4 Things No One Tells You About Being Fired
You've probably lost a job before. I have. I've lost a lot of jobs, in fact, but never big jobs. Until now. I just lost my first big job. My real job. A career, if you will. A job I assumed I would leave one day on my terms after I was ready to retire to a quiet island paradise where monkey butlers would serve me drinks and scare away beach bums in between clandestine tree diddles.
This is the dream.
At school, they barely prepare you for the idea of work, and even if they do, it's for getting work, not losing it. Losing work is bullshit. No one tells you how to manage that. You're not supposed to lose work. Our entire schooling system is structured around the premise of equipping you with valuable skills. Obviously, if you succeed, you're a success. To fail means fuck you. You should have tried harder. But when you lose a job for reasons that have nothing to do with your performance, then ... well ... fuck ... Here are a few things to know, I guess.
Reasons Don't Matter
My contract with my employer was what they call "at-will," which meant that at any time, either of us could have exploded in madness and walked away for no reason whatsoever. I only agreed to those terms because they were giving me money, which in turn assured I had a home and food and stuff. If you're willing to pay me, I'll probably let you slip all kinds of crazy shit into a contract. You want an annual butt-fingering up to the second knuckle? It might require a Christmas bonus, but sure. Write it down.
I'll earn that Jelly of the Month Club subscription.
At the end of the day, though, at-will employee or not, who cares why you lost your job? You still lost it. Being let go because of infrastructure changes is more or less the same as being let go because you shit in the lunch room fridge. Maybe the first instance will net you a better reference for later on, but that's all.
You don't want to focus on why you were fired, because it does nothing for you. Were you persecuted by an asshole manager who had it in for you until they finally broke you? That sucks balls too, but forget it. Unless they framed you or some shit. In that case, sue them six ways from Sunday. But assuming your firing wasn't illegal, just let it go. That's the best way to move into a new job. The bitterness, anxiety, and fear from losing your job makes you kind of weak and jittery and not in a good head space to find new work, which is what you need to do. Best to pretend you quit because you realized your old job was holding you back from becoming El Sexorcismo Royale, the world's foremost paranormal Mexican wrestler / sex idol.
One of these people is Cracked Editor Adam Tod Brown. The other is El Sexorcismo.
Or whatever it is you're hoping to become. Fill in your own blank. But not with El Sexorcismo. That's my thing.
Powerlessness Is A Shitty Feeling
The moment HR or a teenage supervisor or a "Fuck off" scrawled in feces on an old Pop-Tart put in your locker by an anonymous source tells you you're no longer needed, it's a bit like ending a date with your partner gently cupping your sexual organs, twisting them, scalding them with hot pizza, and then stomping them into the small gap between wooden slats in a fence.
There really is a stock photo for everything.
You have become useless to the other party in a way you weren't expecting, and it's a harsh reality when it comes to sit on your face. You thought you were on the ball, skilled, and, most of all, important. Whether consciously or not, you had a feeling of importance. You were needed. But not anymore.
Realizing you're not important, even at a job you maybe don't care that much about, is a real shot in the goodies. The more you liked the job, the worse the feeling is. No one likes to feel unwanted. We can man up and drink a Budweiser and eat an undercooked pork chop like we don't care, but unless you're a sociopath of some kind, of course you care. And now what?
You can't just blubber about not being a valuable cog in the Taco Bell corporate machine while you sit at home and gloomily masturbate to Hot Bench. You have to polish up your resume and try to find someone else you're important enough for, while just letting that open wound fester, since you probably don't have the luxury of time to get over your last firing.
This is the only image search result for the word "wound" I'm comfortable showing you (unless you're paying extra, in which case get at me).
That's the real kicker. Most of us work because we need to, not because we're super interested in interacting with the same public which thinks Donald Trump is a real idea man. Left to our own devices, we'd build a hedge maze around all those assholes that they'd never manage to escape, but that's neither here nor there. We can't build that confusing hedge maze with two left turns; we need another goddamn job. We have to pay bills. There's food to buy and light bulbs that need powering. Jesus Christ, that's a lot of responsibility. What if the stress makes you eat, you gain a few, and you need new pants? Now it's time for a new goddamn belt. Can you afford that, fella? Did you make a belt budget?
Fuck no you didn't. You were still all weepy like a toddler with a skinned knee about that Taco Bell slight, so now you have to wrap an extension cord around your waist. Good luck impressing the boss at KFC with that at your interview tomorrow.
It's at this point that you realize you've been playing someone else's game of cards your whole goddamn life. You're not the dealer, you're just the chump with the ever-shrinking pile of chips. The dealer is Satan himself -- or the guy who started Walmart. Same difference. You're just struggling to stay above board, because the moment all those chips are gone, you're sharing a can of stew with a dog on an old mattress behind 7-11. I'll be fuckin' fucked if that's about to happen.
