Life Happens13th November 2017

So, you got fired…

Well, it’s not the end of the world…

Stick with me. I’ve held an extraordinarily high number of jobs in the past, mostly before I started dancing professionally. I worked in catering and hospitality, customer services, youth and community services, office administration, sales…and I’ve been fired from almost every single one of them.

If I haven’t been fired then I’ve walked out. I’ve never left a job amicably. I’ve never eaten “BEST WISHES FOR THE FUTURE KYM!” cake with my co-workers in the break room…and as you can probably tell, I’m okay with that.

When I was working for others, I generally didn’t last more than 6 months in a single position. My record for the least amount of time I’ve held down a job is 2 hours and 25 minutes. I turned up to start work at 9am, by 11:25am I had walked. My tolerance for poor management wore thin especially quickly that day.

You might think I have an issue with authority, and you might be right, however, it’s not so much an issue with authority as it is an issue with misuse of authority, or an inability to recognise the importance of the authority you hold.

I like to work hard but I also like to ensure my hard work results in something productive. Where possible, I especially like to work smart, finding efficient and effective systems that allow my colleagues and I to do a great job in as little time as possible.

I’ve found that authority in several industries doesn’t like that, as it’s not billable. It also removes their ability to coast, to wait out those 8 hours every day, being ‘busy’ without being ‘productive’.

A challenge to their authority means they need to do more to keep their staff working and occupied. And they need to do more to keep their employees motivated. Now, if you hold a supervisory or management position and want to turn up to work and coast all day, by all means, go ahead. Just don’t hire me, because I will absolutely call you out on it if it affects my ability to do my job efficiently. Yep, I’m that employee…and so ultimately, authority hates me.

Now, I’m certainly not perfect. Maybe I could have articulated my thoughts and feelings towards my bosses a little better, changing this:

“…are you KIDDING ME? This is an absolute shambles, we can totally use a spreadsheet for this rather than having bits of information scribbled on paper and scattered on the desk. Seriously, this company is so backwards…”

to this:

“I wonder if I might share my ideas on how we could make our systems here more efficient? I had some thoughts on what we could do to allow us as a team to be much more productive and to help you as management be able to communicate the figures to head office more easily.”

…yeah, I get it. As I’ve aged I’ve become a lot less hot-headed…or rather, I’ve become a lot better at thinking before I speak. That being said, I’m still not great at it and I certainly admire all of you can hold down a job smiling through the moronic behaviour of some of your supervisors.

Alas, however, that is just not for me. It’s probably why I was destined to start my own business and be my own boss. With my team, I try and be the sort of boss I would want to work for; flexible working hours, trusting people to do their job, empowering people to make decisions, asking for feedback on our operations and welcoming ideas even if we can’t incorporate them just yet. It’s important that my team feel valued and know that we’re all in it together. Anyway, I digress.

If you’ve been fired or even “managed out” I know how disheartening this can feel, and I also know it can have a profound effect on your self-confidence and self-esteem. It can be easy to fall into the “how on earth am I going to get another job now? I can’t even get a reference!” ditch.

The end of the world?

No. It’s not the end of the world — I’ve never had a reference but continued to get hired during my vicious cycle of un/employment, probably because I interviewed well and demonstrated the skills they were looking for.

But, I refuse to work for a business or organisation who can’t implement simple (and often no cost) strategies to make their employees lives easier. The reason why any business is successful is because of their employees. This is always at the forefront of my mind.

Don’t get me wrong, some people deserve to be fired and in the minds of my previous employers that certainly includes me (though, often if this is the case the organisation aren’t blameless, due diligence when hiring, thorough recruitment processes and supporting employees to settle in can all improve staff retention).

I, too, have had to let people go in past — but I take full responsibility for that, I see how and where I could (and should) have taken more time to assess whether they truly were the right fit for my company and held similar core values.

Those that work with me now will testify to the fact that I hire very slowly, often assessing potential team members from a distance using both digital and real-world criteria as I’ve found that the ideal person ‘on paper’ might not be the best fit in reality.

In fact, I rarely bother looking at CV’s at all these days, I’m willing to bet that 95% of them are embellished and actually, I’m more interested in what you can do rather than what you’ve done. It’s also important that my potential team members have aspirations, especially entrepreneurial ones. I love hearing “I’d like to work towards starting my own business in the future”, for me it’s this type of candidate who makes a great team member. I like people who are enterprising, with drive and tenacity, and I know my team aren’t going to stick with me forever, so I enjoy what they bring to DoodleDirect whilst I have them, and (hopefully!) help them add to their skill set to enable them to reach their full potential.

But not every employer thinks like that, and sometimes you just need the job and so you pretend to be what they want you to be, telling the recruiter what they need to hear, getting hired, then dreading having to go to work. Then it all comes out in the wash some way or another (because as human beings there is only so much crap we can deal with), you get fired and feel hung out to dry…

Blessings in disguise.

I’m here to tell you that it’s probably a blessing in disguise for you, and here’s how to turn those lemons into a gin and tonic:

Step 1Don’t panic. Whatever your circumstances for losing your job, it’s happened. move on to step 2 immediately.

Step 2Process what has happened. Take a moment to understand that you are no longer working in that role. Be honest with yourself about the situation and assess objectively — being emotional here is going to do you more harm than good, direct that energy towards thinking forward, not regrets. I always find that a short sharp session knocking ten bells out of a punch bag helps me to think forward. You might have a strategy that’s slightly less aggressive. Whatever works for you.

Step 3Make an action plan. You’re going to need to be realistic about what happens in the short term. Re-think personal budgets and prioritise spending. As a priority look at what financial support is available. Make looking for your next opportunity your temporary full-time job — wake up, get dressed and turn up. Depending on your circumstances, now might also be the perfect time to take the plunge and start that business you’ve been planning in the background…

Step 4Continue onwards and upwards wid yo’ bad self. Optimism is key. Self-belief is mandatory. The future is calling — answer it.

If like me, you’re a serially fired employee then who knows — maybe the problem is you?

However, if the problem is indeed you, for you, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Let that marinate.

Share your experiences of being fired and how you bounced back, I want to hear your stories!

Follow me on Twitter @KymberleeJay and/or Instagram @KymberleeJay.

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