Thanks For Firing Me!

Have you ever been fired from a job? Have you walked into an office and had a manager tell you that it’s not working and they need to let you go? Have you experienced the range of emotions from feeling sorry for yourself, to feeling angry, upset or reflective?

Yep, I have been there!

I was 19 years old and working for an electrical company as a helper in Toronto. At that time, my goal was to be electrician and this was an opportunity to get my foot in the door. I was on the job only 2 weeks when they decided to have me self train on how to operate a forklift.

I was working at the Canadian National Exhibition and this company provided electrical services and lighting. As part of the role, I needed to operate a forklift and move lighting equipment. They had me practice driving a forklift around a small yard for 2 hours than decided to place the extended forks on the lift and send me to one of the busy buildings.

I am not making excuses, but the company should never have sent me to a busy building on a forklift without proper training. Unlike a car, when you drive a forklift, its easy (at least for a rookie) to misjudge how much space you need.

Well, some poor worker who was pushing a piano cut out in front of me in building got my forks driven in the back of his leg. It was my fault and I felt awful. I was sick to my stomach that I hurt the guy. I knew this accident would have consequences.

Sure enough a day later, I get pulled into the office and the general manager let me go. It seems the piano man and his company were going to seek legal action against the company. I was FIRED!

What is it like being fired?

It was awful. I had never been fired before and always had good relationships with my employers. I was mad and filled with self pity. What will my parents say? What was I going to do now? I had a career map and it was now smashed.

Over time you realize that you can’t change the past. I didn’t intentionally hit the guy. Sometimes things will happen and you need to roll with it. With every door that closes, another door will open up.

This experience sparked several changes that pushed me to university, and a long history in the finance and contact centre industry. Everything happens for a reason. Its hard but you can’t dwell on the past, you need to keep moving on.

Over the years, I’ve had to let call centre staff go. My own personal experience of being fired, helped me understand what its like being on the other side of the table. I am always empathetic and try to help the employee find a path that best suits them.

Letting staff go is not fun. Unfortunately it’s part of business. It’s part of life. But, keep your head up. When one door closes, it means you are that much closer to the door you are meant to open.

About the Author Ken Matthews

Ken Matthews is the VP of Collections at Peter Stephan Law Firm

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