The most discouraging phone call of my career was in July 2003. I took that call while sitting at the desk in my home office in Carlsbad, CA. After four years of hosting Weekend AllNight on ESPN Radio, I was being replaced. I felt shock, disbelief, anger, despair, betrayal, bewilderment and a loss of confidence. Maybe I wasn’t as good as I thought. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be replacing me, right?
I was 36. I sobbed.
After several days I was able to sort through most of my emotions. The one that remained, though, was my lack of confidence. I wondered if maybe I had been fooling management for the past four years. Maybe they never listened to the show. After all, it aired in the middle of the night on weekends. Maybe when they finally listened, they realized it sucked. Or maybe the person who hired me thought of weekend overnights as a throwaway shift. When new management came in, I reasoned, they put new emphasis on the time slot and thought I wasn’t good enough.
In the years since, I’ve learned that losing confidence is not uncommon after losing a job. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help yourself.
Four tips for healing your confidence after losing your job:
- Understand that the reason for your dismissal might have nothing to do with performance. Maybe management wants someone less expensive. Maybe they want to bring in their “own guy.” Maybe somebody doesn’t like you. Whatever the reason, getting fired doesn’t automatically mean that you’re not good.
- Understand that sportscasting is like coaching. You’re hired to be fired. Realizing that it happens to most everyone makes it easier to appreciate that there’s not something uniquely wrong with you.
- Remind yourself that getting fired is the end of a job, not the end of a career. The number of major market sportscasters who have been fired at some point is staggering.
- Know that losing a job often leads to a better position. You’ll often get fired forward. Unemployment will show you how much you have grown since you were last in the sportscasting job market. Usually, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that your value is greater than the last time you were looking for work.
Losing a job is tough. Take a day for self-pity, and then start looking at the loss of your job as the birth of a new opportunity. Getting fired doesn’t happen to you, it happens for you. Knowing that will help you land your next, and maybe even better, opportunity.
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