It’s been a while since I’ve been asked for my resume, but it happened recently. That would make most people think back on all the jobs they held and excelled at, but it just inspired me to begin counting all the times I had stormed out or was shown the door out from some company large or small, even though I excelled at the position.
It all began when I graduated at age 17 and decided to forego college for a while in order to earn enough money to buy a car. I had to wait until the age of 18 to work at Pratt & Whitney, where the real dollars were made. I began with an entry-level position at a large insurance company in Hartford. I hated it from the first day.
In a huge open space, just six feet away from each other (early distancing!), a multitude of sad women sat at desks with the female boss in the back of the room, watching over every move, including the length of time spent in the ladies’ room. Everyone smoked at their desk and everyone was older than me, except for one girl. We became friends and typed little messages to each other, dropped on our respective desks — early texting!
Over lunch one day in the cafeteria, we hatched a plan for something bigger and better, which included a shared apartment and new jobs. Upon our return from lunch, I was immediately summoned to the desk in the back and reprimanded for 1) Sharing notes between desks 2) Writing, signing and mailing letters to insured members that were unapproved and inappropriate (i.e., being helpful and encouraging for their insurance claim) and WORST 3) Pretending to be visiting the ladies’ room and actually running across the street to the book store. Evidently there were ladies’ room spies everywhere. I mouthed off at the woman at the desk in the back and was fired on the spot. I was thrilled.
Fast forward to the first job I got after moving to Litchfield. I was offered the position when I mailed my resume while still living in south Florida. The fact that I was leaving behind a seven-year stint at an aeronautics giant headquartered on the Port Authority of Miami International Airport sealed the deal. I began working at B/E Aerospace, Litchfield’s largest employer and taxpayer. The people I worked with were delightful. I told my boss that what they needed was an employee newsletter for the 700 employees on three shifts at that point. She said, Sure, do it! So, I did, and then got a little cocky and told her a great way to improve employee satisfaction at the last position I had was hosting an Easter egg hunt with clowns and balloons and fun foods for everyone’s kids. Since that involved a budget beyond her pay grade, she told me to get approval from the CEO. He was out of the country, so I spoke with his executive assistant, a woman I was meeting for the first time. I pitched the idea, telling her in great detail how it had been a huge success. She promised to run it by the CEO.
The next morning, the HR manager met me at the door and ushered me into her office, closing the door. She said that everyone in my department liked me, and I was doing an excellent job, but regretfully (a word you never want to hear from someone in HR), they were letting me go. I demanded to know what transgression I had committed, and figuratively squirming in her chair, she said, “The CEO called me and said to let you go because his assistant felt that you thought you were better than her. She’s his right hand, so he wants to keep her happy.” She whispered, “You can contest it if you want.” I didn’t, but six months later, after I was enjoying one of the most challenging and exciting positions I’d ever had, the news hit that B/E Aerospace was doing some corporate restructuring and shutting down in Litchfield.
I left behind the corporate world at that point, and ultimately became a freelancer, which means you take on a lot of smaller, varied roles — best decision ever.