Getting fired is really harsh. Especially when you have never been fired before. Even more harsh when it’s delivered by email, on your day off, with no prior warning or hints that you can think of, and trust me you rack your brain to think of something, anything you might have done so terribly wrong to warrant an immediate dismissal. Not even a warning? Not even a clear and direct reason why?
After the initial shock and awe had washed over me, I got enough of a grip to reply in a tactful and calm way. I did express my shock, and asked for the reason so that I may work on whatever it was and use this as constructively as possible. The response was, too busy, no time to talk to you before the weekend sorry, but when I do have time I would really like to discuss it further. I could see through these paper thin words as soon as I read them. But I decided that moment that no matter what I was going to be direct and respectful, I would act the way I wanted, and frankly deserved, to be treated.
On that same night, while calling my mom to help me digest what had just happened, (because when all else fails, call home to mama) I sent an email with my resume out to the first place I sought out in Syracuse when we initially moved. Though the first time I got no response back I thought there’s no harm in trying again. On that call with my mom, I got an incoming call that turned out to be the owner of the salon I had just emailed. We chatted for a good twenty minutes and I had an interview for the following week. Talk about your highs and lows of emotions.
While I was absolutely thrilled to already have an interview, I was still processing all that had happened with being let go. For a Highly Sensitive Person (HSP) this processing is extremely necessary to sort out all the extreme emotions and separate out your feelings from what’s really happened. Half the time was spent just getting over the shock and overwhelm it brought on. A big part of recovering from M.E. is knowing that you must take the time to manage this emotional stress response and the effects it can have on your body and your energy. It’s very difficult sometimes, and can feel as though you have suffered a trauma, because your stress levels are already at a much higher baseline. A big part of this for me was very gentle yoga and breathing to help my body mind and spirit feel more in sync through this ripping apart of emotional and physical pain.
I think the hardest part of being fired was the feeling of rejection. It’s extremely hard not to take it personally. The fact that I didn’t know the reason why left me with the worst case of self doubt. Why has this happened, what did I do, what didn’t I do, maybe this, maybe that etc. Then Justin said to me “I think the hardest part of this for you is knowing there’s someone out there who doesn’t like you.” And when I heard this it made me realize that I cannot let a person who didn’t even take the chance to get to know me make me question who I am. They don’t deserve my energy, my time, or to even be in my life a single second longer.
And guess what, never once did I have the urge to fight for my job back, which I knew was very significant. That I wasn’t heartbroken over losing this job was a sign that now in hindsight meant that I never truly felt comfortable there. I felt this uncertainty, but at the time told myself that it was because it was all so new and that I had to give it time. I’m glad I did this, because for me looking back on what I did wrong I realized that I didn’t do anything. I could honestly say I tried my hardest even when I felt like quitting. And that’s something that they cannot say. They did nothing to help me, they made no effort to make clear what their expectations were, and in the end I think it came down to them wanting a mindreader, so that they could avoid any hard conversations or confrontations. That is not a leader, at least no leader I want to follow.
Constructive criticism is how we better ourselves, being able to receive it is a sign of potential. Being able to give it is a sign of character.
It takes mutual respect to have a hard conversation with someone, and it is a sign that the person giving you this feedback knows you have it in you. They see your potential. I can remember a handful of times when I have had these types of conversations with leaders/bosses and while in the moment it can feel hard to take, I can say in absolution that what I have taken away in lessons has changed my life. I am so eternally grateful to them for having the courage and the respect to change me for the better.
And I can also take away lessons from the weakness and cowardice, for I will always remember how it made me feel. People will never ever forget how you made them feel. I want to say a cosmic apology to anyone I have ever made feel that way when I was a lesser person. A breakup, a friendship that went bad, to anyone that I made feel rejected I am truly, very sorry. It is not easy to do the right thing, often there are so many easier options out there that save you discomfort. But a little uncomfortableness for those few moments can save days, weeks, even years of someone else’s life.
You won’t always get the closure you want. I never heard from them again. No call as promised, not even another measly email. So often I poured over in my head draft after draft of clever retorts, of putting them in their place, until I decided that it is just not worth the negative energy. I replaced it with inspiration, I did color education videos, cutting videos, found beauty around me and used it to fuel me. I put my heart and soul into finding a model for my new job opportunity. I created a Facebook page for my hair business, I turned my hair Instagram into a business account and I decided that my security and my happiness would be taken into my own hands. I got the job, and more importantly I got my spark back.