What Keeps You Awake at Night?

What Keeps You Awake at Night?

Fear of being fired

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

Steve Jobs

You are good at your job.

And you love working for your company. But, even with all of that you are concerned about losing your job. This is so concerning that you are even losing sleep over it.

While you aren’t the most popular person in the company, you are certainly not unpopular. You have made many friends and you basically get along with the executive staff. There are others they may like better, but they know your skills and competency and you do have their respect.

Your relationship with your boss is ok. You aren’t really close, actually no one is close to him. But you are uncomfortable dealing with him and just have the feeling that at any moment he may decide to let you go. And it bothers you.

I had that feeling once.

My boss and I did not see eye to eye on anything. He wasn’t a very good boss or manager. His boss, the VP of Operations knew this. He had been the eighth choice for the Director of Engineering. Seven other candidates had previously elected not to take this position. So the VP panicked, settled,  and selected him.

He got in the way on many things. Instead of removing him, the VP worked around him. One day I asked the VP why and he told me sometimes you just have to live with your mistakes. Not the answer I wanted or thought was appropriate, but it was his answer and that was that.

I felt somewhat insecure about my job, thinking that at any moment my boss would decide it was time to let me go even though I was doing a really good job. Then one day he set up for me to meet with him, something that never happened. I thought that I was going to be fired and told my wife that she shouldn’t be surprised if I came home early.

The meeting occurred. I called her to tell her I hadn’t been fired, instead, I had been promoted. All those fears and trepidation for nothing. It didn’t change my relationship with him. But at that point I stopped worrying about getting fired both then and forevermore. After misreading the situation so badly, it wasn’t worth getting myself upset again, ever. And if the day ever came where I would get fired I figured it was a bad move on the company’s part and it was time to move on anyway.

Have you gone through anything like this?

You know you are doing a good if not a great job. Yet, you are continually in fear that for some reason you will be fired.

In today’s business environment that feeling may be quite realistic. Companies let people go when times get a little tough or when they feel that they can get someone at a lower cost. This, even when they are sacrificing needed talent and experience in doing so.

That is indeed concerning, but it shouldn’t cause you to lose sleep.

Being let go from a company once had a stigma attached to it. In today’s world that is almost the norm. With that realization, many move on to other companies or ventures on their own before the company they are working for forces them to do so.

“Being fired has some of the advantages of dying without its supreme disadvantages. People say extra-nice things about you, and you get to hear them.”
Howard Zinn, You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

As a talented professional, you have many options open to you.

There are plenty of businesses that need good, experienced people. They are looking for someone like you even if you do not yet realize it.

There is also the option of starting your own enterprise. There are countless stories of people who are let go by organizations. They then start their own successful ventures. In doing so, they were happy to be out of the corporate world. They are then doing something they love and are more successful professionally and economically than they ever imagined.

It really stinks to have the loss of employment hanging over your head. You would think that this shouldn’t happen. You go above and beyond and take on additional tasks and make things better in your corner of the organization, maybe even throughout the company. And yet something happens that is beyond your control and the next thing you know you are looking for employment elsewhere.

While this should be of some concern, It should not be something to lose sleep over.

You should always keep your options open. If a company can let you go for a poor or even unknown reason (Many states have a provision that you can be let go for no reason) then you can certainly  move on without guilt or remorse  when a better opportunity comes your way.

That also has little or no stigma attached to it. Job hopping was once frowned upon. It sent red flags to companies about candidates that did so. But in today’s environment that is happening more and more. The day of a 25 or 40 year employee is pretty much over. The average time in a company is approximately 5 years or less. And loyalty cuts both ways. If a company has no compunction of letting you go at any time, you should have the same thought when a new and better opportunity presents itself.

So, stop losing sleep over your job.

Nothing in life is permanent including your position. Someone probably had it before you and someone will fill it after you leave it. You will be missed by certain co-workers. In time you will be a distant memory to them as well. You should feel, think, and act similarly.

And do not lose any sleep over it. If you are not secure in your position, do something about it. You can and should be in control of yourself and your career. If you are, then there is nothing to worry about and it should not Keep You Awake at Night.

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