Thursday, September 13, 2012

The Zen of Getting Fired

As of last month, I was laid off my third job in one year. Truthfully, the economy has been a weak one. So why do I feel like I've been fired?

So long and thanks for all the fish

I recently finished a job selling clothes for extremely oversized men. The largest shirt I dealt with was a 7XLT. You don't realize how massive such a shirt is until you have to fold it. Then you begin to understand just how small you are in the Universe.

I was hired to be a salesman, but things didn't work out that way. They started me in the stock room on some days and trained me on others. Then a big wig came in from out of town and I spent two weeks prior to her arrival cleaning and sorting and folding and cleaning. Did I mention cleaning? After that, the job wasn't the same. It was non-stop stock for me then. They wouldn't even give me access to the register.

I knew the writing was on the wall, however. The store was constantly failing to meet its target sales goals. There simply wasn't enough business. They didn't need me on the floor. So I got to work with a 19yo computer science major who didn't know what PHP was. But she was faster than me and had been on the job for a year, so I paled in comparison.

I mention that because knowing how to code in more languages than my coworker was aware existed didn't matter much when my job was unboxing, folding, steaming, hanging, and moving product out onto the floor. This job couldn't have been more Adult ADHD hostile if I had found it listed in They had a TV and storewide music playing simultaneously, there were a lot of unwritten rules regarding display and placement, the job required monotonous work done quickly for hours on end without lag, and their training material was done through MP3s. Maybe that works for some people, but I don't process information well when it is aural only. I had to sit and listen to these MP3s for hours and filter out the buzzword bombs and references to obsolete products. I kept myself alive by repeatedly jabbing my eye with a pencil.

When word came from the head office that they had to cut back employee hours, I was actually relieved to be moving on, yet the lay off plunged me into Depression when I couldn't find work again.

Since this is the third job I've lost since last year due to the economy, I've gone through these feelings of uselessness and despair before. In fact, it is a very common thing to become discouraged when you are laid off. We can't help but think that we might have made the cut if we had done something better. The problem is that I landed another job last week, yet the Depression hasn't faded. I still feel useless even though I'm employed again. Isn't that silly? Is this ADHD Depression After Success, or just good ole Depression? Does it matter? I stopped to think about the things that I learned from my last three jobs, decided what type of work I wanted, then went out and found it. Why be Depressed?

Obviously, Depression doesn't always make sense, so I am now working through my routines to overcome the blues. But much of my discomfort could have been avoided if I had thought about my work before applying for it. In fact, I am certain I felt like I got fired because I had been working against my strengths for six weeks. I realize that until a year ago I had spent two decades as a stay-at-home father, so my job experience is rather thin, but I told myself "I have a brain. I can work this out." And so I did.

Here's What I Learned:

  1. Know Your Strengths

    Sometimes a job isn't a good fit. It is up to us to know what our strengths and weaknesses are so we can find job that works to our benefit. Not every adult experiences ADHD the same way. Take time to list your weaknesses, but also take time to list your strengths. You have them in spades.

  2. Do Your Research

    If I had just strolled around the workplace and asked more pointed questions, I would have known that particular establishment wasn't going to work out for me. We shouldn't forget to be as picky about who we work for as they are about who works for them. Work is a partnership, not indentured servitude. Look up your prospective job on the internet, visit its location, and ask around. You might be doing yourself a favor.

  3. Trust Your Instincts

    I knew my last job was bad for me the moment they hired me. Stockroom? Every potentially bored ADHD neuron in my mind fired up and screamed. Because I was desperate for employment, I took the job anyway, using wishful thinking to gloss over the scary bits. I don't regret taking the job, and did look at it as a blessing at the time, but I also didn't apply to the best jobs at that time. My priority was money, not job satisfaction. Money isn't bad, but it's not the only qualifier for a good job. The next time around I trusted my instincts and got money as well.

Thank you for all your support. I appreciate all the comments and donations. I am still saving up for school clothes for my girls, so if there is something you read here today that you found helpful, please consider donating.