Why Being Fired Was the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me

being fired

For some reason, my bachelor’s degree in creative writing and my master’s degree in literature landed me a position as a middle manager in a local bank’s organization. It was a job where I rarely got to put my literary skills on display, but it was also a job that sufficiently paid the bills — and funded a growing savings account. I decided, for quite some time, that this was a fact which made me happy. I could overlook paying for student loans that funded an education which I used in virtually no aspect of my job, just so long as I could furnish my particular lifestyle.

It all came crashing down roughly around the same time that the economy also came crashing down. Banks weren’t exactly high on the list of resilient companies during the most recent economic downturn and I, as one of the newer employees at this particular financial institution, was one of the first people on the chopping block. Armed with two weeks to finish my job, as well as a semi-generous severance package, I walked back to my desk after receiving my so-called “pink slip” and prepared for the worst.

But, after much thought, I realized that this actually wasn’t the worst case scenario. Indeed, after a life dictated by a controlling boss, an intricate employee assessment, and mundane tasks that had no relation to what I found most enjoyable, I was free. I now had, in my power, the ability to pursue any job I wanted — and my present employer would pay for my soul searching.

Reinventing Myself as the Boss

At the bank where I found unfulfilling financial success, my daily tasks were subject to oversight by a man that can only be described as the worst person in the world. His temper would flare up at a moment’s notice, and the likely recipients of this tyrannical reign of terror were the mid-level managers who resided within his purview. So it was that, on a bad day, anything we had done — from basic financial planning to refilling the coffee maker — wasn’t good enough. It would have to be redone. And could we stay a few extra hours late to fix it? If not, there’s the door — and don’t bother coming back.

It was enough to make even the toughest of employees require extra deodorant throughout the day, as their lives were often put on hold at the whim of a fiery, demanding supervisor who had no respect for the company’s entry-level management and trainees. It was almost as if he believed it were a rite of passage for myself and my colleagues to suffer his insufferable anger — to take the heat for his bad day, for his own missteps, for his need to prove points that often were irrelevant to the bank’s operations.

After a few years of this torment, I decided that my life would change in a big way: I would be my own boss. The way I planned to return to fiscal health and full-time employment was by starting my own business that combined everything I was good at: the art of the English language, a talent for great design, knowledge of good salesmanship, and smart financial planning.

My venture was a combination of search engine optimization writing — finally, a use for my skills! — combined with business coaching, marketing planning, and graphic branding. I set out to promote myself through freelancer websites and soon developed a list of clients that was paying my bills — and providing a healthy “vacation fund” on the side. I set my own work hours, took breaks when I felt like it, and was subject to now overbearing, breathing-down-the-neck supervisor that might take his bad day out on my good work.

The Best Thing Ever

Getting fired was awful — at first. One’s natural instinct is to assume that they will never again have a job, that they will meet financial demise, and that they will be viewed by society as unmotivated and unqualified. But it was actually the best thing that has ever happened to me. Having the rug pulled out from under me taught me how to stand on my own two feet by recognizing, developing, and marketing my own skills.

Free from the corporate ladder set out by an employee assessment, I was now assessing my own chances of success at business and management, and I was beginning to understand that getting fired not only improved the quality of my life, it elevated my goals, ambitions, and even my salary.

To my former employer, I can only be thankful: I now work with a smile on my face. What a novelty!

Photo by fazen

18 thoughts on “Why Being Fired Was the Best Thing that Ever Happened to Me”

  1. I’m going through that situation for the 3rd time. It’s great you found a new direction and a better life, hope I do the same.

  2. I had a different situation last September. I was fired and though I was pretty disappointed at the time, I found my passion in writing and creating digital content. So, I can agree with you that being fired was the best thing for me as well.

    1. Exactly. When someone fires you, make sure you don’t just keep repenting and searching for the same type of job. Go discover your passion. Anne, this is in fact the key. Love the insight!

  3. Awesome article Dennis! It’s motivating to see and know that success is possible by putting yourself out there and allowing yourself to unleash your potential

  4. A similar situation happened to me. I felt the exact same way you described and in my haste I took the first Job that came along. Until settling into a good position that I currently have now. However, I wish I would’ve takent he time necessary to find my passion. My “failure is not an option” kicked in and now I find myself realizing that I am going to take the next step to change my outcome. Thank you for this article, you’ve just reinsipired me.

  5. Dennis, it is so nice to hear of others who have had the ‘positive being canned’ experience. Although I stayed within my chosen profession, being fired was the best thing for me as I left a dead end employment track offering minimal creativity to a career that allowed me to grow as a person.

    And, not so amazingly, my life grew as well.

    For those others that do go through the process, it can be the most liberating thing in the world.


  6. Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring all of us Dennis. It can be so tough to get through and unwanted transition like that., but, if we see those times as opportunities to move deeper into who we are they are always going to lead us to bigger and better things.

  7. Great story of turning lemons into lemonade. As I look back over my life, some of the things that initially looked like the biggest setbacks turned out to be the biggest blessings!

  8. You’re a good writer, Dennis. But your bio just stays “Dennis is a freelance writer ” … doesn’t say how to contact you and whether you’re available for freelance writing on projects. MOre info please (that is … if you’re interested in picking up some clients )

  9. When one gets fired, here is what one should do.
    1. Watch PS I LOVE YOU
    2. Discover your passion
    3. Join a course that will help you learn more about your passion
    4. Search for job again
    5. or simply start your own venture
    6. Break free from the rat race. Live the passion.

  10. My story is similar, but not quite.
    I was not fired, I resigned.

    Now I so freelance writing, but can not tell that I am there… no clients, no clue where to start, no stable income….just dreams, hopes, realization of what I want and … the future!

  11. I think we’ve all been taught to value “corporate life” and believe in careers working for others far too much. Being given the opportunity to break free from this and sustain yourself in other ways is a gift

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