Business > Why I Thanked my Boss for Firing Me

| June 1, 2015

Business

Jim Blasingame, Forbes

In 1989 I was managing the national ad sales effort for a sports magazine, based out of my home office. Having designed that office space as part of the house I’d built a dozen years earlier when I was a territory sales rep for Xerox, I was home-based long before being home-based was cool.

At 8:30am one Monday the phone rang – of course, I was at my desk. The caller was a boss who got to the point: They had a new plan for how they were going to market, but I wasn’t going to be part of their plan. The call was over by 8:35.

As I collected my thoughts, the first clear one was that I’d better dust off my resume. After all, I had a pretty good one: 23 years of successful corporate employment, from sales rep to C-Suite. And then there were those five other details: a wife, two teenagers and two mortgages.

But for some reason, I couldn’t pull the trigger. I remember thinking, “I don’t need any help screwing up my life; I can do that by myself.” So at 8:36am, my Macintosh and I designed the logo and business cards for my new business, Jim Blasingame & Associates, Business Consultants. At that moment the Mac and a laser printer were my associates.

Reinvention was nothing new to me. I had successful tenures in more than one industry over the years. But this trip was new because I was now going to work the high-wire act of entrepreneurs, which by definition means without a net. A professor friend calls it, “Living by your wits.”

That life-changing phone call came 26 years ago this week and I’ve since reinvented myself as a business owner at least one other time. Along my entrepreneurial journey there have been good times and bad times. Speaking of the latter, there were times when I didn’t know if I would be in business one more hour, let along another day. Entrepreneurship is not for sissies.

But in all the time since that momentous call I’ve never looked back – even when offered a job during one of those tough times. I’ve loved being a small business owner for the past 26 years, warts and all, for one prime reason: ownership. But not just business ownership.

This might sound strange, but I love that I have ownership of the challenges, too. All of them, against all odds. Because when you own the challenges, by definition you own the opportunities you turn them into.

Money and stuff are just ways to keep score. Claiming ownership of a Tyrannosaurus Rex business-eating challenge and turning it into your advantage is, to me, what being a small business owner is all about. Perhaps you can relate.

By the way, within a year I called that boss and thanked him for firing me.

Write this on a rock … Ring, ring … “Hello. Oh, hi, boss. What? I’m fired? Okay. Thank you very much.”

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