loading...
Cover image for On Being Fired

On Being Fired

jenc profile image jen chan Updated on ・2 min read

comment cross-posted from FunFunForums

I have been laid off once and fired twice. This sounds really bad but I’m not ashamed. I hear that it happens all the time, and unfortunately the lower down the food chain you are, the easier it is to dispose people. It’s extremely humbling and a good kick in the head. The first was an email dev thing that got cut due to a company downsize. The second was tech support that was supposed to breadcrumb into a dev job but the company expanded; I didn't do anything right. The most recent one was a software dev job where they said I had a great attitude but my code wasn’t up to standard.

I had a part in creating such a precarious situation for myself. I have no CS background and I accepted the first offers I got to get my foot in the door and didn’t (have the experience to) consider whether I had a future for growth there. The first two jobs, I was way too friendly and concerned with being a “fit” and it probably made people uncomfortable. At my last “real” dev job, I got a lot out of code reviews (even enjoyed them despite being wrong 90% of the time) but it became apparent I was too inexperienced. So it was better that I had that job than if I had not.

It is such a tough pill to swallow, and after the second one I really didn’t know if I could handle another. But I came back, and felt a lot more resolved not to be too open about myself at work. There’s a lot of reconsideration and reflecting to do, and obviously for me now, I need to take time to upskill. I definitely feel a lot of looming fatalism every time I take on a new role, but all I can do is my best. The best way is to deal for me is to take time off if I can, remember why I enjoy coding, and leave on as best of terms as possible. Staying positive in times of stress and being attentive and simply asking how you can help others goes a long way. Ultimately, you want to keep the door open to work in the future and a good reference… plus being on the receiving end of this will eventually make me a good manager. At least, I want to believe that.

Further Reflections

I've been listening to the Dr. Death podcast and find an odd commonality between me and the subject, Chris Duntsch. Unable to accept that I'm not good at my profession, I keep trying over and over.

On the other hand, I don't oversell myself and haven't killed anyone (or anything) as a result of my persistence. I take that as a sign that I am not the tech equivalent of Dr. Death.

Discussion

pic
Editor guide
Collapse
ben profile image
Ben Halpern

The most recent one was a software dev job where they said I had a great attitude but my code wasn’t up to standard.

I'm pretty sure I could have succumb to this same fate if I were placed in certain situations. You're very clearly a self-aware, competent dev and you'll bounce back.

Collapse
jenc profile image
jen chan Author

Oh Ben it gives me so much hope that you say that.
In all three jobs they had praised me for professionalism (thanks for not crying, hacking, or flipping shit?) and positivity. I was starting to think that’s just not enough as I’ve definitely seen more dramatic and less efficient characters get promoted. 🤔 at the end of the day I should focus on my aptitude 😓

Collapse
aut0poietic profile image
Jer

Seriously, don't let it get to you.

I've been doing this for well over 20 years. I've been laid off a few times, fired, and left at least one place in a storm of rage and controversy. ¯\(ツ)

None of that says anything about me. This doesn't say anything about you. Over the course of any person's life, they'll experience all of this and more. That is what we, in the small fishing village from whence I came, call experience.

Really, it just sounds like these weren't a fit for you just now. There are still more dev jobs out there than there are people to fill them. There are shops where the team will be excited to help you grow your skills ( I happen to run one such shop and know ours is not the only one ).

Jump back in. Go do some contract work if the job sounds enjoyable. Play constantly. Have fun and good luck.

Collapse
jenc profile image
jen chan Author

Yeah I agree, this is all in part professional experience, albeit in a negative light. And thanks for sharing your journey too. With time comes perspective and I have to admit, this time I sensed it coming right down to the day it happened :D

A huge incentive for me for turning this comment into a post is to normalize and destigmatize the reality of being fired, laid off, let go... etc.

Anything is possible, and I wouldn't put it past anyone to consider me both:
hardworking but unproductive,
friendly yet ill-fitting,
transparent but too honest,
...to no fault of my own or theirs.

I do have serious doubts about my ability to keep a job because keeping my head down isn't working. Like zomg, what now? oh yeah, I need more than a basic command of JS. Haha. hahahaha

Collapse
shawonashraf profile image
Shawon Ashraf

Don't let it get the best of you. Stay focused on what you want to do and make those who laid you off regret their decision. I got laid off from my first job because I was unwanted in the team and the CTO insisted that I should be hired and they just didn't need another guy in the team, especially a newbie. From day one, I was like an alien in the office (well apart from the support staff, they're great.) I was never really told what to do or where to do things. All I used to hear in the weekly reviews is that "Hey you shouldn't do it this way or that way" instead of giving me a starter in the first place. Then, they're having meetings every week without me. Imagine this, your team is having a team meeting and you don't even know! That basically means, the boss hired you but we don't need you. It was a serious blow to my confidence. Those were dark times.

But hey! after a month or so, I started doing contracts for people. Switched to iOS App development and I absolutely love doing it now. Though I don't have a permanent job, I like it. Maybe, the permanent job I'm looking for hasn't surfaced yet, or maybe, I'm better off doing contracts for people. You don't have to do what others are doing. What's best for you will come up eventually. Just grab your chances at the right moment.

Collapse
jenc profile image
jen chan Author

Hi Shawron, thanks for sharing your experience with me. I definitely agree I should explore different types of work. What you mentioned are definitely things to look out for when starting a job. Team having meetings without including you—I’m familiar with that one. That’s the fog horn to start looking elsewhere...
An unsupportive team does make work harder too. I’m sorry you went through that. Glad you found a specialty that works for you!

Collapse
rifqi31 profile image
Rifqi Muttaqin

Is okay bro, I feeling like that too.
Just take the lesson from that, and cheers up, hey maybe you will be best developer from that case, 😄 I'm beginner too, starting "first" job in startup, why ? I'm using "first" term, because my first job give me review code in short time, and then.. I quit from that, because they didn't give me a chance to learn first about they workflow and yelling me wrong on my codes, after I'm quit, I try to learn C# 💻 and improve my python 🐍 skill, but fortune tell me differently 😦 , I'm hired by startup and using javascript, but they give me chance to learn javascript first, and chit chat ordinary with other co-workers. I hope you get the job right soon. We didn't know what happen in future right 😅

Collapse
jenc profile image
jen chan Author

Thanks for your kind words. I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience with code reviews. Some jobs do expect people to be ready out-of-the-box but if they don’t give you a thorough walkthrough of their processes and codebase they’re setting people up to fail. Glad you found something that works for you.

Collapse
hmojicag profile image
Collapse
znick1982 profile image
Nikolay

I think you had a great experience.
Now it is a good time to start your own business and lower the dependency on a full-time job.

Collapse
jenc profile image
jen chan Author

That’s a bold suggestion! I plan on working more before doing that. Due to inexperience, I’ve discovered I enjoy being told I’m wrong or corrected to improve my standards... I’ve had another career in academia where it was easy for me to see how things were strong or weak and I became disenchanted... and this one is more interesting when you can constantly learn

Collapse
jenc profile image
jen chan Author

I wish I could find God. I was raised secular haha. The wonderful thing is I guess computers are my religion 😂

Collapse
th3n00bc0d3r profile image
Muhammad

Dont worry its part of the play, everything bad that you think happpened to you is an opportunity in disguise. Look at it

Collapse
jenc profile image
jen chan Author

Thanks dude. I prefer not to think it's "part of the play" though and take responsibility for my narrative outcome...