What I Learned Over My Termination
Fired. Of course they don’t say that. "We're going in another direction Joe, it's not based on your performance." It still stings. The plain and painful truth is - There’s no job for me on television where there once was. I've been through this before, TV and radio have a reputation of changing directions that sometime throw you from the ride. It's never easy but I'm trying my best to look on the bright side. Truth is, there are some wonderful side effects from losing a job. Here's what I learned from my latest “occupational realignment.”
Punching the Clock ... Getting the most out of time. Lose your job, get more time. It’s like winning the lottery, without all the money and security. Now I will be able to get the yard work done by the end of May, reorganize my closet by the end of June, put all cereal boxes and canned foods in alphabetical order by the end of July and drive my wife completely nuts by the end of August. I really am going to try to use the best of my time, which means making a daily schedule — even if there is nothing on it. It reminds me that the time is there. Use it or lose it.
Unexpected attacks of compassion ... I was walking out of the movie theatre with my family and a couple approached me. They offered their prayers for me, my family and my future. I didn't know them personally but they knew my situation.
The fact that they knew about my job loss at Channel 3 was a huge benefit. I didn’t have to tell them I was hurting - they already knew. People who feel ashamed to let others know they’ve lost their job miss out on so much warmth, support and insight, not to mention a possible job lead or new opportunity. Announce it. The feedback might surprise you.
Creative sparks ... Being out of work can open up your mind to new ideas. Albert Einstein once said, “The secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources.” Smart guy, that Einstein. Early in his life, when people didn’t think he was all that bright, Albert had a hard time finding work as a teacher and ended up taking a mundane job in a patent office. His mind would often wander, and he would think of all the what-ifs. He credited a lot of that daydreaming with his revolutionary Theory of Relativity.
I’ve forced myself to daydream, to think of things I’ve never thought of before. So far I’ve come up with gas-powered batteries, lemon-flavored limes, self-cleaning dishwashers, self-propelled garbage cans (they put themselves out on trash day) and candles made of ice. (They put themselves out, too!) I’m still working on the design for a clothes closet that covers an entire bedroom floor (my four sons gave me that idea). Creativity fuels ambition, and that’s what gets me off the couch.
Here’s hoping ... The most powerful side effect of my recent career interruption has been hope. We’ve all heard the word a lot lately. “I hope you’re doing OK. I hope the economy turns around. I hope you get a job on TV again.”
Since I lost my job, there have been highs and lows. But surprisingly, it’s when I’m at my lowest that I receive the most hope. When my former boss took me in his office and laid out the bad news I was numb. It wasn't easy telling my wife and four sons. But then hope took over. I immediately began reassuring them that everything was going to be OK. They believed me and, just as importantly, I believed myself.
Hope is the seed that grows all things. It’s the spark that ignites the idea, the calm that provides the peace, the energy that keeps us all going. Who knew my ex-employers would give me so much attached to a pink slip?