You Have No Idea How Much You Love Your Job
Everyone bitches about work. I bet an asshole like Donald Trump goes home, eats a taco bowl, and complains about how many Mexicans don't love him while his robot wife nods and says one of 10 pre-programmed soothing things about his big ol' catcher's mitt hands. The fact is that you never realize how good your job was until someone slaps it from your hands like it's a quesadilla with a scorpion in it, and you watch it tumble into the dirt like a child dropping their ice cream because they're a bumbling, underdeveloped fool of a human. (Bang, two food metaphors in the same sentence!)
Let's see one of you try to hold down a job in the real world!
Then you realize you should have loved that job more and better and harder and deeper and with a slight twist in your hips. You should have stayed the night with your job instead of saying you had an early morning and needed to head out at 3 a.m. You should have spooned.
My job was pretty dope. I wrote funny articles and brainstormed funny ideas, and sometimes I made comics or little meme things, and sometimes I just wrote nonsense, and for a while I worked with a team of extremely hilarious and creative writers, and I even got a couple of trips abroad out of it. I can't say anything bad about my job. Except that I lost it, and for a brief period of time, I panicked like a gas-soaked marmot running through a forest fire.
You only realize your job is awesome when you have to compare it to your other options. Homelessness is appealing in a Bohemian sort of way, but am I prepared to eat rat and buttfuck a rusty Chevy? Not really.
But in a straight-up fight, I'll kick any rat's ass on this entire planet.
That kind of work you consider beneath you is out there as well, but if I have to report to a supervisor who's in his teens at this point in my life, one of us is going to end the shift with, at the very least, a hand in the deep fryer. No, that won't do.
The job you had was always a good job because you had it. It was yours and you could do it. You had a routine. You knew what you were doing. Losing it means finding a new routine in which you don't know what you're doing, and you need to learn new things and get into a new groove, and fuck all that. What are you, psychotic? Learning new things is best left for children and/or people rich enough to only have to learn fun things, like piloting small aircraft and taking bikini photos of hot models on beaches.
Must be nice.
The kind of shit I need to learn at a new job is how to operate the floor buffer, or what the combination is for the fish locker. I don't want to work anyplace that has a secure fish locker. What are we keeping the fish locked away from? Is it cats, or is there a race of lobster men I need to be aware of? Will I be trained to deal with the lobster men, or is this the kind of shit you expect me to improvise when and if it becomes necessary? I'm not ready for the war with the crustaceans.
The Best New Job Is An Old Job
Familiarity breeds contempt, except where money is concerned. The more familiar you are with a job, the happier you'll be -- at least in principle. Like, you may be borderline psychotic from gutting fish for 30 years, but by god, when you snap, all your victims are going to be gutted in the most efficient way the media has ever seen. Because you know your job and you're good at it. Which is why your first instinct after getting fired is to look for basically the same job anywhere else. It's your niche.
Precision cuts were always your destiny.
But no new job will ever be quite as good as a job you've already done, and this is why burning bridges is a terrible idea -- not just from a river-crossing standpoint, but from all standpoints. You might think leaving a job in a blaze of middle fingers, fart sounds, and C-bombs would be a great way to stick it to corporate America, but corporate America is more foul than one disgruntled employee could ever be. Remember, you may tell your boss to go fuck his grandma's skull with a goat dick, but the company he worked for may very well have exploited tens of thousands of children in third-world countries to manufacture their goods. They're evil; you're just miffed. Think the devil cares if you don't use a coaster in his house?
So if you have any job you can bear and you find yourself quitting or getting fired, don't leave by dropping trou and scooting your ass across the floor like a dog who ate dental floss and now has a poop net festering back there.
Besides, your dog just does that because he wants you to recycle more.
Leave with grace and dignity, because maybe one day you can come back in a better position. Or maybe someone there will have another job somewhere else, and will remember you as a person who wasn't an arsonist (a quality many employers are looking for). Push that rage aside and just focus it on being better. It'll probably help you in the long run.
As you may have guessed, this section here is absolutely about being back at Cracked. I was away for a while due to employment constraints, and now I have returned to make love to your brains with my words. This is much better than trying to become a staff writer for Cat Fancy magazine, because I don't even fancy cats that much, and I'll be damned if I'm going to spend time on weekends and evenings learning how just so I can whip up some articles on why Maine Coons are better suited to your personality than the scrotal sphinx cat. It's good to be back.
See why these people deserved to be fired in 5 Insane People Who Just Got Fired from Teaching Your Kids and learn some job-losing shortcuts in The Fastest Way to Get Fired.
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