5 Great Things About Getting Fired

It’s been nearly two months since I was fired. I’ve had moments of near terror where I cannot seem to move or do much of anything. But then, I suddenly remember that I am completely free. I don’t have to go into that ugly office anymore. The swing is so great and happens so fast between one feeling and another that it is hard for me to get a handle on the enormity of what my life actually IS right now.

For me, as with most of us, the biggest worry about having no job is financial. I have a whole series with practical ideas for saving money: How to Make Your Money Go Further.

But is there anything good about being fired?

I made a list. It turns out that I have two main themes that bring me great joy from being jobless: FREEDOM and TIME. I guess freedom really encompasses time because if you have freedom, you don’t need to worry about time! I break them down anyway because the sub-headings have been so important to me.

It has really surprised me how much time – the concept of it – has impacted my life up to this point. Mostly without my being really aware, which is kind of frightening. I mean, what if I didn’t find this out until I was on my deathbed?!

Here are the 5 best things about being fired:

1/ Freedom to Do What You Want To Do

Literally, there is nowhere you have to be at a certain time. I shut my alarm clock off the day I came home and it remains dark. Sometimes I look at it and smile.

I can do what I want, when I want. Sometimes I decide supper should be at 3. Sometimes I go for a walk when I “should” be preparing a meal because the sun is shining and beckoning me outside.

After years of homeschooling my kids I can tell you this: there really is no such thing as doing “nothing.” If you have just been fired or find yourself without a job, you may worry that you’ll do nothing but watch TV and eat bon bons. You certainly might do that for a week or two! But soon, you will begin to emerge and find yourself doing all kinds of things.

The big worry for many parents who embark on homeschooling is that their kids will fall behind school kids. They won’t allow their kids any “down” time and they lay on the busywork and the reading lists. My son quickly tossed that notion on its head and refused to play along. I realized that I was sacrificing some of his creative and novel pursuits for a fear that I held. I backed off and observed.

Observe & Trust

He came up with so many excellent ideas that involved weeks of learning various things. He’d be studying diagrams, scavenging, woodworking, community building (to get his friends to help), and then learn first hand why safety requirements are important (nothing like watching a metal Tonka truck flying 20 feet in the air to get your heart pumping).

I remember watching school kids in July after getting out for summer break roaring around the neighbourhood frantically. By the end of August they settle into doing all kinds of interesting stuff. I knew I would begin to do things organically once I was able to cast off the phantom chains of full-time employment. I don’t need to force myself to clean something or do something just to be busy. If I just have a little patience with myself, I will do things in a natural way with much more enthusiasm and grace. This is how I’ve been able to get to those pesky organizing and cleaning projects around here! Which brings me to…

2/ Time for Practical Things

I’ve darned all my socks. Holes in my sweatpants, in my favourite pillowcase and comforter – all fixed. I’ve even sewed gifts for friends and family for Christmas and made cat toys for the cats. I’ve written letters, responded to op-eds in the local paper, mailed a letter to the PM. There is time to do all of the things I’ve been putting off for years. I am the first one in the ‘hood to shovel my driveway, organize and put out my garbage and recycling on time, clean my front entry, etc. Chores are easy for me now and give my life a kind of routine that is…dare I say it…enjoyable!

One thing I need to do is brush up my resume. I am still healing from the sorrow of being fired. I am not sure I can smile yet. Hey! The one good thing about a mask – no one can see if I’m smiling or sticking my tongue out!

Still, I need to earn some money so will need to jump into the workforce in some form or another. I hope that I can find people that I have something in common with. I’ve been alone so much at work over the past five years, but it wasn’t until I lost my job that I realized the next best thing about being fired:

3/ Freedom From Phony Relationships

Each of us knows that at work, you must put aside many aspects of yourself in order to get along with people you only have one thing in common with: you happen to work at the same place.

I always hope I’ll find a friend at work but at my last job, I spent every day at work with only one person. There were just the two of us in the office and a handful of people in other locations that we didn’t see often.

This guy was a “true believer” of vaccination and the government’s handling of the pandemic. It became difficult to talk about any aspect of our lives without inadvertently stumbling on something pandemic or vaccine related. Because he got to carry on in his life, hang out with his friends, go curling or play hockey as he always had, I was the one who had very little to contribute to our casual conversations on a Monday morning. What had I done on the weekend? Attended another protest – probably shouldn’t mention it. Stayed in – again. Gets old, why say anything? I’d turn the conversation and get him talking about his weekend fun.

