Updated: December 21, 2021
It was the turn of the millennium, and everyone’s afraid of the Y2K bug. But for this engineer, life couldn’t be more perfect.
He was young and earning above standard industry rates, and had a fun set of friends who are always there to go out with him to the coolest hangouts in the city.
Life was one big party for him.
Until one day, he had a little too much to drink the previous night and overslept. When he woke up, he had ten missed calls from his boss on his phone. He forgot he had a big client presentation that morning. So he rushed to the office but it was too late.
One week later, his boss asked him to resign from work, and find another job.
Just in case you’re wondering… yes, that was me – a story from my dark and decadent past.
And yes, I deserved to get fired. But I wouldn’t say the same to these three friends of mine.
Tom is a business management graduate who first worked as a junior sales executive for a manufacturing firm.
From being a rank and file employee, he worked his way up the corporate ladder and eventually became one of the youngest to ever reach the position of brand manager in his company.
For twelve years, he gave his everything to his job, because he believed in the company and shared its vision.
Until one day, the HR department called him in and offered an “early retirement package” because a productivity consultant hired by the company concluded that his position is redundant.
If he doesn’t take the offer, he will be given a position in another department that pays the same salary, but whose office is in the province, far from his family.
We met for coffee the day after he received the news, and all he said to me was, “Who would have thought I’d be ‘retired’ at the age of 33?”
Charles is a talented graphics designer who finally got his break to work for a big advertising agency.
His work experience made him a cut above the rest of the artists because he’s not only creative but also knew copywriting, a skill he acquired from working many years as a layout artist for a struggling magazine.
That’s why it’s no surprise that barely a year after getting hired, he was promoted to project manager.
But the celebration for his new position was short-lived because two weeks after his promotion, the agency was bought by a multinational company that had more than enough project managers already.
He thought he’ll just go back to his old position after the merger, but the new HR Department had other plans for him.
When you see Michael, you’ll never guess he’s a web developer.
His charming looks and eloquent way of speaking made him a favorite to take to client meetings by his supervisor, where he would always do the presentations and sometimes, even close the deal.
He and his supervisor were an effective team, closing project after project, which made him believe he had a good career going on in the company.
Until one day, shocking news broke out of the office.
One of the vice presidents discovered that his supervisor was putting up his own web development firm, and had been stealing clients away from the company.
Slowly, Michael began to understand why sometimes, they’d meet clients on weekends. And why his supervisor would look very nervous when he’s working on their projects while the big bosses are around.
His supervisor admitted to the deed and was immediately fired. The next day, the HR department told him that he also had to go, regardless of whether he was innocent or not because the company couldn’t afford to take the risk.
At that point, he had two choices – hire a lawyer and file a case against his employer, which could take months or even years to resolve; or just accept the forced resignation offer and move on with his life.
He moved on with his life.
What would happen if life shows you who’s the boss?
Forget my story, but always remember “Tom”, “Charles” and “Michael”.
They all thought their careers were as bright as the morning sun, only to discover that dark clouds came during the night and covered the skies.
Life is unpredictable – and never, ever, assume that you’re secure in your job.
Save. Create multiple sources of income. Invest to grow your wealth.
My friends have learned these lessons. Now, it’s your chance to learn them today.
So that, if ever life suddenly decides to show you who’s the boss – you’ll just shrug it off, smile, stay calm and carry on.
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Photo credits: epsos.de and martin tod
I can relate to this because it happened to me too. Thanks for sharing sir Fitz
So true, this also happened to me. I was already in a top position of a US based company when the global financial crisis forced our company to close. Now, I’m a freelance HR contractor working from home with multiple remote clients. I realized there’s no such thing as secured employment so I need to save my earning in case of an unfortunate incident strikes again.
It pays to be prepared nowadays.
thanks for these stories of life’s wisdom my mentor 🙂
Indeed really true…fitz the best time to prepare for a calamity is when there is none…let me share and quote from Stephen King..
“There’s no harm in hoping for the best as long as you’re prepared for the worst.â€
“Life is unpredictable – and never, ever, assume that you’re secure in your job.”
Absolutely True! Agree?
Thanks for this great article sir fitz!
This article is very nice. Very good life examples. A lot of people will definitely learn from this. Kudos
It’s sad that these stories still happen in the workplace today. That’s why it’s really important to plan ahead for your future. Thank you and pls continue to inspire us.