Lessons in Losing My First Job

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It happens to the best of us. Sometimes we see it coming, and sometimes it comes out of absolutely nowhere.

My recent job loss was the latter. I wish I could say there were signs of it coming, but it was just like any other normal day. I woke up, got dressed, headed to work, and by the end of my lunch break I found myself without a job.

It’s difficult and frustrating every day, but as I wade through this unfamiliar territory, I find myself looking for lessons from the experience. I know that there are plenty, but here are just a few that I’ve come up with in the two weeks I’ve had to think on it since it happened. 

1. Listen To Your Instincts 

About a month ago, I contemplated leaving the job because I didn’t like the way my position was being handled. As a temporary hire for a lady on maternity leave, the position was potentially permanent depending on whether the lady wanted to come back and what her terms would be if she did. As her return quickly approached, I was left completely out of the loop, not knowing whether I should prepare to look for another job or if I’d get to stay.

I later found out through another co-worker’s inquiry that they’d decided they would keep me to weed through and file 7 years’ worth of unorganized, unalphabetized files—by myself!—while they put the other lady back up front as receptionist.

I didn’t like my downgrade from receptionist to what was essentially grunt work, and I hated even more their lack of communication with me throughout the process.

Nearly everyone around me told me to stay anyway because the fact that they were even trying to find something for me to do was evidence that they liked my work and wanted to keep me along with the other girl. They had a point, but still I was conflicted about staying or not.

I’ve heard Oprah say many times, “An “I don’t know” is a no,” meaning any indecision about something is your gut telling you not to do it. I should have listened to myself, but the combination of having everyone in my ear telling me to stay and the stability I knew I had (as opposed to having to search for something else), plus knowing they did actually like my work kept me there.

Had I left when I first thought about it, I would have left amicably and on my own terms. As it stands now, I was fired on their terms, and to say it was a nasty split would be a slight understatement.

Lesson learned? Listen to your gut when it speaks; it’s there for a reason.

2. Never Compromise What You Stand For

The cause of the firing was essentially a dispute that happened between another co-worker and me. Honestly, the entire thing could have been resolved fairly easily between the two of us. Instead, the wildfire spread too quickly and by the end of my lunch break, I was jobless. 

Is it true that if I’d let her behavior slide, I would still have a job? Probably. But is it also true that I would have been angry and even disappointed in myself if I hadn’t taken up for myself? Absolutely.

Yes, doing so ended up costing me my job, but I know I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself letting her speak to me that way if I hadn’t. No paycheck is ever worth any kind of mistreatment and despite the less-than-desirable outcome, I don’t regret standing up for myself.

3. Have Faith That Things Are Working Out Exactly The Way They’re Supposed To

So here I am once again, a jobless twenty-something recent grad. The easy thing to do would be to start worrying. After all, with the economy still recovering, jobs aren’t exactly a dime a dozen out here. And let’s not forget my good friend Sallie Mae who comes knocking every month. That’s plenty enough reason to panic about not having a steady stream of income.

But I’m not going to.

I promised myself I would give up stress, fear, and worry, so I’m sticking to it. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. I don’t know what the reason was for having the proverbial rug pulled out from under me so unexpectedly, but I am confident it will reveal itself to me in due time. Until then I’m making the best of the situation as I pursue some of my many other interests and endeavors while I search for a new job.

Briana Gunter is a young writer searching to find her niche in the world of words, and in the world in general. She enjoys anything that allows her to express her creativity, be it music, writing, or crafting, and jumps at any opportunity to learn something new. Email her at Briana@ForHarriet.com and follow her on Twitter @DiamondCut1902 for her daily thoughts and musings; she loves interacting with her followers!

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