I’ve only been fired once. It happened in one of the worst possible ways. The email arrived on a Sunday night: “You are being taken off the schedule immediately.” There was no warning. No “opportunity for improvement.” No due process. Even looking back from the vantage point of years I can see no warning signs leading up to that traumatic evening. Nobody had the guts to approach me and explain what was going on.

I had it easier than most people who get fired. That position was not the only “job” I had at the time. I was working in three different settings, and was able to quickly increase my hours in the other two positions. Financially I experienced only a minor hiccup, but the internal impact on my psyche wasn’t nearly as minor.

Through that experience I discovered that being fired is good for you. Oh sure, it hurts. But it’s an experience that can spawn a great deal of wisdom, clarity, and maturity if one allows it to.

Here are several things being fired helped me understand, and that you can learn if you have a similar experience:

  1. Life isn’t fair. It’s not worth the emotional angst to try to make it fair. Some people are just jerks. Stuff happens. Maturity sees the good things in life as an undeserved and welcome gift, and doesn’t get too surprised when the not-so-good stuff comes along.
  2. You can choose the meaning getting fired has for you. I could have become bitter and angry over the unprofessional manner in which I was fired. Instead, after a short period of shock and dismay I chose to look for what new opportunities this reality could make possible.
  3. You are more than your job. You know this if you’re a parent; your young son or daughter sees you as their hero regardless of your job title or bank account. They need and want YOU. Who you are is much more important than what you do – not just to your kids, but in every part of your life.
  4. Investments in relationships are priceless. Your connections with your spouse (if married), your family, your friends, or other professional or business acquaintances will become invaluable. Care about other people for who they are rather than what they can give you, and in some way the favor will be returned to you.
  5. Physical and spiritual health provide resilience. If you’ve taken time to keep the other areas of your life healthy you’ll be able to rebound in the financial/vocational area of your life much easier. And continuing to invest in these areas will keep you resilient as well.
  6. Necessity can breed creativity. How many people hate their job?! Perhaps you did too. God put within you a valuable gift that the world needs, and getting fired may provide you the motivation to finally bring that gift to life. Flexible work arrangements, a new business, or some other creative endeavor may be just around the corner if you look for it.
  7. God has a plan. Sometimes you get fired because you did something wrong. Other times you get fired because you did something right. If you let Him, God has a way of taking these experiences and using them to bring you ever closer to the purpose He has for you. Nothing you give to Him is ever wasted.

If I had been fired at a younger age I might have grown up faster in some respects. But the important thing is that right now I’m closer to the purpose for which God put me on this planet than I’ve ever been before.

A forest fire may be devastating, but it’s necessary for the long-term health of the forest’s ecosystem. The entire area can be invigorated by the new trees that grow out of the ashes. And if you’ve been fired, the experience can do the same for you.

Your Turn: Have you been fired? What valuable things were you able to learn from the experience? Leave a comment below. 

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