Unexpectedly, you lose your job. (Or a loved one. Or something or someone important to you.) What do you do next?
I’ve actually already had this experience before.
But, perhaps we should talk about the first time.
It was the year I moved to Melbourne. I had moved down here to study dance full time. Previously I felt like the big fish in a very, very, small pond. When I went to dance school, I was actually more like the very, very small, slightly retarded fish in a giant fucking ocean.
But soon enough, I found my feet and came out of my shell and worked my arse off and no longer felt like the small retarded fish any more.
Then I got injured.
I injured my spine in a pas de deux class, and without going into detail was told I had to stop dancing, or I’d end up with severe spinal issues for life, and possibly end up in a wheelchair.
So I had a couple of weeks off, and spent most of that time pretty much like this:
wondering what the fuck I was going to do with my life. All I have done is dance. All I know is dance. I didn’t go to uni because I wanted to dance. I hadn’t had a job, because DANCE! And now, all I had was a giant fucking question mark following me around 24hrs a day!
I spent the rest of the term working at the school. I sewed costumes, and supervised rehearsals for the end of year concert and when I wasn’t doing that, I worked downstairs in the office instead. Then one day, on my day off, I get a voicemail from them telling me that I didn’t need to come in tomorrow, they’d given my shift to another staff member. And that they wouldn’t be giving me any more shifts. They refused to give me any explanation as to why, and then stopped returning my calls.
I had just gotten fired.
Via a voicemail.
ON MY FUCKING BIRTHDAY!!
However, when I left them a voicemail expressing my severe disappointment in their management and how unprofessionally they had conducted themselves, I began to make references to unfair dismissal and legal action. Funnily enough, they called me straight back and explained that due to my birthday, I would be entitled to a pay rise as well as other entitlements, and they financially couldn’t afford to keep me on as a casual. I then told them exactly what I thought about them and their school and their dodgy business practices and that they should be more cautious in how they conduct business, and manage their finances, because multiple goverment authorities could easily have them shut down…
…and we’d hate for that to happen, wouldn’t we!!
Surprisingly, I ended up getting my last pay, and a ‘bonus’, and a glowing letter or recommendation for future employers.