Many know that hardship, coupled with hard work and resiliency, can help us. Having true grit can be a differentiator for the most successful among us.
Sixteen years ago last week, I began my career in digital marketing. The day I started at a company called Mediaplex, the company's stock was trading at $88. One year later, it was a penny stock. The dot.com implosion was underway. Jobless at 25, my career trajectory changed.
I'll never forget the conversation I had with my father afterward. He said, "Christopher, this is the best thing that could happen to you. You're young. You're resilient. You don't have a family. You don't have a mortgage. You can do anything you want right now."
Dad had the wisdom of perspective. He saw that there was opportunity ahead. He knew that there were benefits of getting fired while I was still young.
Here are five oddly helpful benefits of getting fired in your 20s and 30s
If perhaps you've assumed you're the best at what you do, nothing is more of a wake-up call than termination. Confronted with the reality that you don't know it all can be a watershed moment, especially for young people, creating the scar tissue to help you lead with humility rather than bombast.
No matter how smart you are, realizing that things sometimes don't go your way is the ultimate life lesson. Resilient people are adept at defining an alternate path to success, putting aside their pre-conceived notions of success while driving to a new approach to their career.
Being a part of lay-offs may not feel so good. Being able to feel empathy for those experiencing a similar situation will cultivate rapport. Those who experience unemployment early on will understand the plight and point of view of others. Later on in life -- whether you run your own company, or team -- you will never take termination of a team member lightly.
4. Growth mindset.
Embracing the experience as an opportunity to grow and learn is empowering. Those who get excited when placed in foreign situations like unemployment will succeed at landing in a new job, as well as in life. Excitement to learn and grow when placed in an adverse situation is a new skill set that will only buoy your employment options.
If you have taken a job out of necessity, finding yourself out of work can be the impetus to finally seek your true passion. The autonomy cultivated while defining your purpose is the path to true mastery.
My entrepreneurial career began after I lost three jobs in two years. I credit those experiences for my success today.
Unemployment forced me to rethink, redefine, and reimagine everything I had learned about business and life. I don't wish unemployment for you, but I do hope you can see the value of hard times early in your career as opportunity rather than setback.
If you're in the midst of unemployment, know that you're not the first, and that there is a silver lining.