I Got Fired Twice

And…………………it wasn’t the end of the world although it sure felt like it at the time.  My first firing came at the age of 15 when I got my first ever after school job at a local bakery. I was so PUMPED. I read everything I could on what you should do to get ahead at work (turn up on time, shine your shoes etc) and let me tell you – my shoes were so shiny you could nearly see your refection in them. Sadly no one told me that customers don’t eat you and I was petrified of them. Now this will sound incredibly stupid but we had to do this thing called suggestive selling where whenever someone brought anything we had to ask if they would like to upgrade it or purchase another product.

I could not do this. I was so sure that the customer would turn around and tell me that if they wanted to purchase something extra they would have asked for it that I never, ever did this. I was terrified that the customer was going to yell at me. Even when the manager addressed the issue with me, I still couldn’t do it. In my heart I really hoped that having really shiny shoes and doing everything else right would make up for this. It didn’t. After five weeks on the job I got called in to ‘have a chat about the roster’  which translated to “we have to let you go, nothing personal but your customer service skills aren’t good enough, but hey, I’ll give you a good reference”. Pretty sure I don’t have to tell you how absurd a good reference would be from someone who JUST FIRED YOU.

I was gutted and embarrassed and ashamed. I’d proudly told anyone who would listen about my new job and now I would have to tell everyone that I got fired. I cried, a lot.  The thing is the only person that cared that I got fired was me. My friends were so caught up in their own lives that no one even asked me what had happened to my new job or noticed that I didn’t work there anymore. Oh yea, except my mum. In fact I found out 10 years later that she had gone in to visit the manager to ‘discus’ (yell at) her for breaking my 15 year old heart. Bloody hell! That’s hilarious as an adult but I’m so glad I never found out what she did at the time, SHAME (love ya Mum).

In the end this turned out to be the best thing because about two weeks later a family friend was looking for staff to work at a new chemist opening up and guess who got the job? It paid $2 more an hour (a big deal at 15), provided more hours and I loved the other kids I worked with.

My second firing occurred in my early twenties. I was asked to work as a Cook in the Shearing Sheds and although I did tell the boss I had failed cooking in high school his response was “you’ll be fine, all women know how to cook”. Ha ha ha – I bet he bloody well never says that again. I think I lasted 5 weeks. I’m not sure what did it, maybe it was my famous ‘rock cakes’ that were so hard the shearers used them to peg at each other rather than eat. Or, maybe it was cooking up the lettuce thinking it was cabbage? Hell, maybe it was the fact that although dinner was supposed to be served at six, I could never quite have it ready before nine. Regardless I got fired, AGAIN. At least this time the boss gave me a new job working in the actual sheds instead (Love ya Fezza).

Again, this turned out to be a blessing because cooking was great money and I probably would never have given it up voluntarily, but since I’d effectively been demoted to a much lesser wage it was super easy to make the decision to apply for some local government jobs that were advertised a few weeks later which led to a whole new chapter.

So what’s the morale to my story? First, it’s never as bad as it seems. If you just got fired it means something brilliant and better is just around the corner and you just needed a bit of a shove to get you there. Second, feelings such as embarrassment and shame are perfectly normal but the day will come when you can laugh about it and see it for the blessing it was. Oh yea, and lastly never boil lettuce because it tastes like poo!


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