Two years ago today the best worst thing happened to me.
I got fired from my comfortable law firm job.
I was dealing with a lot of things while trying to put on a brave face at work.
My mom had died after a 20-year battle with multiple myeloma. I was still grieving.
My significant other left me for one of our mutual “friends” (they read this blog, so I have to be careful about the language I use). Our friends chose sides.
I was betrayed by several friends who were actually frenemies and rooting for me to fail.
Then my beloved dog died. It was a spiral of anguish.
I didn’t know how to cope. My life was upside down. I was crying at work and having trouble sleeping and concentrating. I wasn’t myself. I needed help.
As a type-A person, I wasn’t used to feeling this way, but I later found out that situational depression comes on during stressful events like this.
I didn’t know how to cope.
I remember my boss at the time told me to “compartmentalize” what was happening to me and “work harder” as he said. As if it was that easy! It was so insensitive.
Leaving all of your life problems at the door when you go to work is just plain unrealistic.
What I learned is that I wanted to work in an environment that was supportive – not a place that only made those claims on the recruiting section of their web site.
A place where if your employees exhibit out of character behavior or absences, it is recognized as a sign something is wrong and instead help is offered.
This is what it means to have a work culture that is truly supportive.
Any other employer that tries to paint itself as a family is misrepresenting itself. And at the end of the day work is not your family. You have a business contract to perform work, and many employers will not stand by you if and when you need help.
I am not ashamed one bit of being fired. In fact I consider it a badge of honor. It makes you more resilient, stronger and more empathetic.
Once I got help I rebuilt my life where I am my own boss. I started this business from my temporary apartment in the midst of the worst time in my life.
(Never say never on returning to a law firm but it will only be when I find a workplace that is truly supportive and treats staff the same way it treats lawyers).
Today I work for amazing companies and law firms, and I am so grateful to everyone who gave me a chance.
I never thought I could have my own business, but I was putting the pieces in place for years by regularly posting on LinkedIn, writing articles and public speaking.
My advice is to build your brand long before you ever need it. You never know where life will take you.
Never underestimate the power of adversity. It’s these catalysts – even the ones that seem like the end of your world at the time – can drive you forward.
I call the shots now. I choose with whom I work. I took the power back. And so can you.
Challenges like these make us stronger. They make us more resilient. They help us grow and push us out of our comfort zone.
Thank you to everyone who has been rooting for me and to those who didn’t, you push me harder.
My advice to you is to keep going no matter what. Even when you don’t want to. Or when don’t think that you can. It is never too late.
And remember that it’s okay to not be okay sometimes.
What’s the best worst thing that ever happened to you?
Here’s a video with more on my story.