Standing On A Chair

Telling it like I see it…

Rants from the Chair: On Being Fired Part 3 – The Aftermath

Let me start by offering an apology to those of my friends to whom I lied.  “I was burned out, so I quit,” I said.  “It was time for me to make a change,” I explained.  In my rejected and ashamed state, I couldn’t bring myself to admit I’d been fired to absolutely everyone, my family and closest people excepted, of course.  “You quit without another job to go to?” some asked.  “I just couldn’t take it anymore,” I fibbed.

I wasted no time pulling out my employment documents, updating my resume and scanning letters of reference in a frenzied panic.  Although I had a little cushion to rely on, and really didn’t need to act so immediately, I still felt compelled to take action, for fear of losing an opportunity.  In my mind, I felt I did not deserve to lounge around, even for a couple of days.  After all, I’d “been a bad girl,” and was “being punished!”

Bulldozing through job offerings on the internet and in newspapers, I furiously emailed (and mailed) resumes and filled out online applications.  I think I’ve mentioned before that here in my town, there are no headhunters to run to, a fact that has pissed me off more than once over the years.

I snagged three interview appointments within the first week:  one as an assistant to a VP at the local community college; one as an assistant in the legal department of a large medical software company; and one for human resources manager at a trade publication firm.

First Interview:  Community College

I sat at the large mahogany conference room table in the administrative building, facing six suited-up, high-ranking administrators, both men and women.  I remember thinking what the fuck?  I’m not interviewing for the freaking vice president’s position at Harvard.  They started firing off questions in my direction, most of which I answered from rote, having interviewed so many times in the past. 

Then they asked me something, and I don’t recall what it was specifically except I remember thinking it was a really stupid question, and in response I heard myself say, “I have absolutely no idea how to respond to that.” 

Dead silence followed for at least a full minute, and after a few polite comments on their part, the interview was over. 

Second Interview:  Medical Software Company

It was a beautiful brick and glass two-story building in a rural setting just north of where I live.  Trees, rolling green slopes of grass, a horse farm nearby, lots of space.  I was escorted into the offices of the legal department on the second floor, into a corner office with beautiful views. 

I sat on a couch facing two attorneys, one woman and one man.  They seemed really casual, easy to talk to, and after a little small-talk chatter, we got down to business.  “In addition to working for both of us as our as our right-hand person, Jill, this position is also responsible for bolstering morale.  We have about two hundred employees who all have birthdays, plus of course the holidays.  Can you do event planning, Jill?”  I told them yes, but I was already starting to get nervous about the load. 

“We all practically live here,” the woman informed me.  “Some start their day at 4:00 a.m., and they’re still here after dark!” said the man.  Now I was starting to freak out.  “We don’t have clock-watchers here, Jill.  We’re a family, and this is our home.  How do you feel about working long hours, Jill?” 

My mouth opened, and out came, “I will work forty hours, forty-five maximum.  I already have a home, and I already have a family.”  They just stared at me, wide-eyed and stunned. I picked up my brief case and stood, because I knew this would end the interview, which it did.

Third Interview:  Trade Publication Firm

They had me wait in the lobby/reception area.  Seems they were running a little late, so I sat quietly, legs crossed at the ankles, exuding confidence with a smile, while my thoughts screamed inside my head:  Why are you here, Jill?  You just purposefully sabotaged your job and two interviews because you don’t want to DO this for a living anymore, and here you are again?

Right then and there I slapped my forehead with the palm of my hand, walked over to the receptionist and said, “Miss, would you mind please cancelling my interview in HR?”

Sometimes it takes forever to really get something, you know?  I mean, for God’s sake, how could I have been so clueless?  It finally became clear to me that I needed to be self-employed.  I guess being fifty-five was part of it.  I wanted to call my own shots for once in my life.  I didn’t know how I was going to accomplish it, but by damn, I would.

On being fired?  Best thing that could have happened to me.  I likely would not have volunteered to quit that job.  I would have just gone on being unhappy but resigned in my work.

So thank you, Dr. Lockner.  Thank you very much, sir.


May 10, 2011 - Posted by | Jobs | , , ,


  1. re: medical software company. It’s amazing to me how many companies (especial software companies) have an unspoken rule of demanding overlong hours.

    Comment by Virtual Sinner | May 16, 2011 | Reply

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