Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Truth Hurts?

I’ve heard it’s better not to tell future employers the truth about losing your job. My friend JP is a fan of the phrase “Management and I had an irresolvable difference of opinion regarding a company policy.” Others prefer the innocuous term “Laid off” and at least one person has told me to leave the last eighteen months off my resume completely. As if it didn’t exist. As if all the things I accomplished and learned just never happened. 

But it did exist, and I produced some truly wonderful work while at this agency. I also made some mistakes.  I’m not denying that.

There were four significant days that contributed to my painfully quick slide to demise. Let’s revisit: Day 1 – arrived for a meeting in Tempe that turned out to be in Paradise Valley. 45 minutes later I finally made it – late of course, but in good spirits, as were everyone else. Day 2 – got stuck in traffic on Interstate 60. That’s Phoenix commuting for you, and I did get there, just a bit late. Day 3 - simply did not book enough time between meetings to get from one to the other without being…you guessed it, late again. Day 4 - was so ready to prove myself that I had the meeting room set up fifteen minutes ahead and I sat by the office door waiting to greet the client and walk him to the conference room myself. 20 minutes later, I was informed that said client had entered the backdoor, found his own way to the conference room and the meeting had begun without me. My spirit crushed, I walked into the conference room and was for the last time – late.  That’s it, game over, thanks for playing.

While I try to make up for my shortcomings with wit and charm, intelligence and style, I do know that I had something to learn from this experience. And what did I learn? 1 – NEVER assume you know where a meeting is being held. 2 – Listen to NPR in order to hear traffic reports instead of rocking out to a CD the cute guy in PR gave you. 3 – Remember that the first of two meetings will always run long. And 4 – Pace a path between every possible door that a client could walk through. Better yet – put a tracking device on his Blackberry and lock the conference room door with the only key glued to your hand.

Brazen Careerist author Penelope Trunk opines that being fired is a time learn what you want in a job, and to articulate those things to a future employer. Right. And this would be me:

“Hello Mrs./Mr. Potential Employer. My ideal position would be one where I could be creative and strategic, where I could try out new ideas and work on alternate forms of revenue generating. Where I could make a difference in the world, and where I would never have to be on time for anything.” 

JP thinks this means I should go into business for myself. I would like to agree, but unless I plan to never work with or around any other human again, ever – I’m afraid I’m my options are limited. Being fired for this was awful. It was unnecessary and unhelpful, ridiculous and disheartening. Being early all the time is a pain, feels rigid and not even very possible. It sucks, but I’m going to do it. I have to – if only to be happy healthy well-adjusted and popular.  What do you think, friends?


Melissa said...

sorry you lost your job, but I had fun reading your post. Your witty writing keeps me reading. Keep it up. You might just be able to make money on this blog.

hodgepodgeillustration said...

Hi, I found your site through our blogroll, you're right below mine...anyway, I'm so sorry about you getting "laid off" ;) but you are a hilarious writer! I can't wait to hear the almost-sure-to-be-awful/funny interview stories. good luck!

Megan Michelle said...

Wow - to Melissa and hodgepodgeillustration - thanks so much for your comments - I thought only my mom read my blog. I appreciate your encouragement - I can't tell you how much it help

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