Six Pixels of Separation - The Blog
June 17, 2009 9:58 PM

Learning From The Past

There's sometimes more to learn from quitting or being fired from a job than you probably realize. 

Full disclosure: I've been fired from jobs and I've quit jobs. Along with my business partners at Twist Image, we employ close to eighty people over two offices. We have let people go and people have quit on us. Everything sucks. There's nothing good about being fired, and there's nothing good about firing somebody. It's never fun when someone quits on you, and even if you are the person quitting for something better, it's never the easiest thing to do (granted, there are exceptions to every rule).

In a recession, everything is magnified. 

Sure, there are industries and sectors that are recession proof and within these crazy times, there are countless new opportunities to pursue. That all being said, it's certainly not the best time to be fired and it's probably not ideal to up and quit your day job either. The goal of this is to figure out how to get more out your work (or current employment).

One trick is to look back.

There's an old saying that being fired is sometimes the best thing that can happen to a person. The idea that it simply wasn't a good fit and that the individual can move on to do something more suitable. When I think back to the instances where I was fired (and even the ones where I quit) they all gave me one, fundamental, message: I never want to be in that scenario again. There are instances when this means that I would never run my business in a way I was previously exposed to, or instances where I would never want to treat individuals the way I have seen others treated. There are even moments that have helped me restructure my thoughts around business ethics and philosophy. Simply put: the "standard operating procedure" of some businesses clearly needed to change, adapt or die. With a business of my own, I can test those theories. I can do the things I was not allowed to do. I can try to do things differently (whatever that means).

Learning from mistakes.

Maybe it wasn't your fault at all. Maybe you were the scapegoat. Maybe you were just a line item in some bigger budget. Whatever the scenario, the most empowering thing you can do is not rely on any other individual or company for your monetary and professional achievement. This means taking control of your life (in as much as you possibly can). One of the most amazing aspects of the new media platforms is that newbies and hardened professionals all have an active and equal voice. Their rise in popularity is based (for the most part) on their own personal interactions. We've seen interns develop a voice and online community that the CEO can't achieve. There's a lesson here: new media allows for all voices to be heard. It also allows for people who have unique voices to be noticed. When both of those elements come together, we're going to see a change and shift in the workplace.

My hopes are that if you have been fired or are thinking about quitting your current gig, that you take all of your past experiences and your newfound ability to connect your thoughts to the world and make your next evolution one that can (possibly) change the world.

By Mitch Joel