Almost four years ago... December 8, 2003, to be precise... I was fired from my then-job. In my industry firings are common and often have nothing to do with the person being let go. One can be doing an excellent job and still be dismissed when the company wants to "go in another direction," "make a creative change" or "trim staff due to budget cuts."
In the seconds following that fateful phone call informing me my services were no longer necessary, I thought to myself: "All things happen for a reason, and in the end, I know this will be for the best." Honestly, those words really did go through my mind immediately after I was fired.
How, you may ask, could I have been so grounded when I was losing my paycheck? Well, while that particular job looked great on paper, there were a lot of things wrong with it. The man who hired me had been transferred, and I inherited a boss I absolutely hated. I did not respect in the least the company I worked for. I was getting bored with what I was doing, even though it was fun and easy money. I didn't feel connected to our product in a lot of ways. Frankly, I'd had my 15 year high school reunion that spring, and I'd been a little embarrassed to tell my doctor/lawyer/author/politico/screenwriter classmates what I did for a living.
I knew leaving that job was for the best, even though I'd been forced to. I'd had a really cushy work schedule, so I never would have left of my own volition. But in the months after my firing, I did some really interesting things, like interning in the San Francisco District Attorney's Office. Something I never would have done, otherwise. Flash forward almost four years, and my current job, while not perfect, is far more satisfying. It may not be the be all, end all of my career, but it is a sizable step in the right direction.
All of that said, though, getting fired still sucks and is at least little painful.
I tell you that story this evening because I'm going through something similar in my life right now. It has nothing whatsoever to do with work; it's of a more personal nature. Last night, a situation I'm involved in took a small but significant turn. The change wasn't really anything new; in fact, it was information I already had, but that information was confirmed. The difference is that concepts like honesty, respect and integrity now have made their way into this dynamic, which is a very good thing. And in my heart of hearts, I am really happy because this change, in both the long run and the here and now, is truly positive. I'm now faced with the decision as to whether I will stay in this situation or cut and run, but whichever course I choose, my self respect as it relates to this dynamic is significantly stronger.
However, much like getting fired four years ago, change still sometimes can disappoint and even hurt. Just a little.