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So, you got fired?

October 31, 2016
Friday was my last day at the part-time gas station job I have worked at for the last three-and-a-half years. Initially, I felt a little sad at being dismissed from my job. I don’t really know what I did to get fired.  I had been thinking about quitting for some time, so, maybe this was supposed to happen? I wanted to quit on my own terms after finding a new job, but reality said otherwise. There could have been any reason my boss had thought that working for him was no longer viable. It is okay. I was dying while I was there. My boss did say that he felt I was not a good fit for retail because my stress levels and anxiety were interfering with my ability to perform well and provide good customer service. I can list several reasons why this dismissal is a good thing.
I would be lying if I said I wasn’t a little bit angry, or maybe a little depressed. However, as I write this blog, my intention is not to lash out angrily, or bash my former employer. There are two ways I can look at my dismissal; I can look at myself as a victim and say, “boo-hoo-hoo,” or I can look at my current circumstances as an opportunity for something greater.  I choose to look at my situation as an opportunity, and a time for growth, learning and discovery. It is not a time to become reclusive like Obi-Wan Kenobi.
One of the reasons why this dismissal is a good thing is my health was much better three years ago. I have asthma and occasional upper respiratory problems due to the particles in the air, and changing of the seasons. However, at the gas station, it was advertised on the front window that it was a smoke free place, and that could not be further from the truth. At least five people who work at the station smoke. Three of those smokers are mechanics or technicians. One of those smokers often smoked inside the garage after hours and I had to endure several hours of second hand smoke each night. These last few weeks up until my dismissal were especially aggravating for my lungs, and I felt sick almost every night. It affected my overall mood, and keeping my anxiety levels down was very difficult. I do see a therapist regularly to help me with this as well as for ways to deal with hypertension.  Additionally, this person who smokes in the garage each night is an alcoholic. I became barista to this person because of his alcohol addiction.  I think my boss was too passive to correct this issue, and it will likely continue even after I have been long gone from this place of employment.
I hated selling tobacco and alcohol at the gas station. This is another reason I really wanted out of this job. Just a year or a little bit longer prior, I was cited in a sting for selling alcohol to an under aged sting agent. Regardless of the outcome of the citation, what happened was an accident, and humiliating. I confused the tobacco age for the alcohol age when I looked at the agent’s identification card.  I was very fortunate that the judge lowered my penalty from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Ever since that event happened, I had had a nagging feeling in the back of my mind that it was going to happen again. I don’t know if agents had visited us recently, but if I failed because of this, it is an automatic dismissal. My boss did not say anything of the sort, so I must assume it was something else, like my consistent, but not intentional tardiness. I accept responsibility for my recent lateness. I even stayed late to make up for my time. Still not acceptable. I understand.
Being late must have struck a nerve with my boss, but I don’t think that was the reason why he really let me go. I have been struggling with anxiety and depression, and that seems to be the most legitimate answer to me. He must have heard me speaking about my being unhappy working there? Maybe something I said or did was the last straw?  Perhaps someone said something to him about me? I don’t know, and it no longer matters. The job was “at will,” and it was my boss’s decision to let me go. I know it was difficult for him to tell me. It just makes me wonder, that’s all.
Another reason I am glad to be out of the gas station is I do not have to deal with the transients who came daily to loiter and dig through our trash for cans or plastic and mess up our bathrooms.  You never knew what kind of people you were going to have to deal with. After dark, the gas station became an entirely different place, and I often felt unsafe. That place was a robbery waiting to happen.  There were a lot of unsafe practices and activities occurring at or near the gas station. However, those are things I am just referencing, and not going to discuss.  I felt unsafe inside the booth I worked in because I could not see out my window to know who was outside. The blast window was in deplorable shape, and in need of replacing. We no longer kept a bullet proof window inside the mini-mart, and and people could always come in at anytime because the front doors had no real security. The way merchandise was set up inside the store made it easy for people to make beer runs or to steal.
Lastly, the main reason my dismissal is a good thing is it is also a “God-thing.” I had been praying for a way out.  I mentioned many of the negatives of why I wanted out of that gas station, and those are all legitimate reasons. However, I needed to leave there a long time back. This job was a part-time, minimum wage job with no opportunities to advance or have a real career. I look at this dismissal as a means for me to “reset” myself, and quickly begin looking for my career, something I will feel safe and happy doing. There is no room for me to feel sorry for myself. I am okay with change, and I embrace it. I must be persistent, confident, and disciplined as money will not be regularly available, and there is the possibility that I could become homeless and forced to live in my car. Let’s hope not. That is the part that scares me, a little, and I am being very prayerful that God will help me through this time.
I trust God. He is my provider. He helps me when I am afraid. Even though I may have to go with little, I will not have to go without. I know God has a plan for me, and it is during this time that I need to spend more time reading the Word of God, and return to church fellowship, Bible study and Sunday worship. This has been my prayer, that God will restore me to these things, and I know that the loss of my job is only part of this journey.  I will keep you updated as God works in my life. May my life be a beacon of light to you.
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