You want to be fired from your job this year

Donald TrumpWhat if being fired is a core component of innovation? What if being fired is the only way to get you out of your going-nowhere job?

This is not a “Top 10 reasons…” list. I hate lists. This is simply an explanation of why you should be begging to be fired this year. Moreover, I’m going to highlight a rather large cultural divide in the business perception of being given your marching orders across the World.

Hunkering down

In the throes of a global recession it’s seems suicidal to even consider this: The thought of losing a secure income and job when everyone else is struggling is a frightening prospect. But the reality is that employers and employees become complacent about the perceived security of ‘playing it safe’. Most workers sink into a comfortable role and the urge to innovate is gradually beaten down as a bad idea.

Who wants to take the risk and stick their head above the parapet, just to risk a bullet from HR when it’s safer to hunker down in the cubicle and plod on?

Destructive fantasy

In an entrepreneurial and constantly shifting business world it’s become clear that lean startups thrive in dire times because they dare to do things differently, dare to build their business with leaner methods and leaner cash flow. The scarcity that seems dangerous is actually just the right formula. Saying that you can’t start a new job or create a new business in a recession is like saying you can’t fix a boat because it’s leaking. People are driven to innovate because they must and the comfort zone we build when telling ourselves to stay safe is a destructive fantasy.

Face it, there is no such thing as job security anymore. The legacy of your grandfather, working 40 years for the same employer because it’s safe and there’s a decent pension is well and truly over so why can’t you embrace redundancy and hit the market at full throttle?

Sell your idea?

There’s an interesting article on BusinessInsider explaining how to sell your killer idea to your Boss. Seriously, my biggest issue with this article is ‘Why ?!’ If your business idea is that good, if you’ve done the math and business case, consulted with third parties to make it fly, created the perfect pitch….why are you bothering to sell it to your boss!! It’s madness.

Become more. Become an innovator yourself.

Cultural divide

But this is where there’s a real divide in just how being fired is perceived and acted upon. Here in the UK it’s a social and professional stigma: You’ve been fired. “Oh God, what do I do now?” People imagine joining the nameless ranks of the unemployment line and agency lists.

This is backward thought. You should be wondering this instead:

  • If I weren’t getting ahead at my job, why should I stay?
  • If they aren’t fostering and rewarding new ideas, why am I still there?
  • If I wasn’t excellent in my role, why not try something else?
  • How can I take what I know and make the most of it?

That is…unless you’ve just been hunkering down and playing it safe all of this time. In that case, you’re right and things are bleak.

Across the pond

Taking a  look at the United States, being fired can be liberating. Being ‘let go’ usually gives people a chance to leave something where they weren’t appreciated or weren’t particularly adept to go somewhere things can be better. “I am letting you be successful somewhere else” may sound like euphemistic but is a real concept in the largest economy in the world (and maybe there’s no coincidence to that). The legendary Steve Jobs was fired from Apple…and look what it did for him.

Exactly because it is easy to get fired, getting fired isn’t the worst thing. It works both ways.

While Europe embraces its job protections, in the end, that makes it harder to hire and very hard to change the status quo. It stifles innovation and holds management hostage to rules that hurt everyone, not just protect some. Protection or no protection, think of the benefits of getting fired this year. As James Altucher brilliantly summed it up in Tech Crunch last year:

The game is over. That game where they get to hire you for 40 years, pay you far less than you create, and then give you a gold watch, and then you get bored, you get depressed, and you die alone.

It wasn’t that fun of a game anyway.



Categories: Human Resources, Workplace Reality

Author:Theo Priestley

"I had more creative ideas from Theo in 6 months than I have had in 6 years from most people." Theo Priestley is one of the most recognised independent technology industry influencers and evangelists, ranking in the Top 100 thought leaders across Virtual/ Augmented Reality, FinTech, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Internet of Things and future trends. Theo has written insights for Forbes, Wired, The European Magazine, Venturebeat to name a few, and has been interviewed for many online publications including the BBC on his thoughts on technology and the future. A regular paid keynote speaker and panelist at conferences and events, Theo is engaged for his forthright views and isn't afraid to challenge conventional thinking and the marketing hype surrounding the industry when presenting, never pulling punches to get the message across on how technology can be applied to improve business and the customer experience. He has also successfully organised and run TEDx and Ignite events. Highly active across social networks, he sits in the Top 1% for social media engagement on Kred and Klout and is constantly sharing articles and his analysis that he feels his audience would be interested in. Theo is also active in the startup community, mentoring within UK and US accelerators and sits on a number of advisory boards. Former VP and Chief Technology Evangelist at a Top 25 European enterprise software company with a career spanning both innovation strategy and delivery of software and business change in Financial Services, and as an independent technology industry analyst. Follow Theo on Twitter @tprstly or connect here directly for constant insights on tech and marketing trends. • Top 1% Influencer on Kred (915) • Top 1% Influencer on Klout (70+) • 12,000+ Followers on LinkedIn • 13,000+ Followers on Twitter • Recognised Top Influencer in AI, Virtual/ Augmented Reality, Fintech, IOT and Wearable Tech, Big Data and Analytics.

