The Most Improbable Thing Happened to Me this Week
I was about 5 months pregnant with my son, Jesse, when my boss fired me from my dream job. That was almost a decade ago and that’s not the improbable part, what happened this week is and that’s what I want to share with you now.
I loved the job. We were selling ringtones and other fancy-pants mobile goodies circa 2005 and it was on the true cutting edge of what was possible in marketing. I had a rough pregnancy (that’s an understatement) but I still drove an hour to work each day excited for the adventure.
I was so sick when I was pregnant that I used to drive with a wide-mouth Gatorade bottle in my cup holder so I didn’t have to pull over to throw up.
Anyway, this one fateful Friday I was signing an online advertising contract with a vendor and I walked over to my boss’s desk. I asked him if he needed to sign it or if I could. He was all about empowering me to do my thing so he said, “You’ve read it? You are confident it’s good? Then you sign it!”
Thrilled, I signed my fanciest sig and walked down the hall to the fax machine to send it off and then headed out for the weekend whistling Dixie.
The calls started coming mid-day Saturday from the web guy. “What did you do? There is so much traffic coming to the website we can’t keep the servers up!”
“Good problem to have!” I said and we laughed and high-fived each other over the phone.
The advertising contract I signed was a hit. We were racking up a month of new business in a day.
On Sunday the calls kept coming but the tone was getting more serious. Robin, my boss, was on a ski trip and the CEO was at a wedding. The web guy wasn’t sure what to do. How much money was all this traffic going to cost us? Should we take the site offline?
I drove to work Monday morning, wide-mouthed Gatorade bottle to my right and I threw up the entire way. Not from morning sickness though, from fear of what I was going to face at work.
Over the weekend we had racked up a $750,000 advertising bill! The contract I signed had an auto-renew component to it, so even though I only committed to a $30,000 spend, it kept renewing, sending us a massive flow of customers at a rate we couldn’t possibly keep up with financially.
When the dust settled and the contract was dissected, along with all of my correspondence with the vendor and my boss, a head had to roll. That head… was mine. I signed the contract. I paid the price.
When Robin sat me down in the conference room and fired me, I was in shock. 5 months pregnant, wracked with morning sickness, and ashamed I had made such a devastating mistake in the business I loved. WHY WOULDN’T THEY ACCEPT MY APOLOGY?
I had no idea how I was going to find another job while I was pregnant or with a newborn.
I thought I’d never work again.
I thought I was being punished when really the company should have had a better policy for how contracts got signed.
I thought the vendor pulled one over on us. They never hinted this might happen.
And I thought Robin should have thrown himself in front of the bus to protect me.
I was angry. For months. Even years.
Yes, I made a mistake. But how did firing me solve the problem!?!?!
That blood bath kicked off a horrible chain of events for me. Everything, everywhere in my life started to go wrong. My pregnancy got worse and led to a colicky baby, my marriage started falling apart in all the worst ways, I couldn’t find another job I loved as much as that one so I jumped around trying to recapture that level of satisfaction. I lost friendships. I piled on pounds. I was fighting with my family. And I didn’t know how to get myself out of the hole I’d dug.
And then I found a life coach and I started to take back responsibility for my choices.
Maybe Robin wasn’t an asshole for firing me.
Maybe I made a mistake I needed to learn from (I’m really good at reading contracts now.)
Maybe there were other forces at work and it was time for me to leave that job.
Maybe I wasn’t the victim after all.
Years later, after I’d released all my anger about being fired from my dream job, I bumped into Robin again. Only now he wasn’t a telecommunications executive anymore, now he was a healer – a modern day Shaman, in fact.
In the years where I was cleaning up my story, he was cleaning up his and as much as the experience of that job changed me, it changed him too.
A series of bizarre coincidences led us to meet up this week and a funny thing happened. I hired him as my Chief Marketing Officer.
Yup, the guy who fired me from my dream job and ruined my life, he’s on my team now and I couldn’t be happier. It’s funny how things go in life. I couldn’t have dreamed this up and yet it all feels kind of perfect.
Does stuff like this just happen to me?
What’s the most improbable thing that’s happened in your life? This one is right at the top of my list!
P.S. After all this talk about writing a book, does doing it in 3 days seem pretty improbable? It might. But it is possible. More possible than hiring the guy who ruined your life perhaps! Want to find out more? Schedule for a free strategy session with me so we can see if it’s a fit: https://authorincubator.acuityscheduling.com/schedule.php?appointmentType=276594