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I Was Fired. What A Gift.

Early in 1998, I was fired. (Please, no age jokes LOL)

I had just come off a high point in my career. After working for four years in the recruiting industry and being promoted twice, I had decided to move to another city and went to work for a competitor. I felt like a young hotshot back then, thinking that the only possible direction was up. What else could possibly happen?? I had done well. Six months later... I got canned.

At the time it seemed horrible, but looking back now it truly was a gift. It launched me into what people that know me now would consider to be “my career”. Before joining that company, I had considered going into partnership with former coworkers, but I had been greedy about the terms. After getting fired, I needed to get back to work quickly and went back to them, this time a little more humble, and worked out a deal to be a partner. Although that would end six years later, it gave me the confidence and knowledge I would need to later start my own company… the one I recently sold. What a wonderful opportunity getting fired can be!

So why do I share this story? It’s simple. Many times in life bad things happen, and it can seem like it’s over. It’s at those moments that we have a choice to make. Yes, sometimes a change of direction is appropriate; however, sometimes the change that needs to happen is to change our perspective of the situation.

What I didn’t mention yet is that I deserved to be fired. I had failed that company. A recruiter is judged by the number of successful placements they make, and I had only made two in six months. Plus, to top it off, both had failed almost immediately. That company had every right, and was in fact pretty smart, to fire me. I did go on to be successful in the industry, but there was no way for them to know that I had the potential. I had certainly not shown them any evidence. And in fact, I likely wouldn’t have been successful if they hadn’t fired me. Going through that experience made me reconsider how I operated and forced me to make some necessary changes. Being fired actually made me better.

The next time you come to a dead end of any kind, perhaps you are fired, lose a large piece of business, or have your best people resign, remember that it’s at that point that you have a choice to make. You can let the situation happen to you, or you can learn from the situation. My hope for you is that you always take the opportunity to learn from the setback. Sometimes the best thing that can happen to us is that we get fired.

As always, I wish you the best in all your endeavors.

Mark Goldman



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