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I was brought into the office of the head of the company and he said, “your contract is up and we won’t be needing you anymore.”
I asked. “Can I stay a few days more to just finish what I was working on?” And he said, “No. You need to leave today”. He had thick blonde hair, blue eyes, a square jaw, was about fifty and looked a little bit like Robert Redford. He smiled at me then.
Thats the last thing I remembered. His smile almost blinded me. I hate him. I was barely put together. I felt like the worst loser. I couldn’t understand. I thought I had been doing good work. But suddenly I was damaged goods.
Another time I was…And another time I did…And another and another and another. I’ve been fired so many times I can’t list them all. I can’t possibly make you cry over my sorrows because we all have them.
I would pace at three in the morning. “I’m going to lose this house. My kids are going to switch schools. I have three months to live. I’m going to lose this house. I’m going to this and that and this/that.” The chatter doesn’t stop and its nightmarish at three in the morning. And at four, and at five, and it doesn’t stop when the kids wake up and they don’t know anything is different but I cry then because everything is different. Because the house is a prison. Because my head is a mental asylum.
No advice helps. You can’t meditate. You can’t exercise. You can’t eat healthy. You can’t shave. Or bathe. You can’t even take deep breaths. They feel like bullshit breaths. Shit breathes in and shit breathes out. You can’t pray or read spiritual texts. None of that stuff helps, you think. None of that immediately deposits money in the bank. None of that brings back your self-esteem which was so randomly stolen from you by faceless bureaucrats living on the outskirts of cubicles.
So here’s advice that helps. I hope you follow it because I know it worked for me:
Do just one thing today.
And then do one thing tomorrow. And the next. That’s all. Just one thing a day. If you do your thing, then feel good. You did it. Tomorrow you do the next thing. THAT’S ALL YOU NEED TO DO.
Lunch. Schedule a lunch with
someone you haven’t seen in three years. Could be anyone. But it has to be someone you haven’t seen in at least three years. This injects new blood into the system. You need a total transfusion to get rid of the infected old blood.
Lunch, part II. Have lunch
with one person in your industry. Have your ideas ready for that person. Have him critique your ideas. Learn.
Resentment. You are going to
feel like the people at your old job wronged you. But they are just trying to survive also. Make a list of all the good qualities that person has and send them an email why you think they are good at what they do. Thank them.
Gratitude. Make a list of
the people you’ve worked with over the past ten years that you are grateful you worked with. Email them and tell them why you were grateful you worked with them. Ask them sincerely how they are doing. This is one of the most important things on this list.
Loveyourself. Wake up early, exercise,
take a shower, wear a suit, go into the city, and walk around. Smell that freshness on you. It makes you feel as if you are ready for anything. And you are. That’s all you need to do that day. Heck, go to a museum. You won’t have this opportunity for freedom forever.
Slash. Make a list of
all expenses you can slash. Make your runway as long as possible. There are plenty of sites to advise how to do this. Picture your worst-worst case scenario. Its never as bad as you think. Write it down. Write down the plan for the worst- case scenario. Then take a nap. You just had a hard day. You need to rest.
Ideas. Make a list of
places or people you might want to work with. Then come up with a list of 10 ideas for each that can make them money. This way you keep your idea muscle intact. Then pitch your ideas to each. If you can’t, move o n t o t h e n e x t o n e . T H I S TECHNIQUE WORKS.
Write. Write a book in
the next three days. You can write a 30 page book called “100 things to do the day after you are fired”. Make it funny. Time to dominate the publishing industry while you are unemployed! Make a list of all the possible 30 page books you can do. Then tomorrow start one of the books.
Brainstorm. Go completely in
a different direction. What other industry can you work in? What other location can you live in? Make up the wildest fantasies about what you can do. Keep going until there is one possible direction you can execute on today. Brainstorm for an hour and some little slice of reality might peak through.