I can’t remember the day, but I remember the moment.
I took a deep breath, walked through the front door of the main office, and felt the warmth of freedom wash over me. I was still lost in thought as I began to trek back to the warehouse where my work sat waiting to be completed by another man’s hands. It was someone else’s problem now.
My thoughts were interrupted as a forklift skidded to a halt in the drive. I looked up at the sound of my foreman’s voice.
“Hey Stew! What’d they want?” He hollered down from the driver’s seat.
“Oh. They fired me!” I bellowed back.
His gaze turned back towards the dusty windshield of the forklift as he digested my response. He turned back to face me as the sun danced off the mirrored lens of his sunglasses. “No shit! What are you gonna’ do?”
I contemplated the question for a moment before I offered my response. “Join the Army!”
I’m not sure what else happened that day, but I do remember that.
I’m sure my uncle, the man in charge of hiring and firing, felt relieved and maybe conflicted over the event. I’m not sure I ever asked him.
There wasn’t much to discuss.
The day I was fired I was informed that management decided I wasn’t a good fit for the company, and they were right.
I was 19, and I was a proud kid. I lacked direction, but I did know that I didn’t belong there; and they didn’t want me.
The feeling was mutual.
Up until that moment I wasn’t willing to act on that information though. If I were to quit the future looked pretty uncertain, and besides my pride wasn’t going to let me do that.
Hard work wasn’t new to me, I was raised in a blue collar family, and hard work was what we did.
Before I ever took that job I did farm work off the books; moving hay the old fashioned way, by walking the fields and stacking it in the loft.
I’d also worked prepping chicken in the basement of a bar; for barbeque at a road side stand. I was learning life lessons, and blue collar politics, through the banter of middle aged bar maids and pass time drunks. Washing bathrooms between seasonings.
I wasn’t about to quit. You see, in my view I took that job despite the fact that other people felt I may not be able to handle the rigors of it. Moving 500 pallets a day wasn’t light work by any definition of the word.
I’ve never been a fan of letting other people decide my limitations for me.
Being released from that job meant I was able to pursue life, and I’m grateful I was giving the opportunity to move on.
…and move on I did.
Sometimes life’s little hiccups aren’t hiccups at all. Their slingshots that propel us to our higher calling.
P.S. Please excuse the language in this post, I didn’t think it would be right to remove the authenticity of the conversation that took place. Thanks!