I got fired from 2 big companies and it was great!

For whatever reason when a company tells you that its time for you to go, it hurts. Once you get over the hurt, you are faced with the reality of what to do next. Here are my two stories:

In the late 1990s, I worked at Hasbro Toys in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. I was a senior toy designer in the Playskool division assigned to the Barney and Tele Tubbies team. It was a fun and creative place to work, except when there were lay offs, which seems to happen every few months. So there I was one morning working hard for our shareholders (and for the laughter of little children) and I got the call… “Dave, can you meet me in my office for a minute.” Dang. I got the budget cut speech and a cardboard box.

The other time I was told its time to go was at OPUBCO. I got back from a vacation in Hawaii and attempted to log into my Mac and was locked out (clue). Shortly after that I was told that “it wasn’t working out” and handed another cardboard box.

Both of those events were pivotal moments in my life. After Hasbro canned me, I sold my house, packed up the family and moved to Oklahoma (odd move for this swamp Yankee). After OPUBCO showed me the door, I started my own design firm. Both of those decisions were made after much thought, prayer and discussion with my wife, Sandy. As I remember it, agonizing over the decisions ended once I decided what to do – and got busy. If you have been laid off, let go, or fired – I suggest you take some time to figure out what you want out of your work life and then get going. To do nothing is the worst thing you can do. It sounds corny, but its truly an opportunity.

I also suggest you watch Lemonade, the 35 minute documentary embedded below. Even if you are solidly employed (yeah, sure), self-employed, a boss or retired. It’s all about how losing a job (in this movie, ad agency people) can impact your life for the better.

If I have ever handed you a cardboard box, I am truly sorry for the hurt. I sincerely believe it was for the best. I hope you do too.

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