I recently read an article about notable women who succeeded after being told no. In the article, Anne Wintour, the infamous editor-in-chief of American Vogue states that she was fired by Harper’s Bazaar earlier in her career. She says “I worked for American Harper’s Bazaar. … They fired me. I recommend that you all get fired. It’s a great learning experience.”
I couldn’t agree with Anna more.
I too have been fired, laid off, whatever you want to call it; it’s really the same result. In 2013, I was in a very different place in my life. I had been working for the same employer for 5 1/2 years and my job had become stagnate. I hadn’t experienced any growth for at least 3 years and I didn’t particularly love the person I reported to, it was just a mess.
I didn’t see a way out. For one, I made great money and living by myself and having a load of debt, mortgage and more, I couldn’t fathom just leaving. Then one day, to my surprise, that decision was made for me.
Two years later, I can tell you that being fired was the best thing that happened to my professional career.
Here a few things I learned after being fired:
1. It’s not the end of the world
Being fired happens to the best of us. If you’ve been fired, it just wasn’t the right fit. The world didn’t stop and I continued breathing and kept it moving.
2. Your Network after losing your job is your greatest asset
I can’t stress enough the importance of networking. In my situation, I sent out an email to all my friends, business partners within days of losing my job so that people knew I was available for work. A few days later, a partner that I had dealt with in my old job contacted me. They saw the value in my knowledge and asked me to do some consulting work for them right away. That led to a year of steady work with an incredible client. That opportunity was made possible for me because I had existing relationships with key members of the management team and they valued my work and work ethics. Not only did that help me financially, it helped me rebuild my confidence because whether it’s your fault or not, getting fired from a job takes a toll on your confidence.
3. Turn your side gig into a career
I had been a contributor and done partnerships for Coco & Cowe for 3 years when I got fired from my full-time job. I had so much passion for the blog, I believed in it and Catriona from day 1 and saw the potential it had to become even bigger. My work at Coco & Cowe always felt good, I felt valued, respected, that my opinion and skills were useful and that was everything to me.
A year after getting fired, after many chats throughout the years, Catriona and I took a leap of faith and I joined her full-time.
Like me, there’s probably something or many things you’re extremely passionate about and that you’ve been doing for years. It may be time to explore this passion and turn it into a full-time career. You have to take chances in life, some pay off, some don’t but at least, you’ve tried.
I’m someone who lives with a lot of fear, not sure where that comes from but it’s there. So when I lost my job, I was so worried, so stressed out because I didn’t know what was coming next. I’ll always remember what Catriona said to me, she said “Winy, have courage, you’ll be fine, it will work itself out.” So, even if you don’t see it yet, have faith in the process and believe that it will work itself out.
5. See it as a Learning Experience
I learned a great deal about myself by getting fired but the one lesson that resonates the most is that there’s one life to live and if you don’t do what you’re truly passionate about, you’ll never grow.
Have you ever been fired or laid-off? What did you learn from that experience?