How Getting Fired Was The Best Thing That Happened To Me
I started my career in Corporate America in October 1997, just 3 short months after my high school graduation. I remember getting on the bus and riding 45 minutes away from San Francisco to a temp agency, excited about the new world that awaited me.
I clearly remember every single person in that office. As soon as I walked in, all eyes were on me. I strutted in without a care in the world, handed them my high school diploma and asked for a job.
My motto has always been, “What the hell?!”
Even so, I can still remember the look on their faces; to a person, they were full of surprise and disbelief.
Even at 17, I had some fire in me. Maybe too much for my own good.
That day, I walked out of that temp agency with a job.
My first job was as a QC Analyst (whatever the hell that means) for one of the top financial investment firms in the world. I was promoted within three months, and just like that I was earning $10 an hour while my friends were in college.
I’m not sure what drove me that day to show up at that agency, but I’m glad I did.
I learned as much I could, networked and was promoted from QC Analyst (turns out, it was just a data-entry job) to Executive Assistant, and from that to Program Manager, and so forth up the chain.
Fast-forward 15 years, and I had worked for some of the most prestigious companies in the world, still making more than most of my peers who went off to college and earned themselves a four-year degree.
College was never my thing; it wasn’t hands-on enough for me.
I’d be lying to you if I told you it was all a bed of roses – because it wasn’t. I learned some invaluable lessons while working in Corporate. Sometimes those lessons came from being mentored by great minds. At other times I was bullied and harassed.
No matter what I did, how much I learned, and how well I did, I never belonged. I made some people uncomfortable, and very few saw my potential. In the 15 years I spent in corporate, I had two bosses who elevated me, saw my potential and provided opportunities for me to grow; the rest pretended not to see me.
The truth is that I was thirsty for knowledge and was quite outspoken, and I often challenged the status quo.
To be fair, let’s just say that I wasn’t exactly Miss Let-Me-Sit-In-A-Corner-And-Take-Notes. I’ve always needed to understand why I was doing a particular “thing”; it’s never made sense to me that someone would tell me to “just do it”, especially if the person added “and do it just like this.”
It turns out, people who demand that you do something without asking questions don’t really know what the hell they’re doing.
Asking “why?” got me fired twice in my career, the last time being in 2012. Being let go put a huge dent in my ego. For the first time in my life I felt like a failure. A very foreign place for me to be, it was the most uncomfortable I had ever been in my own skin.
When I look back at those two incidents, all I can think is that I knew even then that I didn’t fit in. Still, I see my entire career, even the difficult jobs and bosses, as serving a useful purpose.
My head and heart had outgrown Corporate but my body…my body was still very much stuck in the familiar.
I eventually outgrew Corporate because I could never learn how to put my head down and simply take instructions. I failed at Corporate because I could always see the bigger and better picture.
The Universe had to toss me out on my butt for me to get it. I had to go through the struggle to understand that entrepreneurship, carving my own path was the only way for me.
For those of you trying to take that leap of faith out of Corporate, I can tell you that I get it. The struggle is real!
But the beauty is that, even though you are drawn to creating your own path, others are available to guide you and offer you the support you need to create your own blueprint. These same people can give you the benefit of their knowledge and tools from their own toolkits that have helped them, so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
If you’re ready to break the shackles of the 9-to-5 and make the leap into entrepreneurship, I have the solution for you. This signature coaching program includes Mindset + Strategy + Execution, it’s a complete blueprint on how to position yourself for success.
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