Back in college, I had to take the Meyers-Briggs test in my marketing course. In a class of 15 or 20, I was the only person who scored the way I did–I think I was an INFP–Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling and Perceiving– I should probably look it up. But I was the ONLY one who got the results. Although other students had differences, there were usually a couple of people who shared the same results.
I asked my marketing professor what my classification meant and he said I’d either own my own company or get fired a lot. How’s that for building a young student’s esteem?
Looking back, they were wise words indeed. And helpful. The three times times I’ve been fired–yes–I’ve been fired three times–and no, despite what my grandmother said, it wasn’t because I “didn’t smile enough.”
But with each firing, I remembered my professor’s words. He reminded me that my fire-able actions were, to some extent, not entirely my fault. It was built into how I thought and processed information.
I have learned from all of my firings and that shows that they weren’t mistakes. It’s only a mistake if you don’t learn from it.
The last time I was fired (most recent?) I learned to be REALLY careful before I hit “Reply All” in an email. It goes to people you may not realize. It goes to people who have been blind cc’d. It is NOT a good button.
I also learned that I shouldn’t type anything in an email that I wouldn’t allow my pastor to read on the alter on Sunday. Does that mean I’m fake? No. Authentic. I can be factual but polite. I can take a position without tearing down someone else’s. I’ve also learned that not everyone appreciates or correctly interprets my wit and sarcasm.
The second time I got fired, I learned about perception vs. reality. I learned that the people in power aren’t always the most powerful people. I learned that you can end up taking the blame for things that don’t have anything to do with you.
In that job, I replaced a favored person. She was loved by everyone on staff but not by the President of the company. He transferred her to a different department and hired me to replace her. The administrative assistants HATED me. Loathed me. And used every opportunity to get me in trouble. I was in charge of designing marketing, PR and the corporate newsletter. The administrative assistants constantly complained to their managers that I “played with pictures” on the computer. Eventually, the high paid executives got tired of the complaining and asked me to leave. I learned that the quality of work doesn’t matter as much as politics.
And finally, the first time I was fired. This–the Bad Boss Contest–was the employer who fired me for the first time. When he called me into his office to let me go, I almost danced for joy. This man was the most bizarre person I’d ever worked for it. He ADD, OCD, ODD, and a million other multiple-letter diagnoses.
What I don’t have in this essay is the fact he made me sit through his IRS audit (is that legal?), made me send out thousands of multi-page mailing by myself, by hand because he wouldn’t pay for the automatic folder, sold students and their parents the “money for college” program, and received death threats while working in his office.