Why getting fired was the best thing that’s happened to me this year
By Keshwar Baghat, guest blogger
I was fired from my job in March 2020 of this year because of COVID.
That day seemed surreal. Getting laid off was something I had heard happening to other people, but how could it be happening to me?
I had never experienced this feeling of cluelessness and emptiness. My emotions and sense of control were spiraling downwards. For the next few days, I leaned in to feeling despair and desperate, running through the rigmarole of “Why me?” and “How could this have happened?”
Feeling awful after a shocking and difficult life change is normal. It was cathartic to get the feelings out.
But then enough was enough.
A sudden resolve to rise, end the self-pity, and take charge took fruit. My new thought became “Carpe diem” – seize the day. And to start, I shared my experience.
I gave a speech about being laid off to my Toastmasters Club, a public speaking group with thousands of groups worldwide to help people improve their communication and leadership skills.
To my surprise, it touched a chord. A few club members shared that they were going through the same thing and that it’d be helpful to talk it over more together, lighten the burden, and share our pain. I was relieved to know I wasn’t alone. During challenging times like we’re facing together during this pandemic, it’s helpful to remember that while we might be sailing in different boats, we’re all battling the same storm.
The next step I took was to declare a new lockdown mantra: DON’T SAY NO.
Before COVID and losing my job, there were a ton of things I said I had wanted to do but just didn’t have the time for. Now time wasn’t an excuse. In fact, time was all I had.
I agreed to train a new batch of club executives in Toastmasters. Then I accepted a request to be a guest speaker at a French club. And then I began assisting Toastmaster directors for all of southern Ontario, giving speeches, sharing ideas, and hobnobbing with some of the most elite speakers and leaders.
Eventually, I connected with Satori’s owner, Darrell, to help him with a digital marketing project he was spearheading. While I expected to learn a lot from the experience, what caught me off guard was just how much I would love digital marketing. A new interest was unleashed and learning this new thing about myself, led me to pursue further studies in the field.
It’s funny how life gives us opportunities every day to build the tomorrow we want, if only we’re open to them.
All of these projects were things I had never done before and that made me nervous. Before March, I would’ve said no but now, my new mantra told me to stop saying no to opportunities that came knocking at my door. These new roles were hard work but they taught me more about myself and led to learning new skills, building self-confidence, and growing into a stronger person.
Has this year gone exactly the way I had intended? No.
But, was that bad? Also no.
I believe that people come into your life and things happen for a reason. Maybe I got laid off because there’s something more out there for me. Certainly, I wouldn’t have improved my communication and leadership skills as much, and found a new field in digital marketing, if it weren’t for that painful day in March.
It’s likely your plans for this year have also been derailed. For most of us, the fewer nights out with friends, family visits, and other social activities have meant more time on our hands.
Are you making the most of it? Doing things that before you said you couldn’t do because you had no time?
We’re going to have bad days. Bad weeks, even. But it’s important to remember what we can and can’t control, and to take action to get to the other side.
After all, the only way to go after being knocked down is … up.
Now, I’d love to hear from you. Was there an obstacle or challenge you’ve faced that turned out to be a blessing in disguise? If so, share a comment with what you’ve learned so we can all learn from each other.