freelance copyediting work, and that led to me to be hired full-time at a big magazine. I stayed there for six years, moving up as much as I could. I got my foot in the door in an industry I didn’t think I’d ever have access to.” —Alicia, Former Assistant, Current Freelance Writer
2. “I was fired from a job and it was a huge blessing. I was essentially being gaslit by my boss, who had decided he didn’t want me around anymore (for reasons I’m not 100 percent sure of but I suspect were financial, since I was pushing for raises and increased responsibility in the company), until he finally got up the nerve to fire me for real. My days at work had become so nightmarish that my sleep pattern was totally disrupted and it took me about three months to not wake up freaking out about work (even when I wasn’t there anymore!). It was really stressful finding a job on short notice, but it led me to take the time to actually hunt for a job I’m really interested in and excited to go to every day. It really made me appreciate the fact that I should take the time to find a job that’s a good fit culturally and to make sure I get paid what I know I’m worth instead of whatever someone is offering.”—Liz, Former Administrative Assistant, Current Interactive Producer
“I got my foot in the door in an industry I didn’t think I’d ever have access to.”
3. “My last job was one that I was initially super excited about and before I started, I thought it was my dream job. But about a week in, I knew it wasn’t right for me. It’s really hard to admit to yourself that you have to reevaluate your definition of “dream job.” I kept at it for a few months, but wasn’t putting in my all. I was a really shitty worker actually. I said I would do stuff when I got home but didn’t. I called in sick last minute just because I woke up late that day. I spent a lot of time on Facebook. Missed staff events. They fired me after three months (shocker) and I was miserable. But I think if they hadn’t, I would have continued being a shitty worker for as long as possible and I wouldn’t have ever lived up to my full potential. So now I’ve just started a job I like and I’m doing all the things I’m supposed to be doing. I’m staying late to finish work, showing up on time, being honest. Because that’s actually the type of person I am.”—Selah, Former Website Writer, Currently Employed at an Engineering Firm
“It’s really hard to admit to yourself that you have to reevaluate your definition of ‘dream job.’”
4. “When I got laid off from my nonprofit job, I felt like a happy little bird who got shot down out of the sky. At my lower rung on the ladder, I was completely oblivious to any financial strain on the organization—so when the news broke, it pretty much broke me. It didn’t help that this was my dream job: the perfect mix of all of my passions and pretty much the only job that existed (I thought at the time) in which I could actually make use of my two disparate degrees. I was devastated, but determined. Days after I was given notice, I decided to start my own business. It took about six months before I was able to get off of unemployment, and a bit longer than that before I was able to move out of my parents’ house. But now, almost five years later, I am convinced it is one of the most important things that ever happened to me. I can’t imagine my life any other way now—and I never would’ve imagined it this way before losing my job. Don’t misunderstand me, it’s taken almost all of those five years for me to get to this place—for a long time I was able to recognize my current happiness but still couldn’t shake the bitterness and heartbreak of that loss—but now, I know that job was always just a temporary step to take me here. Getting laid off was the best thing that happened to me.”—Elizabeth, Former Nonprofit Professional, Current PR Agency Owner
5. “I worked as an administrative assistant at an accounting firm in my early twenties. I liked my supervisors and coworkers, but felt beaten down by the hours (and by the fact that accounting is not my field at all). I was fired right after New Years, and spent pretty much the whole afternoon crying, I was so ashamed and upset. But losing that job meant that I suddenly had the free time and the motivation to return to college after a 6 year break. I got my associates, then went on to get my Bachelors of Science, and managed a 4.0 GPA in my last semester. If I hadn’t gotten fired, I would have continued to be miserable and let myself stagnate. As it was, I got my degree, got a job that suits me, and I am a much happier person for it.”—Susanna, Former Administrative Assistant, Current Production and Social Media Manager
“If I hadn’t gotten fired, I would have continued to be miserable and let myself stagnate.”
6. “I was working a part time nanny job in addition to my full time job, and while on a weekend trip with the family, I got really sick. Sick to the point that I had to leave, and had to have someone come drive me home. I was mortified and disappointed that I couldn’t do my job. After a week away, they fired me over the phone. It was the first time I had been fired and I was heartbroken. Now I know it was the universe’s way of taking that responsibility off my plate so that I could focus on taking care of myself. I was doing too much and not considering my physical or mental health. That experience taught me to listen to my body’s cues.”—Andrea, Former Nanny, Current Maker and Blogger
Tags: REAL WOMEN