What being fired for the first time taught me

I identify myself as a writer. If someone were to ask what I do I would more than likely say “I’m a writer.” The problem with this now is that I’m no longer paid to do this. When you’re involved in a creative field, such as writing, it’s a little bit more painful to be told that you’re just not good enough for a position. I imagine that being fired or let go from any job is a tough pill to swallow, but I think it’s even more so when you’re a writer or an artist or a musician. It’s like those terrible pills that you stare at in the palm of your hand and think “how the hell is this going to go down?” And after you finally get the courage to attempt this seemingly impossible feat, it still isn’t smooth sailing. It’s chalky; the pill residue is left for you to taste for a few moments; you can feel it slowly scrape its way down your throat. It’s not like one of those tiny rust colored Advils with the smooth coating on them that go down easily — sometimes two at a time — without a second thought. No, being told you’re not good enough for something that you’ve chipped off little parts of your self to create is a really terrible and painful pill to swallow.

We’ve decided that we don’t think it’s the best fit.

We’ve replaced you.

Not only is it terrifying in itself to show a glimpse of your inner thoughts to someone who has the power to say yes or no, it comes as even more of a shock when you don’t see it coming. When you think things are going so well. It reminds me of dating. Or a breakup that blindsided you. 

After ending what was already a difficult and stressful week with my first real encounter with being fired, I called a few close friends on my drive home and then proceeded to sit on the floor in my room. I still couldn’t really process what the hell had actually just happened. I stared at the bag of personal items that I’d taken from my desk and thought of all the things that I’d left there but had been too mentally impaired at the moment to remember as I was escorted from the building.

I know one day you’ll do great things somewhere that you’re truly happy. 

Tears in her eyes. A kiss on the cheek. A goodbye hug.

I tried to make myself cry. Put on my favorite crying music. Took a long shower. Still nothing. It wasn’t until I thought about having to tell my parents that I cried for the first time. My mom had just had a heart attack and I wasn’t really too keen on causing her to have another one. Also, I was terrified. Those of you who are first borns know what I’m talking about. Especially when you have one or two overachieving and successful younger siblings. 

After going back and forth with myself and a friend, I decided I had to call my dad and tell him. I took a deep breath and dialed my dad to break the news to him. I expected the worst. Some yelling. Anger for sure. What I didn’t expect was my dad’s real life reaction.

“Fraser, I am so sorry.”

At that moment I knew it was all going to be okay. We’d find the right time to tell my mom and we’d figure out a new plan for me. The week that I had been swirling around in, answering texts, messages, phone calls and other various inquiries regarding my mom’s health and then the loss of my income, finally stopped spinning. 

It was one of the moments where I realized, regardless of my lack of a career, my life is amazing. I have friends who are willing to drop whatever they’re doing and bring me Starbucks at the hospital, drive me more than 20 miles home so I can sleep in my bed instead of the waiting room, who tell me that I’m going to be fine and reassure me of my abilities and actually mean it. 

I normally use the term “blessed” in a joking and/or sarcastic sense but when I say it now, I mean it. I am truly blessed to have caring and understanding friends and family. I am also constantly surprised by the kindness of people I don’t know or barely know and their concern for my personal wellbeing. 

I have no clue what the future holds for me, but that’s kind of what I prefer. As I’ve said before, I don’t like to get too comfortable. I’m always wandering and wanting to be on the move. Being fired readjusted me. I mean, yeah it was embarrassing and I’m not extremely broke, it also reminded me of who I am and the kind of life I want. Which is not the life of being told what to write and having someone manipulate what I’ve written. It’s not staying in my tiny hometown forever (although I do love Camden). I would have just kind of preferred for it to have happened at the beginning of the summer rather than the end of the summer. I missed out on way too many beach weeks.


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