Losing My Job Was the Best Thing That Could Ever Have Happened

losing my job

I had a great job. Had great bosses. Enjoyed what I did and looked forward to going to work every day. Then one day, the company re-aligned and my office was disbanded. It wasn’t a new thing and it wasn’t personal. Companies do it all the time. It was simply a matter of necessity and geography.

At 10 a.m. I was called into the conference room and the HR guy had a stack of papers for me to sign. He said, “OK. You can go now.” I was stunned. I said, “I have things to clear up. There were personnel files in that office. Payroll records. All kinds of things to wrap up and make sure they aren’t just left unattended.” I said, “I am coming back tomorrow to clean everything up. I can’t leave my office this way.” He said, “I have never had anyone say that they wanted to come back before after being let go.” My former boss said that it spoke to my character. I said it was just the right thing to do.

The company did offer me a different position but I would have to move. That wasn’t really an option. A manager I knew offered me a lesser position because she knew me. I was at least happy to be employed. After spending 3 months at home, bored out of my mind, I took a job where I lost half my salary and demoted 2 levels. The job had no computer and was told that I couldn’t talk to or email groups of people that I worked with before because I was no longer at the same level. People that were formerly under me still called to ask how to do simple procedures even though that were making twice as much money as me and I was asked by the group that took over my office to come and set all their computers and phones up. I tried to tell myself it was about the team but no matter how you sliced it, it was degrading.­

It was a learning experience, right? These lessons will be invaluable to me and help me in some way down the road. What else could I tell myself? I cried a few times. Got mad. Tried to make sense of it. I read articles about being let go from your job. Each article likened it to the grieving process. It was really like that. I had to let go of everything that I knew and learn to move on. Learn to shrug off the reactions of people I saw that knew me in my former role. They would stutter and say they were sorry, be empathetic. Those were the kind ones. The rest just stopped talking to you. It was a lot to process. It made me tired.

In a very short time however, I started to notice business irregularities. Questionable HR practices and sketchy record keeping. Managers started telling me stories about things that turned my stomach such as wrongful terminations and blocked promotions for very law-suit worthy reasons. I guess I should take it as a compliment that they trusted me. Trusted me to ask for help. I think they just knew they were stuck. I knew that I was stuck. Friends told me that I was just too smart. I knew too much coming from a higher level about how things really worked. My conscience told me that it doesn’t matter what level you are at, right is right and wrong is wrong. I tried to help on the sly giving contact information to employees and managers who were also questioning situations. They were too scared to call. Who was I kidding, I was scared. Even a bad job is still a job?

I woke up one morning and made a decision. I decided that it wasn’t enough to just have a job. I needed something and people that I believed in. I needed to work in a place where things were done the right way for the right reasons. My experiences after being displaced had taken that from me. I didn’t want to be cynical and jaded.  I had started to be pessimistic about what the company would do and the abilities of my co-workers. I couldn’t imagine staying there and giving 100% to a company that didn’t care. I could feel my 100% slipping day by day to 95%…87%…..75%…  I was clock watching and looking for ways to not be at work. I was miserable.

A few years ago, I had written some articles and taught a few classes on resiliency and optimism in the work place. Those lessons started flooding back to me. I had to be the one that took charge of my career. The company didn’t owe me anything but I did owe myself something. When I was displaced, I thought that I would never find anything that I loved as much as my old job. I was depressed and a little lost. I needed to pull myself up and really look deeply at what I needed. What I needed from my job. I decided that I deserved to wake up and go to work in a place that I loved, get paid what I was worth and go to a place that made me excited. I deserved to work in a place that was ethical and did things for the right reasons. I made a plan and started applying for jobs that fit into my plan. Shortly afterwards, I had some interviews with various companies and eventually the right one stuck. I felt like a weight had been lifted. I was going to go to place every morning where my skills were valued and I could make a difference.

Losing my job actually turned out to be the best thing that could have ever happened to me. I would have never had the courage to apply for a job that would challenge me because I was comfortable. If I would have never seen things that I didn’t respect in the workplace, I would have never reached out to find a position that embodied what I wanted in a new job and a company. So in a way, getting displaced had pushed me to make changes. Changes for the better. Changes that I never knew I needed and I am very grateful. Maybe it wasn’t the worst thing that could have happened to me after all.

Photo by Lima Pix

12 thoughts on “Losing My Job Was the Best Thing That Could Ever Have Happened”

  1. It is interesting that you took the demotion. In my 30+ years in the corporate world I never saw a 2 level down demotion work for either the employee or the employer. If an employee did take the job it was only to get a pay cheque until they secured another job with another organization. It would also be challenging to explain the demotion to future employers.
    At the end of the day it was the best thing for you which is the most important thing but I am not sure I would recommend that same route for everyone. Thanks for the post.

