How I recovered from getting fired
Since 2015, I have held several jobs in the fashion, advertising, and publishing industries that have been both an experience about failing and succeeding. One thing is for sure, I am not afraid of failing and taking risks. Even if this is totally embarrassing to admit. How you fail is the hallmark of a true entrepreneur. So they say.
That’s why during my own failure, I decided to design, write and publish my own zine — Violet Summer Zine — because it was how I maintained my own sanity. It allowed me to be myself.
During the first Issue of Violet Summer Zine I was working as a social media manager and customer service representative at a posh dance studio. I got the job because of my love of dance but it ended up being a total nightmare.
The office was located in a chic loft in Soho with endless supplies of mineral water, almonds, bananas, lemons and avocadoes. I worked there all but six weeks until I was fired for tweeting while black.
Because it was downtown New York, all types of bloggers and fashion executives frequented the studio to workout with the Head Dancer. One day, I got so excited about one celebrity who came in, I took to Twitter to subtweet about it, which ended up being my demise. I tweeted something the celeb had said — “I saw my ex boyfriend three times in one day. #overheard” — on my personal Twitter account because that was probably the most ridiculous thing I could relate to with this uber-posh celebrity.
The Head Dancer who was my boss somehow saw the tweet on her Twitter feed and it was over for me. She thought I was untrustworthy. At the time I thought it was so wack and petty to be fired over a tweet on my own social media account. I was young and dumb. The day I got fired, I could literally feel that it was about to happen, in my bones, but I chose to get dressed up because it would boost my self confidence.
I wore a black skater girl dress with pockets, white leather vans, and magenta YSL lipstick. You know when you feel like shit deep down, but you still wanna look your best? That’s the energy I was channeling. Yet, Satan still reared his ugly head. The Head Dancer pulled me into a private room and told me that this “wasn’t working out.” She gave me a two-week severance package and the morning off.
I was devastated, but deep down, relieved. I walked out with my head high and looking fly AF. I rode the train all the way to 59th street and then I broke down in tears when I got to Central Park. But as they say, everything happens for a reason. I got to finish Issue 1 of my zine while I stayed home looking for a job. A month later, I ended up getting a better contract writing gig at an advertising agency that paid me like $40 an hour. #jackpot
Lesson 1: Don’t tweet anything about the company you work for, even if it’s positive. It’s not your company. So mind your business and collect your check.
The following year, in 2016, I was pumped! I had all this cool work experience under my belt yet I still was laid off because there was a reorg at the advertising agency.
They let a handful of us go including my favorite Beyonce fan in the office. Her whole desk was a homage to Beyonce. On our last day at the agency, I asked her to help me with Issue 2 of Violet Summer Zine. She killed the layout. We met after work and on the weekends to create Issue 2 of the zine. I managed to make over $2,000 of supplemental income in a month. I even got a Vape company from Denver, Colorado to sponsor the zine’s photoshoot, the printing, and basically all the collaborators fees, as well as my rent.
While I was experiencing a lot of success with Issue 2 of the zine, I started working full time at a factory to learn more about fashion. I wanted to learn the nitty gritty details of a Chanel jacket without working at Chanel and to figure out who defines luxury.
At first, my boss was super impressed with my skills after having incompetent assistants. But months into the gig, things started to get weird. There was a lot of yelling and drama, you know, things you’re supposed to have “thick skin” to put up with; I eventually left the factory after a year. I wasn’t about living a Cinderella lifestyle. I clocked out of the slave work and into something more thrilling: freelance writing full time.
Lesson 2: Make alliances with the people in your workplace. They will help you navigate your career path.
During the production of Issue 3 of my zine in 2017, I travelled a lot, freelanced for a bunch of publications as well as wrote blogs for e-commerce sites. Around the middle of 2017, I decided to take a full time role. I made a pro and con list from two jobs that I was offered.
One was in a startup and another was a traditional media job that I always wanted. Here’s the kicker: the con list of my “dream job” was way longer than the pro list.
However, in the end, I ended taking my dream job but was “let go” a few weeks after. It was devastating. I was angry at myself for not sticking to what was on paper. My strategy. The morning the company let me go I wore my favorite pair of pinstripe pants, a silk black blouse, and a cute pair of flats from showpo.com. I held back tears in the conference room. How could this happen to me?! I thought it was my dream job!
With my newfound time, I finished Issue 3 of Violet Summer Zine and TBH it made me feel better. I focused Issue 3 on style and scamming. Everyone has been wronged at some point in their life. You fall prey to something too good to pass up and it ends up being a disappointment. Instead of sulking about it, I just channeled a bunch of that energy into a project that has become my favorite thing to do in the summer.
Thinking about the beach and working with people I am inspired by helped me with my sanity. There’s this one fiction story I wrote about a friend being kidnapped by her Tinder date in the Europe. LOL! When a one night stand turns into a unforgettable heist, now that’s a story I just wanna read!
Lesson 3: Be consistent and smart about your business. Research and know your rights as a small business owner or know what HR is and how their resources can assist when things get shady.
Ultimately, careers in your twenties is about succeeding and failing at something until you find out exactly what you need to do to be happy and support yourself. Whether that be living on a farm and selling your products online or taking a more traditional route, it’s the same thing. So you may as well enjoy the process. That’s what I’m doing.