Nothing Worse Than a Gloater!

He kind of gloated about his freedoms. That could be my sensitivity talking, though. I admit I felt some little resentment that he couldn’t be more understanding of what I was going through. The only time he directly brought up vaccination, he demanded to know why I hadn’t gotten it yet. He didn’t want to know my reasons. (If you want to know, some of my reasons are here and here.)

Over the course of the five years we worked together, I had learned that he couldn’t stand any emotional conversation so I kept most of my feelings as well hidden as I could. I know he didn’t worry about getting Covid from me. We both knew I didn’t go anywhere or do anything. The government had made sure of that. Plus, I live alone. He was the only person I saw every day.

True Colours

He was a guy who could quote the government policy and rule on everything. Still, I thought he cared for me as his special and only co-worker at the office, despite our differences. This is why I cut him so much slack and still thought of him as a friend. I thought our relationship would be more important to him than a government policy. I was wrong.

He forwarded a government vaccination policy to our Board of Directors that they were then forced to adopt. He knew he was throwing me under the bus. I know this because I heard him on the phone saying, “Yeah, it’s too bad but what do ya do?” In the words of Cindi Lauper, “I see your true colours shining through.”

While I wish him and his family well, I am so glad I never have to see him again. He hurt me more than he will ever know.

Be Positive

But this is a positive list! Isn’t it great that I know who truly has my back? Who I can count on in an emergency? (A post on this theme: Why Keep Score? A Quick Way to Find Out Who Is Important in Your Life) My best friend, also a True Believer, became outraged when I finally worked up the courage to tell her that I’d lost my job. Other people have come forward to support me as well.

My neighbours gave me not only a lovely Christmas card, but homemade goodies and a gift certificate for groceries. I burst into tears when I saw that. How absolutely kind!

4/ Time for Reflection

I like to think about why things happen and how I respond to these things. Getting fired forced me to notice a pattern in my life: losing a relationship and then being fired – in that order, twice now. Was I supposed to do something after the first time but instead panicked and jumped right back into a job and a relationship?

I lost both again. I will say, the second time has not been nearly as devastating – or maybe I’m getting used to loss. Or just numbed down.

I don’t know what I’m supposed to do but panicking and jumping back into a relationship OR a job cannot be done right now, even if I broke down and tried to! If I did go onto a dating site, I couldn’t even go out to a restaurant or a movie because I am unvaccinated. So, that’s out.

As for work, I have a “career” where I work in an office and again, that’s out. Who would hire an unvaccinated office worker? Not any level of government, where I am used to working and making decent money (although not on the real team and only as a contract worker). Those are all out now, meaning that any work I take on will have to be completely different.

I would also like to work part-time and not full-time anymore. Can this be done financially? I only have so much time left and frankly, do not feel like giving it away without being very thoughtful about it.

Time vs. money. The age old conundrum that forces you to look at your life through a very specific lens – how much is your life worth?

5/ Time for the Truly Meaningful Things in Your Life

I am on the backside of my 50s. Time isn’t something I thought much about in my 30s or 40s. When I did think about time, I would say, “I’ll have time to try that later,” or, “I’ll do that when I retire.”

Like nearly everything important in my life, I have had my ass handed back to me. Later, apparently, is NOW.

Take my reading list, for example. I finally finished Middlemarch and have been working my way through several other books I’ve wanted to read for years. I’ve also found time to read books that grabbed my interest at a second-hand book shop and am reading one I bought after seeing an interview with the author on YouTube. (Conform or Be Cast Out: The Literal Demonization of Nonconformists by Logan Albright. My blog post mentioning Logan can be found here: Conform or Be Cast Out: Have Courage Unvaccinated Friends)

Sometimes I’ll be in the middle of an interesting book at night and a feeling of “Oh, no!” comes over me as I realize I’ve been reading late into the night. But then I remember: I can sleep in if I need to!

On Writing

Then there are the really important things I’ve put off since I was 10. Like writing. I enjoy writing – I love words. Playing with them, sounding them out, just letting them fall as they will. I am writing nearly every day now, since I’ve been canned. Sometimes I sit down to write and when I look up, the day is done. I am completely happy here, with you.

I would like to stay here, I really would. But there are still practical necessities that require me to give a piece or two of myself away.

I’ll be back, though. Now that I know how important our relationship really is. Keep on truckin’!


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