You’re Fired! How Getting Fired Fueled My Desire to Take my Novel Seriously [Part 1]

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True Story:

On a warm, Thursday in March. The first hour of the work day, I spent walking around downtown St. Pete. From the Rowdies Stadium to Mickey’s Organic Cafe, where I purchased a green apple and wheat grass smoothie. As I sipped my drink, I contemplated, how am I going to quit my job?

Rewind to the weekend prior, my best friend’s mother took me to Treasure Island. We walked on the beach until sundown. Depressed, I told her everything.

I hated my job.

I hated being used.

I hated life in general.

I want out.

She sat me down on a blanket, facing the calm waves, and said:

My father told me to never quit a job until you have another one lined up. Just wait, you need to have a new job, first.

She’s right, keep the job that bled me dry. Little did she know, her father’s advice was on my mind for over three months. I realized, I’m a sell out.

The things I’m about to mention to this day make my stomach turn, but I did it all for the sake of keeping a job:

  • Replaced my friend after she was laid off, and trained her replacement.
  • Helped prepare and clean-up after a retirement party (went to work the next morning).
  • Worked the front desk part-time, and even took the receptionist’s place, while she was sleeping off a hangover from the retirement party.
  • Continued smiling and greeting my managers and superiors, despite my burning anger towards them.
  • Set-up and cleaned-up after all of the corporate and non-corporate meetings
  • Went into work at 6am and left at 6pm to catch up on work the trainee messed up.
  • Oh, and I did my assigned job without complaint…for the most part.

The funny thing about all this, if I’d said no to at least two of the things on this list. I’d probably still have a job.

That Thursday around 4:30pm, I was called into my manager’s office. My manager’s office was tiny. He had a large window that once had a view of the Bay. Now a giant high-rise blocked that view. The HR sat to my right. My manager sat across from me. He smiled the way you smiled at someone who’s about to put their dog down. He turned to the HR, she sat a manila folder in front of me, and in a placid, yet assertive tone, she said:

We noticed that you’ve lost your enthusiasm in the workplace… So, we’re going to have to part ways… I’m sorry, but we made this decision in your best interest.

I glanced at the folder, picked it up, and she continued on. The rest of the conversation sounded like this “….stipend…sign here…get your belongings….go home…”

After our one-sided conversation, the HR escorted me back to my desk. She told me not to touch my computer. I asked, if she wanted the parking decal back. She said, no.

I grabbed my belongings, opened the manila folder, and looked over the paperwork. Back in the manager’s chilly office, he thanked me for my time well spent. I shook his hand. The HR told me that I had twenty-one days to decide to sign the paperwork in order to receive my stipend. I handed her the folder. Thanked her and said, I signed it already.

She blinked, stunned.

A different manager escorted me to my car. That was the first year, I was allowed to park on the third level with the other executives and tenured employees.

She wished me good luck.

I don’t believe in luck. I believe in purpose.

I peeled the parking decal off the window of my brand new Nissan Rogue, balled it up and dropped it in the parking garage.

Going ninety in a thirty-five. My windows down, favorite song; Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time, by Panic at the Disco, blasted from the speakers. My eyes brightened. I reached my apartment, where my mother stood outside getting the mail. I pulled up beside her and screamed at her:

Mom it finally happened. I got fired!

To Be Continued…

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