If you check my blog frequently, I’m sure you’ve noticed it’s been rather quiet in the past few weeks. That’s because I’ve been gearing up for a cross country move to start a new job in northern Virginia! The past month of my life has been insane, but after being here for a whopping 4 days (3.5 really), I’m convinced that getting fired was the best thing that happened to me, and everything was worth it.
When I say everything was worth it, I don’t just mean leaving everything comfortable and familiar to me and taking somewhat of a leap of faith and huge risk moving 500 miles from home. I’ve been away from home a lot, but this is a whole new ball park. I went from Boston, Massachusetts to Westchester, New York. In both scenarios, I could walk for 10 minutes or less and get on a train, bus or trolley to wherever I needed to be. In northern Virginia? Not so much. In New York and Boston, I could walk almost anywhere I needed to go. In NoVa? Forget about it. I could walk for two hours and in either direction I’d be in the middle of a highway somewhere. If I want to get to my kind of night life, I unquestionably have to trek a minimum of 40 minutes into the city (which to me means Alexandria, Arlington or DC). In addition to these lifestyle changes, the financial burden is very different. This is my first time really being “on my own.” And I won’t lie; it’s a little nerve wracking. But the confidence and optimism I have about my new life here make everything more than worth it.
Getting fired sucked. For a while after the fact, I was optimistic, but as weeks of unemployment turned to month after month after month and I faced rejection after rejection, I was in a really dark place. My uncertainty about my future and my own abilities was making me miserable. I was depressed, I was anxious and I was terrified that I would never live up to my potential and have to take a job I didn’t want to pay my student loans. I was afraid of being the person at the five year reunion awkwardly trying to explain that they were a sales associate at Charlotte Russe, but that’s not actually what they were doing.
There were days of unemployment where I’d bang out application after application. And to be honest with you, there were days where all I did was cry and drink water so I could keep crying. One weekend, my best friend basically dragged me kicking and screaming to New York for his birthday – not because I didn’t want to celebrate, but because all I could think about was my job situation, and it was making it impossible for me to enjoy any other aspect of my life. On my way down that weekend, I got an email from a company that I had forgot I’d even applied to. My mindset at that point was so toxic that I was pre anticipating a rejection email before I’d even taken the steps they’d asked of me.
Earlier in the summer, I’d been fooled into applying for an intricate pyramid scheme job, and made sure to do my research before wasting anymore time on an interview process. This company was not only the real deal, but it was me. It was somewhere I could actually see myself. Each step of the interview process only confirmed that this where I was supposed to be. And while I had been researching interview and job search tips, I turned getting this job into my full time job. I became obsessed. I wouldn’t send out an email or make a phone call to anyone in the company without consulting someone I considered a professional expert and reading at least three articles from Business Insider. I’d ask anyone who would listen to practice interviews with me. I even put up multiple prayer requests at my church which is something I literally never do.
After I was initially offered the job, I was ecstatic. But the first salary offer was something I literally could not afford to support myself on. The idea of having to reject the job I’d worked so hard for and waited so long for over salary didn’t even occur as an option. I got a friend to put me in touch with a salary negotiation expert until I could reach a reasonable solution, and I got it.
I’ve only been on the job for two days, but I am confident that getting fired is the best thing that’s ever happened to me. The six months of uncertainty and apprehension made me consider everything I did wrong and took for granted in my last position. It forced me to think long and hard about my future, what I wanted and who I wanted to be. And most importantly, it forced me to become the kind of person I needed to be to get what I wanted.
At my old job, I overheard one of my managers on the phone talking about how excited he was for one of my coworkers to start. It stood out to me because this manager in particular hated everyone. And that coworker remained in this manager’s good graces. He wasn’t just lucky either – he earned it. I wanted to be like that coworker, and at my new workplace I feel like for the first time I have that opportunity.
For me, getting fired instilled a permanent fear of failure and mediocrity. Again, it’s only been two days. I know I’m in the honeymoon phase, and that there will be days that I’m less in love with my job than I am now. But I’ve been going to sleep early, waking up early, and according to my own manager in these literal two days I’ve exceeded her expectations of my performance by weeks – and they were high to begin with. I feel driven not to succeed, but excel, and I don’t think I would be the person I am today if I didn’t get fired six months ago.
Before getting fired, I feel like I thought in terms of “what if’s.” “What if i don’t get this job? What if it doesn’t work out? What if I’m not cut out for this? What if I’m not who I thought I was?” I’ve stopped asking myself what if, and started asking myself how I can make it happen.