Perhaps among the top 2 0r 3 phrases that folks do not want to hear in life, “You’re fired!” along with “It’s not you it’s me…” and “Test results came back positive.”  At just about this precise time one year ago today I was called into Conference Room 1 with my direct supervisor accompanied by the HR manager.  I made the walk to the other side of the complex in nervous anticipation knowing of my fate.  A previous supervisor whom I had respected immensely, and had also been terminated, pointed out to me that people get fired for three main reasons: Performance, Conduct and Attendance.  I had added a fourth category to his list- Politics.  I’d been quoted in an industry periodical cautioning prospective students to examine the benefits of higher education, in terms of return on investment, during a recession and weakening job market.  And while this could fall loosely under “conduct”, rest assured it was a political maneuver.  The executive committee reviewed my remarks and decided it would be in their best interest to dismiss me.

At the moment it was a terrifying experience as I collected a few of my belongings from the cubicle I had occupied for better than 3 years connecting with and enrolling students all across the nation into online degree programs, many of whom remain in touch with me via social media.  In hindsight, it was one of the best things to happen in my life removing me from a stifling culture with no room for advancement, and my integrity to perform ethically compromised.  I considered myself a fiduciary of sorts always keeping the best interests of my students at heart.  Once I began putting some of the data together- a swelling student loan debt to over $1 trillion (greater than consumer credit cards) and job placement figures fudged to encourage enrollment- I knew my days were numbered.  The article citation was merely the nail in a coffin.  I put the fork in myself and assuredly I was done.

Before going home to inform my wife of the news, who had just been laid off from her job, I stopped at Wegman’s to grab a coffee and process what had just transpired.  I conjured up a scathing letter for an exit interview, that I never did end up sending.  I also spent a couple of hours delving into a book that had serendipitously been gifted to me just the evening prior, and what a timely piece of information it had been.  Its contents were like an omen reassuring me that I was exactly where I needed to be, or not be, at this fork in the road.  And so here I am 365 days later enriched by the experience, battle wounds of the heart serving to strengthen my resolve and capacity to love.  I had the audacity, or courage to challenge the status quo and I accept the consequences.  I am now liberated to pursue my personal legend.  Thank you Creator for this incredible journey of life.

In common wealth,

SjK

With joy in your heart you are perfect.

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