(Note: I wrote this article in March, but delayed publishing it until today)
Three years ago to this day, I was unceremoniously fired from my job. At the time, I felt like a big failure. After all, no one got fired from the company I worked at. It was such a big deal that I pretty lost touch with all my peers there, because I guess, I was outside the “circle of trust” now. My job was a pretty good gig – fairly interesting work, a nice view of downtown Toronto, good people, competitive pay… everything that added up to mediocre satisfaction.
Getting fired was awkward and embarrassing for me, and it still takes me a bit of courage to write this post as well as the letter later on below.
The truth is, my (many) superiors were right in seeing my decline and giving me a way out. I couldn’t do it anymore. I was a pretty good software engineer/Dilbert with several years of experience. However, I was getting tired. I traded my raises for more vacation time, and it still wasn’t enough. I hated travelling in short spurts and whirlwind vacations. I hated scheduling family time around a limiting work schedule.
Physically, I was worn down. My eyes got tired while my head hurt as I stared at a computer screen for hours on end. I felt stiff from sitting in one spot for such long periods of time. I did my best to counteract the negative physical effects by biking an hour to work in good weather, hiking eight flights of stairs up to my office, and doing yoga during lunch; but they were all really weak attempts to patch a greater problem.
Mentally, I was at my wit’s end. There was nothing I was working on that stimulated me. Day in and day out, I had nothing to look forward to but the same massive chunk of programming code. I was trading my time away for perceived security and comfort.
During employee reviews, I requested transfers to other departments to explore other lines of work as well as to go part-time, which only raised the alarms. Other positions might have been a change but most likely would have been even more mind-numbing.
In all honesty, I was looking elsewhere already, and had begun tinkering away on side businesses, but it was difficult to do both at the same time since the 9-5 was draining all my time. I was taking too long to get it together to leave – I didn’t know what life was like anymore outside the 9-5.
脱サラする Datsu-sara suru (Freedom From Work For Work’s Sake)
Fast forward to today. Things are better. Much better. And I have discovered getting fired was one of the greatest opportunities ever handed to me. So today, I wrote