Losing your job could be the best thing that happens to you it just depends on what you do about it. Take some lessons and inspiration from one of the world most brilliant and successful individuals – Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs had a knack of seeing and creating opportunities for himself no matter the circumstance. This is what he said when he got fired from Apple. “I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over. I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.”
This extract was taken from his speech at Stanford in June 2005. In the second story of his speech Steve talks about when he got fired from Apple.
He titles it: “About love and loss”.
I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.
I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.
I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.
During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the world’s first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.
I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
So losing your job can be devastating when it happens but it also could become the best thing that could happen to you! When it happen it will not feel like it though and you will need time to recover, but dont leave it too long, as you need to be open to explore new ideas and opportunities. There will be many things to deal with and for each person it will be different: dealing with the shock of it, the dent to your ego, fear of what is going to happen next and worrying about your financial situation are just a few. These are all real issues but you must try not to let them overwhelm you and blind you to the fact that this is an opportunity for a new beginning you just need to be open to it. Look at Steve Jobs, he did so time and again!
He searched and found what he loved to do. He started his career that way and continued throughout his life, he was a great entrepreneur and created opportunities for himself. Important thing to learn is that it was because he did what he loved, and he did it with like-minded people who loved what they did as well and with the minimal of resources and money. In Steve Jobs case he did not even have the education and qualifications to start with either but it did not stop him from becoming the most successful and respected person in his field. What he created was not only satisfying and wonderful for himself it changed the way we do things and has had a tremendous impact on the whole world! Now expecting you to change the world is a big ask! But finding and doing what you love is very possible. You just have to try hard and look for it, and if you need help ask for it! The rewards are worth it. If you love what you do, you will not only be good at it, you will be successful!
Steve Jobs realised the importance of doing what he loved and he never gave up pursuing it. He was lucky to get his career right the first time round – but he also managed to lose it. He then learnt that he can’t be good at everything or that some people will be better at some things. What you do in those circumstances is also important. There may be conflict and disagreements and decisions will be made rightly or wrongly that will impact on you. A time will come that you will need to move on and if you do not see the signs or make the choice yourself it could be made for you.
Losing your job does not have to be the end of something good it could be the beginning of something even better and you may learn a thing or two. Steve Jobs said getting fired from Apple was devastating – but he did not get lost in the devastation – he realised that he still loved what he did – he just had to find a new way of doing it. Making mistakes is also human and learning from them is important or they come back to haunt you again. Admitting you have been wrong and apologising may not get you the results you want in the short term but in the long run it may be what was necessary. Also eating some humble pie when called for can be good for you. It could be the reality check you needed to then be able to rediscover yourself, to remember who you are – what you are capable of – and what is important in life. Jobs says in his speech that being fired freed him up from his successes – who would have thought that one would need to be freed up from being successful. What could this mean? Well at least it will free you up from being so caught up and engrossed in yourself and your work, the hype, pressure and busyness. To give you some time to reflect, reassess your life and your options, to create some room to be creative and explore new opportunities. To remember what you enjoy in life and your work and to then go out and find it.
But for me the most important thing that he says is that you need to find and do what you love, if you have not found it keep looking and don’t settle for less!