That time I got fired...
I was 19, a single mom, only about a year out of high school and I got what I thought was my first "grown-up" job. It was at a company called Quad Graphics, they printed and bound magazines like Playboy. I got hired to work on the assembly line. I was making a whole $10 an hour and I was so excited, definitely a pay increase from the job at the local Ponderosa.
I'd only been there a few weeks when I got a talking to. My boss pulled me aside and brought me into his office. I was terrified, I had no idea what I had done wrong, back then I was terrified of authority. Anyone who seemed above me scared me. Growing up, for the most part, I was a rule follower, a good girl, you know besides the having sex and getting pregnant part.
He sat me down and told me I needed to talk more. I was dumbfounded, he told me I didn't talk enough which I couldn't believe and found rather funny because I thought I was there to work. I didn’t understand. I was pretty shy growing up and didn't really break out of my shyness until my mid-twenties. I said okay and went back to work, needless to say, it wasn't enough and I got fired after only working there for about a month. I was devastated. I went home feeling like a complete failure, I cried for hours and panicked on top of it because I was raising my son on my own without child support and didn't know what I was going to do next.
Something inside of me told me I would be okay.
So I wiped my tears off and went to bed that night. I was scared but at the same time, I knew I would figure it out. The next day I went and applied at a factory in New Holstein called Tecumseh, they made snow blower and lawn mower engines. I got hired on the spot and they offered me $16 to $24 an hour depending on the job I was doing. The company ran mostly on piece rate, meaning I got a base rate and then the rest depended on how much I could produce in an hour. The more products I ran through the machines the more money I made. So although I was devastated about getting fired for a hot minute, the universe had something better planned for me.
At that time I was so grateful, I got a pay raise by getting fired. I worked in that factory for 3 years and while I didn't love the feeling of being drenched in greasy coolant every night when I went home, I was able to find the gratitude in it. That job helped me take care of my baby boy and get through school.
That time in my life wasn't easy, it was hard work working multiple shifts, working different jobs getting switched every couple of months from the assembly line to the paint line to the carburetor line, day shift night shift back to second shift over the course of three years. Yeah, it wasn't easy but it helped pay the bills and it helped me accomplish my dream at the time becoming a graphic designer.
I share this with you to say that how you deal with the things that happened to you is everything.
I could've allowed that firing to shape my whole world, especially at 19 years old. I could've taken it super personally. I could've created all these stories about what it meant about who I was as a soul, who I was as a person and my abilities but instead, I felt what I had to feel in that moment and I went out the next day I got something even better.
Was I lucky? Maybe or maybe I just decided I wasn't going to stand for being fired maybe I wasn't going to let it mean anything about me.
I've met people who have been fired from jobs when they were in their twenties and they still have nightmares about it.
How we choose to deal with the situations were given and the stories we create around them determines the next steps will take.
Someone who just met me could look at me and say "you work for yourself", you're an entrepreneur, you're so lucky and yes, I feel very grateful for where I'm at but they haven't seen the behind-the-scenes of what it's taken for me to get here.
I'm guessing many of you didn't know that I worked in a factory for three years while I went to school full-time in my twenties while I raise the baby on top of it by myself. I'm guessing people didn't know that I worked part-time at a strip club bartending to make ends meet.
Yes, I've done many jobs, many of them I didn't love but I did what I had to do at the time, always knowing that there was something better, that I could do to create the life I wanted. something more
I just never gave up no matter what adversity I was faced with.
I didn't know where life would take me but I knew I couldn't give up and I still feel that way. I have no idea where I'm going next but I know that no matter what I can't give up. The things that have happened to us don't have to define us, it's not who we are.
Whether it be getting fired, getting divorced, losing a loved one, or going through a bad breakup. None of these things get to define us unless we let them.
We get to decide who we are to become and who we are becoming.
Life is like a blank canvas and we get to decide what colors we put on it, what picture we want to paint, and what the final Masterpiece looks like.
Our life is the canvas, our thoughts are the paint and our brush is the action we take.
What will your Masterpiece look like?
xo- laurie marie