Thursday, May 1, 2014

Getting Fired

Have you ever been fired?

It is like a bad breakup. Basically, you want out of the relationship but your partner dumps you first. You're not so much pissed that you got dumped. It's that they did it first that irks you.

I was twenty one and working at a women's clothing store in Pittsburgh. It was right after the finish of my junior year in college. Academically, I was successful. Personally, I was a mess. A drug addict roommate had stolen my ID and brought a cellphone, and I was engaged to a psychopath. I was performing ventriloquism and chasing the comedy rainbow for now, but it was more a pipe dream than a reality. I knew it was where I belonged, but the yellow brick road alluded me.

The job was torture. The only reason I looked forward to going was it was a reason to get out of my parent's house. When I would get there, I would sell to women who would buy the same size they wore in 1960. From there they would bring them home, try them on, and return to the store wanting a refund. Bitch, it was the size you wore in 1960. Multiply it by three, look at the number and cry here. Save me a headache and yourself the money. Seriously!

I remember there was one woman out for blood. Her name was Darrilynne. She had just had her husband up and disappear one day, and he had been cheating with a woman who looked like me. She always accused me of wrecking her displays. I was always getting in trouble, and the wrench didn't even work in my department. Of course she always was angry, and her hair was blood red and looked like it was cut by a weedwhacker. Probably from killing her husband and his lover. Anyway, one day she pissed me off so much I just shoved it. I think it was actually an improvement on the design. Yeah, it was mean and nasty but I was tired of being bullied. They could fire me. I was ready to quit. Hell, I didn't even care.

I still remember getting fired. They had just taken me off the schedule. This woman named Diane who probably has lung cancer by now because all I ever saw her do was smoke called me in. She sat me down and said, "It was too many things, April."

Basically, she said, "You don't get along with your coworkers." Oh, you mean my manager Dee Dee who's wardrobe looks like it hasn't seen the Civil Rights Movement? Or Margot, the fat bitch who says she hates gay people and I point out no man who works in this store is straight? Or better yet, Jenny on stock, who said she was thirty minutes late for work because she was scarfing down cookie dough after being dumped. Yeah, I laughed because I thought she was kidding. Then she started crying because she was serious. I told her how stupid she was, and how she should have just lied and said she had car trouble like everyone else does. Yeah, not liking them so much either.

Then Diane told me there was an incident where some woman claimed she spoke to me looking for a sweater at our store. We had three in our system. This woman drove three hours and was upset to find none. Diane told me I should have checked. I told Diane she should have checked her computer, it said she had three. Diane claimed the customer was upset. I told Diane that if this idiot had three hours to drive to buy a sweater she deserved to be upset.

And then she said I was suspected of messing up the display. That I did but didn't want to cop to it. So I took the blame for the sweater instead.

Diane then said I could use them as a reference, and it wouldn't go on my record. I told her it was okay. I wouldn't be telling anyone I ever worked there. I was happy to get fired, especially since doing the math I made more money on unemployment anyway. Oh, and I got another job that day where I made nearly twice as much and actually cared about what I did.

My parents were the only ones that were upset about it. They were "worried." I had been gainfully employed since age fourteen. If this was the first time I was fired, I was doing pretty good.

Two days later, I got an offer to do a feature gig in Omaha, Nebraska. My path was being shown to me. Yeah, I might have made more money had I advanced in the chain. But the thing was, this is what I was meant to be doing. The job rejected me because I didn't belong there and never would. I had gotten fired, and more than anything in the world I wasn't concerned about a backup plan. I wasn't afraid. It was do or die.

I moved to New York and after graduating became serious about comedy. I took a job delivering singing telegrams. Not only did it give me an opportunity to expand myself, but I got a boss and coworkers I respect and adore. Most importantly, hell or high water, this is where I belong. I also got out of the relationship with the psychopath who denied me of my puppet children, and began to chase those dreams.

I have appeared on national television, headlined, and just recorded a DVD. I have worked with some of my heroes, made a song that was an internet hit, write for the Huffington Post sometimes and even wrote a book.

Am I where I want to be yet? No But had things worked out at the clothing store I would have kept my job and again, become a manager. I wouldn't have any of my dreams come true, and they would just be clouds in my coffee.

So yeah, getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to me. It got me to get off my ass and to go for it. Also, it got me to not be scared of what might happen next, and led to me where I always knew I belonged.

I Came, I Saw, I Sang: Memoirs of a Singing Telegram Delivery Girl
Pre-order my DVD Broke and Semi-Famous @

No comments:

Post a Comment