By Taylor M.

Anyone who knows me knows I am a planner. I live my life with my calendar permanently attached to my side. I like to know where I’m going and the things that may happen along the way. Spontaneity has ever really been one of my strong suits. Needless to say, it was quite a shock to my system when I was fired from my first full-time job.

I had graduated from graduate school the previous spring, ready to start my career in speech-language pathology. The field of speech pathology is growing in demand, and I was lucky to land a great job right out of school. All was going according to my plan. I moved from my college town to the city where I worked. I began to form friendships with my co-workers. I was beginning to understand  what it meant to be “an adult” living on my own. I remember going to work on Friday, October 3rd ready to see my clients for the day. By mid-morning, I was called into the back office for a meeting with my bosses. There was no sugar-coating or beating around the bush. The speech therapy clinic where I worked was in financial trouble and could only stay afloat with one less check on the payroll. Ever heard the phrase “Last hired, first fired”? That was me. I was told not to worry about seeing my clients later that day, and to take all the time I needed to pack up the contents of my desk. I said a tearful goodbye to my co-workers and turned in my key. I was now unexpectedly unemployed at the age of 23. My “plan” was completely derailed.

I spent the next few days processing through my emotions. Anger about the suddenness of my departure. Sadness about being forced to leave co-workers I enjoyed. Fear of what the future might hold for my career. I spent time with my family and friends to keep from dwelling on the negatives and ‘what-ifs’. The following Monday, I dried what was left of my tears and began working on my resume. There were jobs to be had and it was my new mission to find them. Three weeks after I lost my job, after numerous applications and several interviews, I accepted a job with a school district. I worked there for nearly two school years, and gained so much experience I couldn’t have received in the clinic setting.

Hindsight is always 20/20. Within a year of losing my job, I got married and bought a house in a different town. I would have had to leave my clinic job once I moved. Within that same year, all of the co-workers I enjoyed so much were no longer working there. Being fired was somewhat of a blessing in disguise.

When life throws you lemons, they are rarely part of “the plan”. But, those unexpected struggles have the potential to make the sweetest lemonade.