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13 Comments on “You want to be fired from your job this year”

  1. February 4, 2013 at 1:33 pm #

    I did it…got fired and started my own consulting firm, having done quite well. Getting fired was a relief. Would recommend it. BTW the company that fired me…went out of business.

  2. Malcolm
    February 5, 2013 at 1:44 am #

    funny that I stumble upon your post, I am currently in the process of a mutual agreement to be “fired” (here in France in some cases it’s not really being fired, but more like an agreement between employer/employee). Some of the points your raise make really a lot of sense. Thanks for this article.

  3. mdn
    February 5, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    I actually lost my job last Thursday as the result of a layoff. At the end of last year, my former company lost its two largest clients — one of which had comprised approximately 80 percent of my former employer’s revenues over the past 14 years. As a result, my former employer decided to let go five employees, including me.

    While I learned a great deal over my ten-year tenure and value the relationships that I have made, my manager (and his peers) never really fostered a culture of professional growth and development; reinvesting in the company’s biggest assets, its employees, couldn’t even be considered an afterthought to my former employer. And so, over the past two years, I came to realize that I should do better for both myself and my family.

    With the economy remaining shaky at best, I did what is described in the first section of this article: I stayed in my “comfortable role” and, realizing that no one else wanted to listen to my ideas, I stopped innovating. (One can’t help to navigate a ship if one’s peers toss him overboard.)

    Now that I’ve been “liberated,” the first two items in the bulleted list speak so much truth to me:

    – If I’m going anywhere at my current, then why would I wish to stay?
    – If my employer refuses to foster and reward new ideas — or even acknowledge my hard work — then why on earth wouldn’t I seek a better job elsewhere?

    Being unemployed isn’t fun: I’m already nervous about not earning any income to support my family. That being said, I won’t miss working for my former employer. In order to “miss” something, you must derive value from the relationship that you had. In some cases, you misinterpret what that value is or fail to realize that you’re being held back by the “illusion of value-provided.” And, when you look but cannot find anything of value, it’s easy to look forward with eager anticipation of your next great opportunity.

    • February 5, 2013 at 8:57 am #

      Excellent comment, Matthew. Well thought out. We write as a way to learn, grow and put ourselves out there as thought leaders. It wouldn’t hurt during your extra time to start putting fingers to keyboard and think about your unique value prop and how to explain it. It will make you feel better, clear you head, and prepare you to find what is next (and very likely better).

    • February 5, 2013 at 8:58 am #

      Matthew, sorry to hear you were let go. I’ve been there and with a family I know what the pressures are like but I did look at it as the opportunity to turn it into something more than a career. I really hope you get the chance to as well mate.

  4. mdn
    February 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm #

    Thank you, Chris and Theo, for your remarks on my post. It sounds a bit cliché but I’m truly looking forward to bringing my expertise and enthusiasm to a new place, where it can be put to better use.

    The talking heads on a radio show were discussing the coaching carousel that occurs each year in professional sports: losing teams cut ties with their coaches, hoping to score big with their next big hire. One of the show’s hosts remarked how, after ten years at the head coach position for the same team, many coaches simply lose their ability to “wow” in their current roles. The owners and management of the teams for which the coach start to meddle in the coach’s decisions, their players start to “tune out” the sage advice that the coach dispenses, and the city represented by the coach’s team grow bored with unfilled promises of championships and glory.

    After ten years, it’s time for the coach to move on and ply his/her trade elsewhere where it will be more readily noticed and appreciated. That’s not to say that the coach did a poor job for his/her former team. I think that people (employers and employees) simply lose their sense of perspective after a decade of fairly good times. And, at that point, it’s best to pack your bags and go search for a new challenge.

    I’m optimistic that I’ll find my next challenge soon.

  5. LindaH
    February 6, 2013 at 10:05 am #

    The article is great and spot on! The last quote stays with me, especially the last line “It wasn’t that fun of a game anyway.”

    The only thing I would recommend is to have your plans in place so that when it happens it does not catch you by surprise. Some money to live on and a plan for your time whether it is travel, family or search. Build your network as you go and you will find out that you are highly valued and so is your expertise.

    • February 6, 2013 at 10:09 am #

      Absolutely…hard to be an entrepreneur when you need to make the next mortgage payment…


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