  2. Melissa, thank you for the transparency you shared in this post.

    I also worked for a company that I loved. Some things shifted and the true character of the top players was revealed. I was devastated. It was a hard thing to leave, but like you, ultimately the best for my life.

    I applaud you for realizing what was necessary and needful for your life and happiness. Congratulations on turning the grief into a powerful lesson for many.

  3. This happened to me within the last week, but, unlike you, I didn’t love my job; quite the opposite~ I hated it, as well as the company I worked for. While the suddenness of the action left me reeling with some separation anxiety(mainly due to being locked into a repetitive routine), my intuitive mind is telling me that it is for the best and that a new door of opportunity is about to open. Now, I am having a sense of relief(it has been a week), and am enjoying being out of the toxic environment I was in. I put in a vacation request the morning I was released, and at least I got my vacation pay. Perhaps my subconscious mind sensed something my conscious mind didn’t. It helps to hear other’s experiences, so I thank you for sharing yours.

  4. Wow! This sounds like I could have written the exact same situation(s). I’m starting my new job next Monday and happy that I can once again be excited to get up and go to work. I knew I wasn’t the only one that had experienced these things. Thanks for this great article!

  5. Thanks so much for this. I got fired from a job that I thought I loved. It wasn’t until I left that I finally found something that I really loved, surrounded by people who loved me. Getting fired for me too was the best thing that ever happened. Well, maybe not the best thing, but it certainly helped my career. Best, BT

  6. As a career Benefits professional (on the employer side), I have increasingly become disillusioned with corporate environments. The norm is a not healthy, disorganized, how-the-hell-do-they-stay-in-business set up. I am on hiatus from my consulting work in benefits (here’s that ‘temporary’ thing, with no benefits, no stability, no room to make lasting improvements). There are many who are ‘reluctantly self-employed’ out there, just to keep up with their financial obligations. The term ‘human resources’ is almost oxymoronic; humans are PEOPLE, not ‘resources’ like computers, copy machines, desks, whose value is amortized for the ‘life of the product’, if you’re fortunate. We spend a very significant portion of our lives with our co-workers; we take pride in what we do, and obtain additional training and ‘letters’ after our names to prove our worth. And yet, the US in general (not all firms) treat their employees like disposable paper towels. Many moons ago, in graduate school, I learned that strategic planning was a 3-5 year timeline, and short term, was up to 18 mos. No longer. Every month (if lucky, each quarter) costs against shareholders return, are compared. Too many firms let people go if the first exceeds the second. Loyalty, corporate memory and skill negotiating an industry/culture, are no longer valued. Relationships are minimized, despite the mandate that employees cultivate strong relationships with clients and customers. I’m not without hope, but it’s a long ‘slog’ back up the hill to a balance of profit and corporate conscience (after all, corporations ARE people – SCOTUS told us that, right?). I’m happy that you have landed with a positive attitude and good outcome. I’m afraid there are many who haven’t or won’t. My ‘jury is out’; I’m examining what I can do with my skills/experience that will generate an income and will have positive impact. Maybe those are polar opposites – I think not. Best to you and thanks for sharing your very compelling story.

  7. I too have become jaded with the corporate world, I left with burnout 16 months ago. I want to work for myself and avoid toxic workplaces. There are so many incidence of poor management, and workplace bullying being reported that it is hard to find the confidence to trust another employer. I’m so glad that you have found a great job and have a positive view on what happened to you. It is great when people share positive stories too!

  8. Thanks for sharing your story. I can relate to what you shared. I lost my job after 15 years and it was the best thing that could have happened. I didn’t see it at the time however that event allowed me to elevate my creativity and pursue my purpose. I thank God for the faith to move forward and and make the vision a reality.

  9. I live in Dubai.I lost my job more than 4 months ago .I have been living on a credit card due to no income at all.I live in fear because I dont know where my next penny is coming from and I cant leave as i have to pay off the credit card .I have lost all my friends and even family .all have disappeared .
    I have sent my resume out ,called contacts ,but even with more than 15 year experience NOTHING.How do I stay positive ? How do I continue when each day is a struggle to survive .There is nothing to be positive about .Through this process even my son who is now 18 has deserted me I havent heard from him in ages
    I asked my family to help me but even my own parents who do have the money have turned their back on me
    I used to pray for a miracle but now I have given up hope .Its so hard to go on ,and even those few people who are still there are finding it hard to be around me
    Im sorry I dont feel positive ,Im stuck and no matter what I try I cant seem to find a way out :(
    Feeling lost

    1. Hi Nicole, I hope by now you have found a job that makes you more happy than the previous one. If you are still searching, and possibilities permit, perhaps is a good idea to not limit our searches only to a specific geographic area. The world is big and full of opportunities and you will find yours as well. Let me know your area of expertise an perhaps i could help in any way.

      Wish you best of luck!

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