And the worst. The absolute worst.
It was a dissonant event in that I was fired from a position in which I’d been promoted, given a raise, and earned much praise for the quality, speed, and tenor of my work. A position in which I’d gone above and beyond.
Which filled me with existential angst and made me question everything about myself as an employee, worker, writer, human.
The work was fun, exciting–I loved it. I got to collaborate with other creative people. I had to be agile in my thinking about my work. I had to be willing and able to redirect with fluidity in 90-, and sometimes 180-degree turns.
The place, however, was less thrilling. While a lovely environment in many ways, the ways in which it was not were aggressive and untenable. I read it as hostile at the time, and even through the months (7 of them) and grieving process and perspective that have followed, I stand by that reading.
The people who love me were happy I got fired. They love me more than they love money. That is the first thing I learned, and I am so grateful.
I got unemployment for six months that bought me some time to read myself and my life and do some prioritizing.
To paraphrase Virginia Woolf, all we need is a little money, time, and room of our own.
I told myself I’d get a real job if I couldn’t make a go of my soap business.
I made goals and rolled with the plan I’d already put in place to get out of the hostile working environment. That plan was to do enough shows and make enough soap and drive my internet sales up so that I could quit within the year.
Unemployment meant I couldn’t make any money at my business, so it forced me to dump every cent I earned back into the business, to diversify my products and learn how to make lots of new things. To study how to do business. Which was empowering. (and scary)
Getting fired pulled the rug out from under me when I was in an extremely vulnerable financial situation. Thank the Universe for my well-employed romantic partner. I’d be so fucked without him.
But I needed the time. I’ve been working since I was 15. That’s 20 years now. Most of the time 2, 3, 4, jobs. I’m burned out.
And I’ve amassed quite a diversity of skills. I do not lack ambition or self-direction.
The truth of my ambition is the first thing that made me question the bootstrap theory of the American Dream. If it were true that all you need to do to be a rich, successful person is to work hard and have a good attitude, I would be a gazillionaire. But that is a subject for another post. #feelthebern.
Getting fired is the best because it forced me to function without a backup plan. I had to get cozy with the notion that my options for writing jobs in this part of the country are limited, teaching in my field feels increasingly unlikely, even when I do publish a book, and that it’s time to embrace the thing I always return to: self employment.
So last week, my homegirl and I opened a little shop inside an artists’ cooperative. We kicked ass our first weekend. I am excited about going to work for the first time in YEARS.
In fact, I’m going there in 21 minutes. You should come by and see us. We have great products, big knowledge, and we are so fun to hang out with.
And shit is still wicked hard. I’m still in a really vulnerable financial place. I’m still terrified and full of self-doubt. But.
And this is a big but.
I am powerful.
I am learning about myself. I am doing what I want to do. I already have success.
Getting fired forced me to switch my thought process.
I used to think of myself as an abundance thinker. But I was not. I was a scarcity thinker in the moment. I was a suspended abundance thinker. Like, That abundance is mine someday when I am done working really hard for nothing. But today I have nothing.
A friend of our shop heard me doing faulty mantras. She said, “Stop saying, you’re going to. Because when? When will that happen? You have it now.”
Getting fired and everything that followed forced me to practice radical abundance visualization. This is what I say to myself anytime the devil mistress of anxiety, doubt, and fear shows up (even though she is very pretty and I am addicted to her): “I have more than I want. I have more than I need. I have everything I want. I have everything I need. I am successful. I am brilliant.”
And after the first quadrillion recitations, it started to feel less like a lie.
And another hundred recitations past that, it is my truth.
The month we were in the shop before we opened, we made our overhead (rent + utilities), without even trying. Our first two days, we doubled our overhead + 20%.
And now, ya’ll sit back and watch this bitch manifest.
It’s going to be quite a ride.