(Expected 6 Minutes Reading Time)

When I was 18 I took a job as a pizza delivery boy. I liked eating pizza and my last name is Italian so I figured this was a no brainer. My job was to drive around and drop off food at people’s houses. Pretty simple, right? Well, I quickly ran into problems. First of all I owned a car that was just as old as I was, a 1983 Oldsmobile, and it broke down about every 5 minutes. This turned in to a big problem because one of the most important parts of being a delivery boy is timeliness. It wasn’t long before customers started calling in to complain that their deliveries were extremely late. On top of that there were often complaints that several chicken wings went missing from the orders. How that happened I have no idea. But I do know that I gained about 10 pounds in the first two weeks of that job.

Anyway, I got bored of the pizza delivery business fairly quickly. So when I was scheduled to work on a Saturday I decided to call in a reliever and send an understudy in my place.

I was in the middle of playing a video game with my buddy Brett and I just wasn’t feeling the work thing so I turned to Brett and said, “Hey man, I’m supposed to go to work and deliver pizzas. How about you go instead?”

“What are you talking about man? I don’t even work there.”

“It’s cool, all you have to do is drive around and deliver pizzas.”

“Um, OK.”

In my mind there was nothing wrong with this plan. Literally not one negative consequence entered my mind. Never mind the fact that he wasn’t employed by the pizzeria, had never met the people who worked there, and had never delivered food in his life. Nope, nothing wrong with this plan at all.

Around starting time the owners looked out their window to see Brett pull up in his trusty steed, a more than slightly used white-on-white Cadillac that ran about 23 feet in length. She was a beauty. Brett strolled in and announced himself as the delivery guy. “Hey everyone, I’m Brett. I’m here to deliver your pizzas”. He got a response that was equal parts “Who the hell are you?” and “We’re going to kill Tony”.

The owners had no choice but to send Brett out because they needed a delivery boy that day. So, they gave him a few pizzas and sent him out to conquer the delivery business.

“Being fired does not have to define you.”

Welp, it turns out that wasn’t the best idea. Within 5 minutes of pulling out of the pizzeria parking lot Brett hit a parked car and totaled that gorgeous Caddy. Brett’s dreams of being a pizza delivery boy were destroyed along with the car. My reliever had failed me!

Needless to say, that was the end of my pizza delivery career.

This is just one of my many stories about getting fired. In fact, I’ve was fired from every job I had in High School and College. Every One. So take it from me, getting fired doesn’t mean that you suck. It simply means it wasn’t the right situation for you. Whether you are fired for cause or you are fired as part of broader layoffs you need to know that being fired does not have to define you.

It doesn’t mean you are worthless, it doesn’t mean that you have no skills, and it doesn’t mean that you are of lesser value than you perceived yourself to be the day before you were fired. Stuff happens. Sometimes things just don’t work out.

If you were fired for cause, it means you did not perform well enough. But it’s too simplistic to just label yourself as an underperformer and beat yourself up over it. There is usually a bigger reason for your lack of performance.

Often the poor performance is the result of the person not liking the job enough to give it their complete effort. If that is the case, do you really want to work at a job that you don’t like? Your job consumes about 50% of your life. That’s a pretty bad way to go through life. Maybe getting fired isn’t always as bad as we first think.

Look at my pizza delivery job above. I didn’t get fired because I couldn’t adequately drive a car or hand someone a pizza. Those are easy skills to master. Instead, I was fired because I didn’t care about the job and so I didn’t try. It wasn’t the right situation for me and I should have been fired.

I sucked at that particular job because I didn’t try, but that doesn’t mean I sucked on a grander level. I knew I was smart and could do the job, I just didn’t give effort. If I didn’t want to get fired the next time, I would have to put in more effort. But that made me think, “Maybe I don’t want to give more effort in a job like this. I mean, if I get fired from delivering pizzas or washing dishes who really cares?” I wasn’t planning on being a delivery boy for the rest of my life and I wasn’t planning on using the job as a resume builder. I was just there to make money. I had bigger plans for my life.  I didn’t suck. That job sucked.

“You are a bad ass with bad ass skills!”

People might disagree with this and say I should have done my best while there, but I say that’s how people end up staying in jobs they don’t really like. They stick around, get a few promotions, and next thing you know they wake up at 50 still in the job they hate. For me to stay in a job I didn’t care about would have done me no favors. Yes I got fired but it was the best thing that could have happened to me at that time. It allowed me to move on and keep searching for what made me happy.

Maybe getting fired was the best thing that could have happened to you at the time, even though it didn’t seem like it. Did you actually love the job? Did you really want to work at that company? Are you actually sad that you can’t go back to work there tomorrow or are you just sad that someone rejected you? Do you honestly believe you are not worth as much just because a company told you they didn’t want you?

You are a bad ass with bad ass skills! You just need to find the right situation for those skills.

You are still worthy, you still have skills, and you still have value. A firing is an external action whereas how you perceive yourself is an internal decision. You cannot let the external action affect you internally.

Here’s the point – Being fired is not the end and it’s not the definition of you. Sometimes it’s a blessing in disguise because you were meant to be somewhere else.

So remember, no matter what happens you don’t suck.