When it’s time to fire yourself

A lot of people are unemployed right now—some laid-off, some fired. For many, it may even be their first experience with involuntary termination. Not for me. I’ve probably been fired more than most. And, as an owner of my own business, I’ve done it to myself. Yes, there have been more times than I care to admit—so many, in fact, that I’ve lost track—when I’ve looked at myself in the mirror and said “I’ve had it with you. You’re fired.”

There are plenty of times when you should fire yourself too, even if you’re not self-employed. My pink slips have come when I possessed a healthy dose of one or more of the following maladies:

  • Poor attitude. There are days when my attitude just plain stinks. I get cranky, irritable and impatient with others. It starts to slip when I begin thinking more about me than the outcome of my work and the people I am working with. When I track how inconvenienced I feel by my work and others’ demands, resentment sets in and, with it, a less than pleasant demeanor.
  • Poor attendance. Why should I continued to be employed at a job I’m not willing to show up for? That’s exactly what happens, though, when I find myself flagging in zeal for my work. Yes, owners of their own business can want to escape too. Whether physically, mentally, or emotionally, checking out is nothing short of being AWOL.
  • Poor results. When I don’t fully engage in my labors, results suffer. My clients (or perhaps for you, your boss) may not think anything’s wrong. They may be perfectly pleased with my deliverables. But I know I could have, and should have, given them a better product or delivered it sooner.

If you find yourself, as I have, with some of these performance problems, here’s how to fire yourself:

  • Go “home”. You don’t keep working when you are fired. You go “home” and think about what just happened. Giving yourself permission to take some time out to review your performance is good employment policy. Of course, if you don’t have the flexibility to leave your workplace upon your self-imposed termination, you can do it during your break time, lunch time or wait for a weekend to fire yourself.
  • Rate your performance. Give yourself an honest performance review. If it helps, write down all the things you think you’ve accomplished as well as your “areas that need improvement”.
  • Create a corrective plan & rehire yourself. Delivering poor performance is not like you. Something is wrong. Find the problem and plan corrections. Are you fatigued? Schedule a vacation or rearrange your schedule to get the breaks you need. Is someone creating extraordinary stress? Enlist a teammate to help in some way. Are you feeling stuck? Find a life coach. For every problem, there are corrective options. List the changes you’ll make and even sign it as a way to cement your commitment to improve. Now, your ready to be rehired.
  • Monitor your plan. With corrective plan in place, schedule another performance review. Tweak the plan if necessary. The goal is to make the necessary adjustments so you can avoid another self-firing; at least for awhile.

Firing yourself, of course, is a lot less painful than having a boss or a client do it, because you’ll hire yourself back again. If you don’t terminate yourself when you need it, however, chances are, in time, they will do it for you.

If you’ve “fired yourself,” what are some of the things you’ve found helpful to get yourself rehired again?

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