I am writing this a while after this happened to me. Thankfully, I now have other employment where I feel like I am helping people in a way that’s personally less stressful overall. But after a completely isolating and difficult time, I felt it would be good to share my experience in the hope it helps someone who has been through something similar.
In August, I left my minimum wage job to start a new exciting adventure with an amazing sounding project. I was really excited yet nervous that I was taking this big step.
Three weeks later, I was fired.
It. Was. Horrible.
I am not going to go into full details of how and why I was fired, because it was a complicated situation. Part of me still feels disappointed and humiliated that this has happened to me but you can’t go back and change time. Maybe it was fate telling me that this was not the right thing for me, I wasn't mentally prepared for the stress and anxiety or I should not have rushed into something else so quickly after leaving a role in a similar field previously. It's a field I have great passion in so I constantly felt pressure to succeed in this, yet at the same time be financially stable that it affected my overall health and employment.
This was in the same year where I left freelance work because I had a panic attack so luck really wasn’t on my side. I have learnt a lot from this though, realising I need to focus more on my mental health rather than on what stage in my career I am in. And what helps my mental health is being able to support and help other people, which is what I do at my current work and through volunteering.
Here are some tips I have come up with from this experience that I hope will help someone.
1. Go to the Job Centre and get JobSeekers Allowance (Universal Credit/Housing benefit at local council) – It’s not enough to cover rent but at least you will have some money in your account and you will get support to help you find other work. The staff who helped me were incredibly reassuring and gave me a boost when I felt the worst, it was through them I found out about a recruitment event and was able to get an idea of a long-term plan. It's something to help you this next while if it takes a period of time to get back into work.
2. Apply for new jobs as soon as possible – Sounds bloody obvious but go to Indeed, Gumtree Jobs, look for council jobs, apply to loads of job vacancies to get yourself back into work. If you applied to previous jobs and got offers from them, get back in touch to see if something can be arranged. Luckily a relief job offer for me turned into a full-time offer. It doesn’t have to be full time though, there are a lot of part-time and temporary jobs out there.
3. Volunteer – I love volunteering, I am currently volunteering for a charity that does incredible work for children in Aberdeen. Through this period not in full time/part time work, I had this responsibility to contribute something positive to a young girl’s life and it’s been incredibly rewarding. I also had relief work in an after-school club where the children I worked with put a smile back on my face during a difficult time and staff were incredibly supportive, so it helped me a lot.
4. Look after yourself – The week after I was fired, I didn’t eat, my anxiety was at its worst, I isolated myself from friends and family for almost a month because all I felt was the shame. Don’t follow by my example. No matter what happens, your friends and family love you and think the world of you, even when you don’t fully believe in yourself. You'll be surprised by the amount of support that can come your way when you least expect it. Try not to punish yourself too much because it’s not going to get you anywhere. Look after your physical and mental health, exercise, learn breathing techniques, I recommend the Calm & Headspace apps for meditation, they're amazing.
5. Take this time to think what you really lot out of life – For me, I wanted to work on my mental health and stop piling on the pressure on myself to be on a certain step on the career ladder. After a period of working 3 or 4 part-time jobs in a row, my brain was exhausted and my body was achy, sore and stressed. Now I have one full-time job, one voluntary commitment and one important project which is my driving lessons.
I can completely understand how soul destroying being fired could be, whether you have been in a job for a short while or a long period of time. You feel that hardly anyone can comprehend what you are going through.
Nine times out of ten, being fired doesn’t mean that you are a failure in life and you can soon pick yourself up. They often talk about Steve Jobs originally being fired from Apple, then he was soon rehired as the CEO where Apple is the biggest company in the world.
There's my story, I have made a lot of mistakes in 2018. However, if I didn't make these mistakes, I wouldn't have learnt all of these lessons and have found the fulfilling opportunities I discovered after this employment, financial and emotional struggle.
Stay strong and focus on bringing yourself back up again. You can get there, believe in yourself.