Maybe you’ve been there: you get called into your boss’s office and are asked to sit down because there’s something they’d like to discuss.
Likely there’s someone from HR or the C-suite also in the room. However, it’s once your boss starts talking that you realize with what feels like a punch to the gut that you’re being fired.
Perhaps you knew this was coming because you’d seen the writing on the walls. Or perhaps this came out of nowhere and you’re left feeling shocked, angry, and sad.
No matter the reason for your firing, whether it’s because of performance problems, management issues, a company acquisition, or more, you’re likely still reeling and trying to understand what just happened.
So let me be the first to say — Congratulations!
Now, before you think I’m some sadist glorying in someone else’s pain, let me explain why I think being fired is one of the best things that can happen to you and why everyone should be fired at least once in their lives.
It reminds you to stay humble
In a world where the loudest, and sometimes crassest, voices are constantly shouting to be heard, being reminded of your fallibility keeps you grounded. It doesn’t matter if the fault for getting fired rests on your own shoulders or not — it’s proof that you’re not invincible.
Getting let go is a reminder that life doesn’t always go as planned, and that that’s okay. It gives you the chance to appreciate what you still have and the people who will be by your side through thick and thin.
It takes you outside your comfort zone
There’s truly nothing like being booted to get you outside your comfort zone. Whether you were reluctantly trudging along or whether you truly loved your work, no longer having that role sets you outside where you’d been.
While this may sound terrifying, and it honestly can be in the moment, it’s also a fantastic way to get a clearer picture of who you are and what you want.
It pushes you to take action
It’s easy to put off trying to find a better job or taking your side hustle full time because you’ve become comfortable and complacent. I know this because I’ve been there too. It’s hard to turn down killer benefits, healthcare, and a steady paycheck for the potential uncertainty of going for it on your own.
Getting fired is the push (or really, the shove) to really start evaluating what it is you want and where you want to go.
There’s no greater motivator than not having that safety net. It’s often a crutch and gives you the perfect excuse when you’re feeling lazy or don’t feel like putting in the effort towards finding a better job.
Personally, it took me being let go earlier this year for me to fully finalize my plan and get my act together to turn my side hustle into my full-time gig.
It teaches you what you do and don’t want
In your personal life, a breakup allows you to sit back and reflect on what went wrong and what worked so that you know what you want to look for or avoid for next time.
Being fired does the exact same thing. It might be that you hated having to write press releases and reach out to media contacts, but you loved planning the overall communications strategy. It could also be that you obsessed over getting to be creative and design marketing materials, but would rather someone else handle the strategy side.
Whatever it may be, understanding more clearly what it is you loved about your previous roles, and what you loathed, will allow you to find a job that’s a much better fit for you than your previous one.
It gives you resilience
Knowing how you respond when things get tough (and, perhaps, how your significant other responds) can be crucial to weathering the ups and downs of your life.
Being able to dust yourself off and keep kicking butt after being fired proves to yourself that you can take what may come your way. Building up your resiliency gives you the strength for the next time things don’t work out.
While I can’t guarantee much with 100% certainty, I can promise that life is going to throw challenges your way. When that happens, you’ll have the knowledge that you weathered this storm and made it out stronger on the other side.
It becomes the best thing that’s ever happened to you
Recently, I posted an anonymous survey in several professional groups that I’m a part of on Facebook asking people who’d been fired their feelings about the situation. A solid 82% said that at the time of their firing they were extremely upset.
Yet 91% of that same group said that they are now happy that it happened. When asked to explain why, almost everyone had some variation on the theme that being fired gave them the opportunity to find something better or pursue something greater and they were ultimately glad to have been let go.
The strength, knowledge, and clarity you will gain when you get fired will help propel you further than you ever thought possible and into areas you might never have imagined. So if you’re ever in the situation where you realize that it’s finally happening to you — take comfort in the fact that you’ll look back someday and realize it was the best thing that ever happened to you.