Handling some events in daily life could be hard, but we should be able to cope with any kind of crisis, because life is unexpected and we can’t really plan it all! Being fired is definitely one of those things, it isn’t a walk in the park! Even though it’s just a job and there are bigger and harder issues to solve – or sometimes unsolvable – losing your job could be a real shock.
I decided to write this article because it happened to me pretty recently and I feel that sharing my story might help some people that might face the same situation. But it’s still my story, and I simply want to tell what I learned, how I felt and what we could do to deal with this trauma and overcome obstacles, in order to be stronger and ready for new and better challenges!
Losing a job isn’t just about losing some financial stability, it goes beyond money. It’s about losing a big part of your daily routine, a personal balance made by habits and people that spend time with you every day – your colleagues – in the same working environment, sharing the best and worst of your working day. On top of that, I’d also say that it’s about losing your inner strength, self-awareness, confidence and self-esteem. That’s the hardest part because it touches you deeply inside.
My story is weird, it all happened in odd circumstances and it was my first time. It came with zero warning. I had no clue it was coming and I hadn’t received any negative feedback. On the contrary, I was told many times that I was working well and that I’d get better contract terms soon. I was working hard.
Then, one day, I received a text message from my boss. She asked me to have a chat in a coffee shop because she had something to tell me. I immediately thought “Oh, that’s cool, she’s finally going to promote me and make a better contract!”
But when I went there, you can imagine my disappointment… She said she was letting me go because of lack of internal funds and because there were internal changes. To this day, I have absolutely no idea what really happened. I hadn’t received any notice but that text message just one day before, and I still don’t get how it’s possible that someone hires a person some months before, promising that there’s a lot to do and projects are complex to develop, saying that they are happy with someone’s work and then, out of the blue, they can’t count on you anymore. I didn’t even had the chance to say goodbye to my colleagues.
I think situations like this show lack of respect for people that invest all their energies and dreams in something that maybe wasn’t planned and managed accurately by someone else. So, it also shows that miscommunication, lack of long-term vision/planning and unclear internal structure from the management can negatively impact employees.
The hardest part of all this was that as soon as I left the coffee shop, I felt suddenly empty. I was walking in the street trying to think of my mistakes, what I could have done better and why it happened. I cried. I felt I was a failure. I struggled with my identity after that. And I learned to never trust anyone at work and to always have my guard up, unless they are willing to discuss everything openly.
But very soon, I realised it had nothing to do with me. Thanks to people that have been there for me in one of the darkest moments of my work experience, I realised more, every day, that I couldn’t give up, plenty of fish in the sea, and I couldn’t allow something external and unclear to make me believe I was not worth it. Moreover, I have proof that I did great and I know what I can do!
And sure enough, I pretty soon found a new job and I could finally move on! It just goes to show that things like this happen. Even if you feel the situation is unfair, try to take what you can out of it.
Another piece of advice to employees is to always ask your bosses how things are REALLY going, just don’t be comfortable, because – as it happened to me – if your bosses don’t communicate clearly with you, you might receive bad surprises all of a sudden, while you think it’s all fine! And as I saw, being fired could also depend on other factors, not just your performance – which in my case was actually good as I said. Anything can happen, but at least if you insist on asking, you can see it coming and sense changes!
And finally, to all employers… Put yourselves in the shoes of the employees, be clear and open not only about the good things, but also about the bad ones, after all we all have ambitions, plans, dreams and expectations. And set a clear process of termination, don’t be vague, because it will affect your company’s culture and reputation too. Just remember we are not only an asset for the company, but also – and most of all – people.