I got to work that day, and my boss immediately called me into his office. I didn’t like the look on his face, but I didn’t have anything to worry about, or so I thought.
We got to his office, and the HR Director was sitting in there (who also had an unpleasant look on her face). I sat down, and he closed the door.
My heart began to race, and I started to panic.
What had I done wrong? My mind was frantically replaying the events at work over the past few weeks. Had I said something in an email? Did I make a customer really mad?
Then, he uttered the words I never expected at all, “John, we’re going to have to let you go.”
I wanted an answer as to why I was being let go but the answers they gave me made no sense. I was performing at near the top of my peers in the company.
What was I going to do? I had two daughters and a wife to support.
What were they going to think of me? I was a failure.
My ego was crushed
My wife took it better than expected. She is strong and was the one who ultimately pulled us through and supported the family when I could not.
However, how was I going to explain this to my then five-year-old daughter? I decided I wouldn’t tell her. I had already swallowed my pride in front of everyone else close to me, why should I tell her too if I didn’t have to?
I would just get another job before she noticed anything was different. Well, she noticed something was different almost right away.
Couldn’t I just lie to her?
Then, she asked, “Daddy, why aren’t you going to the office anymore? Did you get fired from your job?”
She had overheard my wife and me talking. I couldn’t lie to her. I told her the truth about what had happened.
She couldn’t understand why they didn’t want me anymore. She was worried about our future.
I have to believe that awkward yet tender moment with my daughter helped me get through that dark period in life and my career. I had to make good on my promises to her.
What have you done for me lately?
Here’s what I’ve done since I lost my job five years ago:
- Finished an MBA in Marketing
- Turned my side gig into a successful social media marketing company
- Published over 200 blogs on sites like Inc., Huffington Post, and Dice.com
- Had multi-national companies approach me for help writing content and social media management
- Named a branding expert by Forbes
- Created a social media following the size of a small army
My journey hasn’t been easy
My reason for sharing my accomplishments is not to brag. Hopefully, by me sharing this my journey, I can inspire others that have hit a low point in their career to change their situation.
With hard work and perseverance truly anything is possible, and everybody can reverse their path.
Losing my job started to take me down a road of self-pity and depression. I could have easily let it defeat me.
The moment with my daughter was the gut check I needed to snap out of it and use what had happened as a motivational force.
Getting fired from my job was the event that would be the impetus to me becoming an entrepreneur full-time and taking control over my career.
What I’ve learned is that very bad things will happen and low moments are unavoidable in your career. They happen to everyone.
However, it’s what you do after they happen that makes or breaks your future.
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John White is the founder of Social Marketing Solutions and a Columnist at Inc. Magazine