In all the years I worked for someone else, I never got over being nervous about being fired. While that may sound silly, it turns out I’m just not wired to work for anybody else. I’ve been fired, I’ve quit, and I’ve been laid off; those are the only ways to leave a job as far as I know, and I’ve got them all covered.
My question is this: Is losing your job really that bad?
I remember a lady I used to work with who we’ll call Jane. Jane had been with the company for 18 years and was entrenched. She was bored, used her longevity as an excuse to slack off work, and stonewalled any progress the company tried to make. I sat right next to her, and her dissatisfaction hung over her desk like a dark cloud; it felt awful. One day her boss warned those of us around her that she was getting fired – he was afraid of her reaction and wanted us to be on guard for anything she might do. As suspected, she took the news badly and made a flamboyant exit from the building. It was not an easy day for anybody: her, her boss, and those of us left behind all felt like we were in shock.
I think about Jane from time to time and how she handled being fired. Did she go home and feel sorry for herself for a long time? Did she blame the company for letting her go and make it all their fault? Did she watch a lot of bad daytime TV? All perfectly understandable as initial reactions!
Hopefully though, after the initial breakdown, she regrouped, took whatever lessons were available to her, and moved on to something better, something more suited to her skills, strengths and desires.
If you’ve been let go recently, chances are you feel lousy (and maybe just a tiny bit relieved?). Take time to feel the loss, anger, resentment and all the rest; you‘ve earned it. Then tell yourself the truth and ask what’s *really* important to you, and if that job / client was *really* meeting your needs. One of the best things that working for yourself does is allow you to choose who you work with, and pick only those with whom you can do your best work; people and projects that bring you satisfaction. From this perspective, being let go may be the best thing that ever happened to you.