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“Oh, it’s that meeting” was the first thought to cross my mind when I saw the folder in front of the HR lady. I had seen the writing on the wall about 8 months ago when I—how should I say—pissed off some C-level people at one of the companies that’s quickly taking over the world.

And yet, somehow, I still feel like getting fired somehow snuck up on me.

I’d been applying to jobs for about a year before I got fired, and it took me another 7 agonizing months to land another job.

I had previously worked for 6 years in customer service with some of the scummiest customers on Earth. So, when I got fired from my first office job, I knew how to keep a fake smile and calm exterior long enough to get to my car and vent some frustration.

I’ll be honest; it wasn’t fun.

Being unemployed—when the news keeps telling me that it was the best job market in years—sucked. Record unemployment, my ass. The cocktail of rage, depression, and anxiety make for a nasty aftertaste.

I could focus on what I did wrong—how I could have changed my personality to be able to gossip about the latest episode of The Bachelor, how to make people interested in making their data centers more power efficient, and any number of things that used to keep me up at night when I worked there. I could have wallowed in self-pity, a blanket cocoon, and Netflix. Instead, I chose to let go of the toxicity, and that’s when I realized something unexpected…

Getting fired was the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I was at a pivotal moment in my relationship with my girlfriend’s kids in getting them to welcome me into their family and not see me as “the guy that made mommy hate daddy.” Suddenly, I had a forced vacation at the same time that the girls were on school vacation. After spending a bunch of time with them, I realized that they didn’t need anything special in order for me to gain their affection, I just had to be there.

You know how people say “I’d write a book if only I had time,” but we all know it’s an excuse to not write it? I had all the time in the world. And I actually used it to write that book! I have a copy of the signed contract hanging on my wall and everything. Bucket list, meet checkmark. Checkmark, meet minor sense of accomplishment.

Oh! And I was “discovered” by The Prompt Mag. #HumbleBrag

When I did finally get a new job, it beat the pants off the one that fired me.

One-third the commute for twice the money doing more meaningful work? Thankfully my girls taught me how to dab (I’m still working on the floss, but that embarrasses them, so I might stay bad at it).

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If I hadn’t been fired, I wouldn’t have the new job that doesn’t make me contemplate suicide every time I drive home. I wouldn’t have written a book. And I wouldn’t have the amazing relationship I now have with my soon-to-be step-daughters.

I feel like I should be angry, that I should harbor bad feelings, but I don’t. Sure, the old job had a lot of flaws that I could spend a few hours discussing—ask anyone, I can throw shade with the best—but I don’t need to dwell on it anymore. My life is so much better as a direct result of having been fired that there is really only one thing I want to say: Thanks for pushing me to move on to bigger and better things.

Ryan Fay

Ryan is an editor and semi-pro author with life goal of having enough money to buy the cool things people make in DIY videos.

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