“Have you ever been fired from a job?” – That was one of the interview questions for foster parents licensing. The answer was yes, so I told the truth. Besides, I don’t see it as anything shameful or diminishing, unless you did something illegal or creepy like sexually harass someone, which I never did. I believe this experience makes me a better coach for people who are going through tough and emotional job transitions.
But then, the question was followed by a series of other questions that put me on the defensive. Describe how it happened? What were the reasons? Who was involved? I really didn’t want to go through the unpleasant experience again and was quite annoyed that stating the clear reason such as “unfulfilled expectations” or “it was just the wrong fit” wasn’t quite good enough.
There is a stigma to getting fired.
Somehow losing your job is still viewed as something to be ashamed of and not to be talked about. First, there is this awkward process of going through the proper channels, making sure everything is handled politically correctly. Then someone stands there and waits until you get all your belongings in a box to escort you out the door. The whole thing is kind of humiliating.
I use the analogy of getting fired to being dumped by someone you’ve had a horrible relationship with in the first place. It wouldn’t be over if it was a great relationship or if it was working. And many times, if it wasn’t working for them then it wasn’t working for you, either. So why does something that’s supposed to be a good thing, in the end, feel so terrible? Because the unspoken rule implies that it says something bad about you. Supposedly, if someone went to the extent of ending it with you, you must somehow be less than OK.
This couldn’t be any further from the truth. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you when someone else realizes the relationship isn’t working and it’s time to move on.
Are you really grieving the loss?
None of us really enjoys losing a job or getting fired. Typically, it’s not because we loved the job. People rarely get fired from their dream jobs that they poured their heart and soul into. My point is that you probably hated that job anyway. You were miserable there and you wanted a change. But you weren’t quite ready to do something about it, so instead, the change was forced upon you. You didn’t really lose anything, only your ego has suffered.
What can you learn from what happened?
First of all, please stop beating yourself up. You are not bad, flawed, lazy or stupid and there is nothing wrong with you. Don’t blame your past employer either, it’s not about them. There is another place for you where people will love and appreciate you for who you are.
Don’t stick around and tolerate it when things are not working. First, take the steps to change the situation, and if you can’t, leave it. We are all good at building a tolerance. Unfortunately, a high tolerance of negativity often leads to a messy end before we see the light at the end of the tunnel. Take some time to think about your values and what your ideal job looks like. Don’t rush or jump in or you may end up in another miserable situation.
You have a chance for a new and exciting career now, use it wisely.