I’ve Been Fired. What’s Next? Why Journaling Can Help
“Getting fired,” Tyler says, “is the best thing that could happen to any of us. That way, we’d quit treading water and do something with our lives.” So says the infamous antihero Tyler Durden in Chuck Palahniuk’s cult-classic Fight Club, a novel about the opportunities available to us when we let go of everything.
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably just been fired from your job. How did it happen? Was the writing on the wall, or were you blindsided? Are you devastated at the loss of a job you loved, or was this secretly a blessing in disguise? Do you feel shame at being unemployed, or is this a liberating time to explore who you truly are and what you really want?
Yes, there are certainly a lot of feelings to consider when you lose your job — how do you sort them all out? One tactic is journaling with a certified responder. What does that look like, you ask? Let’s follow the journey of someone who has just been fired and explore how journaling with a responder can help them.
Marc is a 30-year-old marketing executive with a high-profile, white-collar job. Or he was… until he got fired. Marc was blindsided by his firing: it happened at random, and very little reasons were given. All he was told is that the company was moving in a new direction, and that direction did not include Marc. Now Marc is at a complete loss for what to do next.
Three weeks out from his firing, Marc is still looking for answers. He turns to a journaling service, The Journal That Talks Back, for answers. He has three things on his mind: he wants to know why he was fired, what he should do next, and how he can keep this from happening again.
When reaching out to a certified responder, Marc listed all of the things he knew about his job. He described his coworkers, his own performance and the duties he had to complete in order to get the work done. He didn’t think too hard about this — after all, it was more a laundry list of his daily life than anything else.
What surprised Marc was the way his certified responder replied to the journal. Within hours of writing his thoughts out, the responder began asking critical questions about Marc, his job performance and his philosophy on work. With the help of the responder, Marc was able to see something he previously could not: his coworkers had complained about his performance for some time before he was actually fired.
In truth, Marc was often late to meetings, had organizational issues, and was occasionally uncourteous in large-group work settings. Over time these issues compounded and conflicted with the company direction, and Marc was let go.
While it was not easy to learn that he was not necessarily excelling at his job, Marc was thankful to finally have a better understanding as to why he was let go in the first place. With that knowledge, Marc was able to reflect and critically assess his own skills and shortcomings going forward.
With more information about his firing in hand, Marc moved onto searching for a new job. Before he got too deep into the job pool, his certified responder challenged him to think carefully about his next steps.
Why was Marc searching for another marketing job? While looking for a career in the same industry as the one he was just let go from was not necessarily a bad thing, it did merit some consideration. If Marc was let go, was marketing really the right career path for him? Was he inspired by the work he was performing, or was Marc simply “getting by?” And would another marketing job really be the answer to his problems, or would it just end up being another problem?
In Marc’s case, the answer was simple: he really did love marketing, and he felt as though he left his job before he’d had an opportunity to explore the industry further. By assessing his actions, Marc was able to decide that he was still interested in a marketing career, but he would need to work on himself and his job performance if he wanted to stay in the game. Together with his certified responder, Marc was able to reorient his outlook and come to new conclusions about how to approach the job search.
Nobody who gets fired wants to get fired again. That was true of Marc, too, so he asked about it in his journal. Within a half hour, his responder replied to him, asking a strange question.
They asked if getting fired really was the worst thing.
When he reflected upon it, Marc realized getting fired had not actually been a horrific experience. During this time, he learned a lot about himself, gained humility, reaffirmed his love for his career, and committed to improving his skillset. What was so bad about that, the responder asked?
The answer? Nothing! In the end, Marc realized that finding a “way” not to get fired was maybe not the healthiest way to think. Maybe the healthiest option was to think of things he could control, instead of things he could not. Marc couldn’t control being let go, but he could bolster his skill set, improve his outlook on life and reduce his anxiety about job loss.
After working on himself with a responder for several months, Marc realized he no longer feared the prospect of getting fired. If it happened? Well, then, it was going to happen. But Marc would no longer waste time worrying about it.
Now, Marc works a new marketing job. He consistently gets praise from his boss and his coworkers, and he makes sure to listen to those around him for ways in which he can improve. He received a raise last year, and he’s looking forward to a new campaign that he’ll be leading in the upcoming months.
Journaling for a stronger career
If you’ve been fired, chances are good your circumstances are not like Marc’s. But chances are also good that you could benefit from journaling with a certified responder. During this questioning period in your life, check out The Journal That Talks Back — and see if a certified responder can help you get the added clarity you need.