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The Silver Lining

Losing a job or getting fired can have a dramatic effect on an individual. Yet, experts talk of looking at it from a positive point of view, of taking the whole situation as a learning curve and using it as a stepping stone to achieve far greater things. History is strewn with heroes who have failed numerous times before making it big. Walt Disney, for example, was fired for his lack of drawing ability, and look at what he has achieved.


In the Middle East, the workplace is a battleground with stories of success and failures, not just of CEOs and directors. Every level of the corporate ladder has casualties. Most of them bounce back. Take the case of Wissam.  He was a waiter in a leading restaurant in  Dubai.

A graduate in Business Management, he took to waiting tables because he could not  find the kind of job he was looking for. Today, six months to the day he was fired, he has his own catering service, an uptown apartment, a flashy new SUV and employs more than 50 people in his company. He says “I had to be optimistic, the only road for me was forward and I was willing to take risks. If I had not been fired I would still be waiting tables. The key is to have the courage and the resolve to take risks without dreading failure.”


“The other important thing is that you need to work at it, you just can't give up. It's not easy. You have to understand failure, understand frustration, and above all have patience with a very high degree of humility”. The tag of failure can be like a disease, eating at you slowly. “One has to have the determination to succeed. I feel that, if one hasn't failed yet, one probably will, and for the benefit of one's career, one probably should'.

His new found success has given him a little pride and with that pride he quotes Bill Gates on hiring employees with a slight' bad track record. It shows that they take risks. The way people deal with things that go wrong is an indicator of how they deal with change.”


Not all people have the courage like Wissam. On the other side of the coin is Dirar. He used to work in a bank and when we spoke to him, he had just been fired. With a family, a car loan, and steeping rent, he decided to hang up his boots, consolidate and head back home, where he feels his future will be more secure. He says ‘the risk here in the Middle East is too high'. Not having a job can tear a man apart. He was not prepared for failure. A lesson learnt the hard way, he says. From now on he will be prepared for any eventualities. He now plans to take some time off, re-think his position and give it another shot.


What else can an individual do to bounce back? We have compiled a few tips that we think will help:


1) Find your purpose in life:

Take the time to evaluate your situation. Were you doing the best thing for you? Clearly not! You were not good at it and hence the firing. Denial is not the answer. Assess your skills and qualifications. Perhaps you were meant to be an entrepreneur and not a circus clown.


2) Give yourself time to think:

Losing your job is disappointing. But it's not the end of the world. This is the time to be calm and have a little breathing space. Take time, think a lot, and ask people for advice, family and friends, especially critical friends, they don't lie.


3) Relish in the present and look to the future:

The past is done, you can't change it, but you can surely learn. This is the reality, accepting it is your best bet. It may not seem like it now, but this might be the best thing that has happened to you.


4) Figure out why you were fired:

The blame game, that's not helpful. It may be satisfying but it's important to find out what you did wrong that got you fired, so in the future you're better prepared. A good way to find out is to talk to your friends at your previous work place. Better still, talk to the sarcastic colleague you used to hate. It will take humility and courage though.


5) The small things

  • Update your CV and this time have someone professional do it for you


  • Take your time to look for what's best for you


  • Talk to people, seek advice


  • Learn from your mistake, seek inspiration


  • Get additional skills, take a course or two


  • Don't stress your family, always assure them, it's therapeutic for you


The loss of a job need not be the calamity of calamities; it's a second chance to get things right. Failures are pillars of success. They don't say that for nothing. If you look at it more deeply, that's your answer right there, because now you know, you have tasted the bitterness and like a child learning not to touch hot things, and stumbling and falling before being able to take the first step. Consider this as your .stumble'. To quote Michael Douglas from his movie Ghost and the Darkness, “you have been hit and you are down, but the getting up is up to you.” So are you the next Bill Gates, the next Richard Branson? Who knows! Sometimes, it takes failure to find the silver lining among the clouds and to step on another path to success.


Wissam and Dirar are just two examples in a circle, spinning since the birth of human civilisation. There have always been Wissams and Dirars and that does not look like it's about to change, so the question is how to get out of the circle and is that even possible? Wissam says, “I am in a position now to be away from the circle, to dictate my own terms, and lay down my own law.”


That said he still has to follow the rules and that way one is always linked to the circle. That's the game, he says, “To beat it or die trying”. Dirar, however, feels that a person's best bet “is to stay in the circle,” one has to depend on something, he says. “I don't have the luxury of choice, I either work or starve.” The .game' for him is too much of a gamble, one that he is not willing to take. Ultimately that's what it boils down to, gamble!


Courtesy: Arabian Man

Posted: 25/06/2008




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