“You always pass failure on the way to success.” – Andy Rooney
I did not post much in 2014 because I was busy. Very busy.
Along with running my nonprofit Blue Faery and editing my book, I accepted a full-time position with Compassion & Choices as their Los Angeles Development Manager. I loved my job. I had made a list of all the things I wanted in a new job, and this one hit every bullet point. I got everything I wanted from salary to commute time to flexibility to duties. I was excited to go to work every morning. I received a positive 90-day review along with a 10-percent raise. Less then two weeks later, I was interrogated for 75 minutes, placed on a three-day administrative leave, and fired the Friday before Memorial Day. I experienced a barrage of emotions: shock, sadness, anger, and later: acceptance. I decided the only way to get through something like that was to take the high road. I sent a care package to the corporate office in Denver because most everyone there was supportive during my tenure. I delivered a printer and remaining materials I had in my possession to the Hollywood office. Most importantly, I wrote a letter to my former boss. Enjoy.
When someone has experienced the greatest loss of her life — the death of her child, sister, and best friend — she lives her life without fear, which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because she is not afraid to ask people for money, to cold-call strangers, or to walk into a business to request an in-kind gift for a charitable event. A curse because her lack of fear sometimes causes her to take greater risks than she should. Without fear in her life, a woman possesses security and confidence in her choices, her abilities, and her judgment. When she makes a mistake (and we all do), a fearless woman doesn’t quiver in her boots. She recognizes it, apologizes for it, regrets it, rectifies it, and expresses remorse for it. However, her fearlessness remains intact, and unfortunately, people may misjudge her because she is not afraid to err. She is not afraid to fail. She is not afraid.
I still support the mission of Compassion & Choices. I fully expect to see a proposed Death with Dignity law on my 2016 ballot. I will, of course, vote yes.
Andrea J. Wilson
P.S. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to fail forward.
I waited almost a year to post this letter (the first time) because I was concerned it would bite me in the ass. Also, I was embarrassed about what had happened. But you know what? Being fired is not the worst thing in the world. I’m not going to pretend it was fun, but when the universe bitch-slaps you, it’s a sign to wake up. Pay attention. I got everything I thought I wanted in a job. Everything. I was doing well enough to earn a good 90-day review and a 10-percent raise. I racked up multiple quantitative achievements in a short amount of time. But it wasn’t enough.
If I had not been fired, I would have stayed at that job because I liked it. BUT it would have prevented me from doing what I was meant to do with my life: coach, write, and advocate.
- Tweet: Being #fired made me look deep inside myself.
- Tweet: Being #fired made me more honest about what I wanted both personally and professionally..
- Tweet: Being #fired made me care a lot less about what other people thought.
- Tweet: Being fired made me embrace who I was was and what I wanted from life.
I don’t want to work Monday – Friday eight hours a day for someone else in an office somewhere else. I like working whenever I want, which is in chunks of time throughout the day, often after midnight, and almost every day of the week. I like working from my home office where I am free to stretch, walk, and talk out loud (like I’m doing right now). I like making my own schedule, which means having the flexibility to do online meetings, conduct live workshops, and attend networking events. I like that working for myself means I can volunteer for my nonprofit without worrying about losing my job.
There are cons, of course, to being an entrepreneur, but overall, they are minor compared to the pros. So while I’m not happy I was fired, I am grateful I had that experience because it was the catalyst that began a series of radical changes in my life, which led me to where I am now.
Have you ever been fired? Did the experience provoke a change in your life? I read all the comments, and I would love to hear your story.
P.S. Previously posted on my former blog Pondering happiness, hope, and wisdom on March 19, 2015, I hope you enjoyed this post about a letter I wrote to the boss who fired me.