by Peter Luscombe

Hearing those words would make many a heart sink. Fired, sacked, made redundant, let go, discharged, retrenched – no matter it is put – isn’t what we want to hear as an employee. Is it possible though to attain benefit from losing your job? Is there a possible silver lining?

blue skies

In an article in The Age, The upside of being sacked, John Adonis says so. He acknowledges the hardships faced:

It’s undeniable that, in the short-term at least, the negatives would outweigh the positives. The stress of finding new employment, the hit to your self-esteem, the financial hardship, the loss of a job you once loved – all of that could crush even those with the thickest skin.

Then, Adonis poses an important question: But once the recovery is over, could it be worth it? He goes on to cite research published in the Organizational Dynamics Journal. Here a case is made that some need to be moved on, need change in their life, and that losing your job can be a positive force in your life.

Continuity gives us roots; change gives us branches, letting us stretch and grow and reach new heights. 

Pauline R. Kezer

Being in a rut, unable to bring necessary change to your life, fearing change, can inevitably lead to dissatisfaction with your job. Not just that, but, management become dissatisfied with you and your work, and even colleagues will become fed-up. In the words of Amy Hoover, president of ‘Talent Zoo,’ Negative employees are often referred to as ‘cancer’ by upper management for good reason: they will eventually be cut out.

Adonis identifies, with sympathy, those ‘types’ who are most vulnerable to being sacked:

  • The misfits
  • The prisoners
  • The sleepwalkers
  • The stagnant workers
  • The stressed

Of course this doesn’t include those who are laid-off due to a change in workplace circumstances. Carole Brown in a post Every job is temporary – succinctly states:

The workplace is in a constant state of flux with organisations constantly changing, new managers being recruited, and workplace cultures shifting. It is true that a job and workplace you have been happy in for some time can change quite quickly – in some cases literally overnight!

In today’s current workplace climate, dealing with and navigating change is in your own best interests. Never-the-less, you may not want to be seen as one of the vulnerable ‘types’ that Adonis mentions. Even so, Adonis finishes his article on a positive note:

The theorists argue if you’re in one of those five categories, you’re better off being fired so that you’re forced to do something different. So long as your employer coordinates your departure respectfully and generously, you should – theoretically – look back one day and be thankful. Thankful for being set free.

We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.

Harrison Ford – American actor and film producer

Take opportunity to think about how you would navigate a change in your life such as being fired. Carole Brown in a post for CareerActually – Turning redundancy to your advantage – looks to the silver lining:

To turn redundancy into a positive opportunity ask yourself: What are you most interested in? What ideas do you have for the future? Is it time to test some new ones or ones that have been on the shelf for a while? Do you actually have to rush into the next opportunity or can you take some time out to volunteer or travel or spend more time on that hobby that has been starved for attention. Often when you take a break, or have a change of scene, you give yourself a chance to see a new options.