Wednesday, June 19, 2013

on getting fired

Don't worry, friends. I am still very happily employed planning events and very fortunate to have a job that I like. But a few years ago, that wasn't the case.

In the middle of the tutorials, shopping hauls, DIY projects, recipes, and other fun things the blog world has to offer, I have seen a few bloggers post about getting fired. They are in the midst of it and feel so ashamed, so guilty, and hopeless. And I was there once and it is a terrible feeling. But I wanted to write about it to take some of the stigma away - stigma that I still feel, four years later, when it comes up.


Keep in mind that there are two sides to every story and as this is my blog, you will get mine, told as fairly as I can tell it.

A few months after graduating from college, I got a job as a marketing coordinator for a group of three community-area magazines. I helped with distributing the magazine (which was tiring, tedious work that I didn't realize upon getting the job) and basically did what the marketing director told me to do. I attended a lot of networking luncheons and scoured the internet to find events to go to that would market the company better. The company hosted an event to celebrate its anniversary and I was tasked with contacting the magazine's advertisers to see if they would donate door prizes for the event. As much as that makes me uncomfortable (these people paid us for advertising and we were asking them for free stuff?), I did it because I was young and it was my job. (Yes, I know how sponsorships work, but I didn't feel that this magazine provided any value to its customers... but that is neither here nor there...) I did it well and we had plenty of door prizes.

I had been at the job for about six months and I think they started to realize that the marketing director was never going to trust anyone to go market alone - so they were paying for two people to go to each event. There just wasn't much I was able to do alone, so they asked if I would like to be the online editor, and I accepted. That job was even more tedious in that I had to copy/paste reader submissions and check the listings on the magazine's website to ensure that the businesses listed were still open (yawn...). Another event for the magazine came up and I was asked to seek donations again. The first event had been in August, and this was January. I was supposed to work with a colleague on this, but she said she "wasn't good at that stuff" so I had to do it all. I was unhappy with my work life, and very unhappy at the thought of doing this task again, so I went to the owner/publisher about it. She let me sit in her office and voice my concerns. She basically said that they had tried to work with me by offering me the online editing job, but now marketing needed help so I should step up. She said she understood where I was coming from and thanked me for coming in.

Andrew and I were newly engaged at the time. I remember calling him during my lunch break crying and asking if I could quit. We lived together, so it needed to be our decision. He told me to call my previous employer and if they would take me back, I should put in my two weeks' notice the next day.

I returned from lunch to HR waiting for me in my office. I no longer had a job, effective immediately. I knew it was because I stirred the pot - this was a work place where discussion wasn't always welcome. When I asked why I was being let go, I was told that my online editing position was being turned in to a contract job and was no longer a full-time position. If I wasn't willing to help out anywhere that was asked of me, then I guess I was no longer needed. I remember calling Andrew again on the way home. I wasn't crying this time; I think I was shocked. I was always the straight A student, never sent to the principal, never grounded as a kid type person. And now I was fired?? I thought only drunks, or people who were chronically late, or slackers were fired, and I was none of those. Whose life was this?


This taught me a huge lesson in judging others. Being fired has such an awful connotation. Someone must have really screwed up to get fired, I used to think. Who will ever hire them again? I remember being terrified of what I would say to a future employer. But it happens. Good people get fired by bad bosses (not biased at all =)). Jobs aren't always as described and sometimes people aren't good fits for the company. Life happens, and it often isn't fair, but no matter what, the person who was fired has value and can come back. Even if they were wrong. Even if they should have just kept their mouths shut. It's not the end of the world, friends! Do I wish I had quit on my own terms? Absolutely! But speaking my mind is something that comes naturally to me, for better or for worse, and clearly that environment wasn't a good one for me.

Perhaps I should read this?

I was fortunate to get a job in retail within two weeks, and it was a great schedule for planning my wedding. My boss at that job is one of my favorite people in the world, so I would say I am the winner in that situation. Plus, I know she will always give me a glowing reference should any other employers call.

So, friends who get fired (or whose husbands get fired, or whatever): it gets better! You're not the first one in that situation and you won't be the last. Explain the situation to a future employer as honestly and diplomatically as possible (not in blog post form, kay?). Take whatever unemployment you can get (the company I left tried to fight me for it so I took immense joy in receiving it). And if you have friends left in the company, ask them to be your references. You will get past it. Don't let this one incident define you. If I hadn't lost that job, I probably would have spent too much time being unhappy there and I wouldn't have gotten the customer service background in retail that secured my current job in a completely unrelated field.


And if all else fails, tell the blogging world about it. Your fellow bloggers will do an amazing job building you back up. Wish I had y'all then!

Can you relate? Have you even been fired? Were you judgey like me about the f-word?

5 comments:

  1. Sometimes at my current job I've been worried that when I'd voice that one of my coworkers was not doing their fair share... that they'd get rid of me instead for complaining. Sorry you had a bad experience, but I'm glad it worked out! I'm glad you shared your story, it makes it less scary. :)

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  2. Well said, and thanks for sharing your story! And oh my word, that SUCKS. How uncool of them. You're definitely better off without them.

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  3. I've been laid off, and even that is a blow to the ego.

    Great post! They suck, you win and they lose.

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  4. hoping that you're on to bigger and better things now anyway!!! ps. love the it's always sunny reference card.

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  5. Great post, totally relatable. Don't ever compromise yourself for a job, stay true to you and what you're about. - opinions and all! My husband was laid off in 2009, so I can relate from the family perspective. It has only led to better things for him!

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I like comments and read them all but I'm not great about responding to them, so please don't be offended. I would much rather visit your blog instead!