I loved my morning routine. Waking up at 6 a.m., gym, shower, quick coffee and cookies and it was already 8 a.m. and I was sitting at my desk turning on my computer. My work wasn’t very difficult, didn’t require a lot of commitment and didn’t bring great satisfaction, but I spent a good few years in this office building and I just got used to it. I liked some of its elements, such as morning meetings, a few routine tasks like checking and answering emails, making a few standard phone calls or meetings in the shared kitchen. I guess I really loved this job because of the people who worked there with me. However, despite the lack of spectacular development, I thought this was the place for me.
Stage one – Unawareness
Every six months I received a cash bonus, every year I was promoted so I got used to it. It seemed natural to me and I wouldn’t even think that something would go wrong. That day there was just another half-year assesment, which required a summary. It was a pure formality. I’ve been through this stage so many times that I didn’t even notice that something ominous was in the air. As always, the summary meeting started with a short conversation about the achievements I have made so far, about what I am currently focusing on and what my professional plans for the future are. I was cool about what I’ve done over the last six months, what I’m doing now and how the future is painted in a rosy way. I didn’t even notice that I said almost the same thing as I did last year and six months ago. It was like I was automatically answering the same question, played out of a recording.
Stage two – Repression
But what was I supposed to say? The same thing was happening all the time, wasn’t it? Apparently, I was wrong. I was told that everyone was developing and I was standing still and what’s more I was blocking the development of my team. It’s hard for me to describe how I felt back then. I guess the first emotion that hit me was a shock. How come everyone was developing and I wasn’t? How is it possible that I was the one blocking the development of my team? It sounded like a line from a movie, one of those bad ones. I also found out that apparently I have a difficult nature and it is hard to work with me. I was completely knocked out. Everyone talks to me, I have a great relationship with everyone, they would rarely invite me to the meetings after work but I wouldn’t go anyway because I like coming home and living my own life, I like to be left alone sometimes. Now it has become clear that both my apparent lack of commitment and my difficult nature have brought me to the point where I heard my boss saying that, unfortunately, I have to leave. So they just fired me and I just had to pack up and leave the office.
Stage three – Anger
The words, “Unfortunately you have to leave”, were circulating above me like clouds in cartoons occasionally firing lightning to strengthen the message. I wanted to explode, say what I think about them all, that they are useless and that they have a problem, not me, that there is something wrong with them. I wanted to shout out all my frustration and anger that was buzzing inside me. I wanted to threaten to sue them and that they were making the biggest mistake in their lives by firing me. But I did nothing. I think that the last remnants of my mind spoke to me and I decided not to burn bridges behind me. I came to the conclusion that I still have to ask for references and I don’t want my spontaneous emotional outburst to spoil the opportunity to get good references from my first real job after graduation. It wasn’t easy for me. I wanted to curl up and die or burn it all down to a tiny bit of ash. At such moments there are really many things you can do which you could regret later on, so I came to the conclusion that I will cry at home, now I must be strong and be able to make it through and out of this bloody office with dignity.
Stage four – Sadness
I couldn’t look my boss in the eye. Of course, I was boiling inside, but there was also a huge wave of sadness. A terrible sadness that I will have to leave behind what I know so well, what I have already got used to and what I feel so comfortable with. I shook my boss’s hand, thanked her for those few great years, and I left. I walked out of her room with burning cheeks and I quickly headed towards my desk. As soon as possible I packed all my things and without any unnecessary comments, I went to the elevator. It was a real walk of shame. The last walk through the hall was terrible. Even though nobody was looking at me, because everyone was focused on their work, I felt as if I was walking through this corridor naked and I couldn’t hide anything. It was very humiliating to carry my stuff packed in a cardboard box. But I was just trying to look straight through everyone. When I took the elevator down to the ground floor and gave my pass to the security guard, I left the building and I was hit by a wave of the warm air. It was summer already, so leaving the air-conditioned office during the day never happened to me, so today it surprised me a lot.
Stage five – Understanding
When I was going back home, I couldn’t concentrate on anything. The words said by my boss were hanging over my head, enabling me to take a deep breathe. Did I really let it go that badly? Was I such a bad employee? Was I so sure of my position that I didn’t notice that others were developing, taking part in training and I was standing in the same place? All this made me feel angry not only at the boss, the whole company, the whole world but also at myself. I was angry and sad that I didn’t notice something that was obvious, that I wasn’t trying, that I was feeling too comfortable. I slowly began to understand that it wasn’t the company’s fault but mine. I could have done more or just walked away when I felt that I couldn’t develop any more in that place. I could boldly dare to get involved in changes, development and what the employers really required from me, that is, commitment. I just didn’t feel like it and apparently, others saw it too, although I thought I was hiding it so well. Well, obviously not.
Stage six – Hope
When anger and sadness pass, you can rethink what really happened, you begin to notice that maybe you are not as perfect as you imagined and maybe you are not as irreplaceable as you thought. It was sad, heartbreaking, but I know myself and I know that I am able to do a lot more than I have ever done before. After a storm comes a calm. I have understood my flaws and implemented a plan to change them. I decided not to waste my life on a job where I don’t feel fulfilled, I won’t pretend to be happy in a place where I don’t really want to be. I was overwhelmed by the hope that there was still so much ahead of me and there was no need to break down. Sometimes such situations make us learn something new about ourselves and motivate us to go beyond our comfort zone, which is not cool but necessary for development.
Stage seven – Relief
After a while, as I had already calmed down, I started looking for a job. All the emotions had already evaporated, I was able to get references from my previous employer without any problems, and because of the fact that I did not do any weird action, the references were favourable to me. I started sending resumes and preparing for interviews. I started to understand myself, my emotions and how I wanted to be perceived by others. I started working on myself and my character. And most importantly, thanks to the fact that they fired me from my previous job, I had time to rethink and arrange everything. I was so relieved that I finally had time to think about who I really wanted to be. I signed up for a course, gained new skills and was ready to face future employers. I also prepared myself for the fact that if they directly ask me at the interview why I don’t work where I worked, I won’t talk badly about my previous employer, but I honestly confess that I had to work on myself and that now I am a better person and a better candidate for a job. I am proud to say what I have achieved and the lessons I have learned from this experience. I finally felt relieved to be myself.
I have learned a lot from this experience and I hope that you will also learn from it. Everyone reacts differently and probably experiences stressful moments such as being fired in their own way. However, it is important to learn from this, not to give up, not to slander the previous employer and tell the truth during future interviews. It is not worth to compare yourself with others because each of us is different and each of us has different characteristics which should improve or emphasise. We are really worth a lot and we have to believe in it and when we believe in it infinitely, we should consider what is the reason for it. Each of us has their own advantages and disadvantages and we should be aware of them in order to be able to develop and simply be happy.
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