Getting Fired: Dismissing The Dismissal And Moving On
Christmas season had just concluded and it was the middle of the cold doldrums of January. I had spent the better part of six months worrying, stressing and fearing the predator-like environment of my workplace.
"We are going to have to let you go." I was a bit shocked because I had been given no warning but maybe I should have known because I could feel my co-workers manoeuvering to orchestrate my demise. I chalked it up to paranoia. Guess I should have trusted my instincts more.
I keep replaying those events in my mind. It was severely embarrassing, shameful and instantly a poverty-making moment that it was hard to keep track of all the emotions that were rushing through my brain.
My boss stood silently as I emptied out my desk. I gathered my belongings, returned my keys and headed to the exit as the anguish mounted in my head. Of course, I thought of my family and how I failed them.
Believe it or not, I had to go through this experience twice in my life and the second time was not any easier than the first. The psychological damage to one's own confidence and ability cannot be understated here. Compounded in my case was how I was treated by my fellow workers in the social Darwin jungle where every mistake was dealt with harsh castigation and subsequently reported to my superior.
I realized that many workers go through these situations at work without losing their jobs. The amount of stress can result to health complications such heart-attacks and ulcers. Strangely one of the emotions upon surviving that fateful day was relief.
I was fortunate in that I did have a small part-time job that brought in some extra money. This helped me from completely collapsing my confidence. I decided that I needed some soul searching and felt that maybe the conventional work-place and I did not agree with each other.
There is no positive turnaround to this story just yet. I am still exploring and searching for something that I can excel at. There is still the urgency and questions of what my ultimate purpose could be. This article though is more centered on the trauma of losing one's job and how to recover and move on.
One of the difficult things to remember is not to take it personally. Easier said than done because it directly affects our confidence when we are let go. To think positive, maybe there was a message that this incident was trying to tell me. Maybe, this area of employment was not for me.
It is easy for outsiders to say "suck it up and move on". While we may ultimately have to do just that, if we don't take the time to reflect and heal from the ordeal, we can find ourselves going through a repeated cycle. When starting another new job, those fears of repeated trauma play in the back of our minds and can unintentionally steer us right to another heartbreak incident.
Losing a job puts a lot added pressure of finding a replacement income. You still need to take the time to explore viable alternatives. It is easy to go back into the same industry because there was some degree of success with money coming in. Maybe there only needs to be a slight tweaking of what your next job will be. Always keep your options open even when you found that next job.
The reality of workplaces is that they are a chemistry of different personalities under a power structure. Understanding that power structure may be a key element to surviving in it. Knowing who wields the power and keeping an open communication with him/her can go a long way.
In most countries, the laws and regulations will never catch up to the subtle abusive treatments that go on in the day-to-day operations. If your coworkers don't take a liking to you, you run the risk of being turfed because you don't "fit in" to the company's philosophy and in most cases there is nothing in any employment law that can help you out especially if you have not been there that long.
My suggestion is that even if your boss is fair, pay attention to the work dynamics you are in. If your workers make it "hell" for you to be there, chances are, they are going to work against you or already are. Find yourself a backup plan to get yourself out of there.
Try and maintain good contacts with job sharks especially in your field of expertise. They perhaps will have other opportunities of job openings before they are advertised in public. Be discreet when contacting them.
As far as being dismissed, fired or whatever you want to call it, try and find time to reflect on if the career path that you are on is the right one for you. Was it the people chemistry of the office environment or maybe was it something about your performance that does not fit with this type of career.
Finally, try and network with people in your intended industry of work. Read as much as you can about your respected industry. Find out which local companies in your area are doing what you want to do.
Above all, try and learn from that disastrous day where you had to pack up and leave. On the flip side, that company spent resources training you and will yet again have to train someone else. If they are always posting ads looking for people, it says a lot more about them than it does about your competence. Take solace that karma will catch up to them if it has not already.
Try and remain positive that there are many doors of opportunity that await you. Take the time to re-evaluate your talents, strengths and shortcomings and use them to re-focus on honing in on a better career path. Rather than sticking to what you know, stick to what you might be inclined to.
It will take a while to get over being dismissed. It reverberates through your whole being. Like any loss in life, it may take time for that sting to hurt a little less. Use this experience as a learning tool to guide you. Hopefully it will allow you to see exactly what you want for yourself and what that you are not willing to subject yourself to in the future.
I will be writing some more on the turbulent workplace and the unforeseen damage it does to the companies involved.