“Hi Sosa could you please come into the side room”
“Umm…sure…is everything okay?
“I’ll explain more in a bit, please follow me.”
*goes into side room*
“Right Sosa, after further thought, we’ve decided not to continue your contract.”
“Oh. Wow. Okay, can I ask why?”
“We don’t think you’re a right fit for the company and don’t have the capacity to train you. You can pack your things and leave now.”
And that’s how the conversation went when I got fired. It was pretty harsh, in fact it was downright brutal. I was so shocked that I had just been fired from what I thought was my dream job. After the conversation, I packed up my things.
I have NEVER ever been fired before.
I don’t think I cried until much later, when I was hit with the sharp realisation that I had just been let go. Now, almost a year later, I can look back and see how much it taught me about the importance of self- confidence.
So what did I learn? Let’s rewind to the time I got this job. I had been applying during my master’s degree and wanted to secure one just before it ended. I knew I loved to write and wanted something that would combine that with my other interests.
When I stumbled across this job, I was thanking my lucky stars. The opportunity would allow me to do a lot of writing and work on high profile PR campaigns. Initially I had a lot of self-doubt, but that’s always been one of my biggest issues. I constantly questioned if I’m good or smart enough. So when I applied and got the role, you can just imagine how relieved and happy I felt.
And it began so well! I was able to write and learn a lot too! Of course, I was extremely junior at that point, but to even be in that position felt fantastic. I was enjoying myself and finally on my way to do what I wanted to do!
But this high didn’t last long. My manager, and only other colleague as this was quite a small company, was not on the vibe of teaching or guiding me. The whole mentoring and supporting part, went out of the window with the rest of the fun times I would have at this place. But, I still wanted to learn as much as possible and refused to let that get me down. I would just have to keep on going.
Then shit got real.
Now, I don’t know what it was, but this woman just didn’t like me. Everything would annoy her. I wasn’t happy enough, I didn’t talk enough, I talked too much, I took too much initiative, yet I didn’t take enough initiative.
I would literally spend hours thinking about how to please her, when the important stuff was the work at hand. If that wasn’t bad enough, when I tried to talk things through with my manager on how to make things better, I was met with either silence or attitude… or both.
Nevertheless, I trudged on. I don’t usually give up so easily, and I wanted to prove myself that I could achieve great things. Don’t get me wrong, I was not perfect. I made mistakes but would do my best to correct or learn from them. Aside from the rudeness from my manager, the content of my work was actually exciting.
I took the pettiness, the extra-long days and working on weekends. I took the ridicule, the unreasonable demands, which ultimately consumed my self-confidence. It wasn’t long until I began to feel pretty lonely and anxious. I also didn’t stand up for myself because I didn’t want to be a problem to the company or a nuisance to my friends and family.
But despite all this, your girl was fired. All the crap I took, didn’t amount to anything. But when I look back it, being fired was for the best. I was so unsure of myself that I let small blunders take over and filter through into my work. Of course, it didn’t help that my manager was horrible, but still there was a lot I could’ve done better.
And many of us have experienced this. A sarky, mean manager where every move you make seems to be wrong. Or just a workplace that isn’t supporting you in any shape or form. You literally feel like one big problem. You find self-doubt creeping in and anxiety making appearance later. And it’s super hard, you want to make things better but don’t know how. Anything you do, may make things worse.
For me, that’s exactly what happened, I was so hell bent on not giving up, that I sacrificed my self-confidence. By not speaking up when I was being mistreated or leaving a situation that was disturbing my peace, I ended up hurting myself. In my head having a job and moving forward was better than not having a job at all.
But this isn’t always true. Yes, your career is important, crucial even to your identity. However, self-preservation and care should always be paramount. Before anything else, you need to be okay mentally and physically. And if a ‘job’ is compromising this, you better be thinking about how to get out of there.
In the workplace you will be exposed to a lot of things, people and situations. Many times you will find yourself tested, but what my experience taught me (and what it should teach you) is that your confidence is everything. Knowing who are, what you stand for is so important. And what I mean when I say this is, to be aware of your worth especially when someone else can’t see that.
It wasn’t until I got fired and evaluated all the crap that went down, that I could pinpoint my confidence was missing. Working really hard in a job is essential, particularly for making it to the top or moving forward. I encourage everyone to continue doing this…so long it’s not ruining you in the process. Know who you are and be proud of what you bring to the table!
And there was light at the end of the tunnel. I’m still writing, my first love, and have a great job now. Plus no horrible manager in sight!
Written by Sosa Sharon
The post What Being Fired Taught Me: Lessons in Self-Preservation appeared first on LAPP..