Monthly Archives: May 2011

Carnival of Fail: Fired… and not for the first time

I’ve been a huge slacker in the Carnival of Journalism (as in, this is my first post) but this month’s prompt touched a nerve.

I still recall being at my college orientation more than ten years ago. One of icebreakers was for everyone to go around the room and tell everyone what their biggest fear is. I’m not sure how seriously people answered the question, but my stated fear was entirely sincere and still plagues me today. What I said to the room then and what I’m telling you all again now is that I fear failure.

Now, when you fear failure as I do, talking about it isn’t something you like to do. In fact, you’d like to pretend you’ve never failed at anything. But I’m going to press on to tell you about my latest failure: getting fired from my first legitimate, full-time media job. And as the title of the post suggests, it wasn’t the first time. No, it was instead my fifth time being fired.

This used to be an embarassing statistic for me, but now I’ve decided to own it because I finally figured out what I actually failed at all those times I was dismissed from my job. What I now know is that I never failed at doing my job. I failed and was fired because I walways did it the way I thought was best.

Doing something the way one thinks is best sounds ok on its face, but almost anyone who’s ever worked for someone can tell you that most bosses just want you to shut up and take orders. They don’t want you to improve anything, they don’t want you to offer your own ideas, they don’t want you to change anything. They definitely don’t want to be challenged. They just want you to do as you’re told. Simple. People who do this, they don’t get fired. Maybe they don’t get promoted either, but they hold nice, safe, stable jobs for a long time.

While I’ve learned this lesson over and over, I’ve never been able to put it into practice. You could say that that’s another failure, but I’d like to think of it as a strength instead. Because what all the failures have taught me is that I finally know what I want and need in a workplace, in a company and in a boss. It’s only a failure if you don’t learn anything, right? Well, I’ve learned a lot.

……Or maybe I’m just in denial and my failure is seeing things clearly. What do you think?

Columbia, MO has some very redeeming qualities. This place is one of them.