So… I got fired. Here’s what I learned from it.


Graphic by Anna Arnsberger

Sophia Ibrahim

High school is the time when many teenagers get jobs, whether they’re in the summer or during the school year. I’ve been working for two summers now, and I recently got a new job in addition to the one I had last summer. I also recently got fired from the aforementioned new job. A week in. I’m not that irritated by it, though. Ok, well, maybe a little bit. But, that’s besides the point.  I’m writing this to turn my tragedies into comedy and advise all of my working or soon-to-be working peers. Being fired isn’t fun, but I believe it’s one of the most valuable skills a teenager can learn. Below are some of the points I learned when I got fired :).

  1. How to write a passive-aggressive, yet professional, email. This is honestly my new favorite thing. I had never realized the type of dopamine high I get from addressing a snarky email line by line with a perfectly thought out and executed comeback (with evidence!) to prove the person I was corresponding with wrong. If you had asked me a week ago to respond to a rude email, I would’ve not addressed their tone and just been as nice as I could’ve. Kill them with kindness, right? No. Sometimes you have to give that attitude right back and put them in their place. For someone who never would’ve dreamed of doing that before, I have to say it feels pretty good. 
  2. How important it is to not suck up to your boss. I’m not here to spread conspiracies, but I think the reason I got fired was because I didn’t suck up to my boss. I realize that statement is hypocritical, but I think he had some sort of superiority compl— never mind, I won’t get into it. But I now know that sometimes bosses just have a screw loose, and there’s nothing you can do about it. So, don’t tie your self-worth as an employee to whether or not your boss likes you. And, if you do that but still get fired, you won’t sit around and wallow inside your house for days on end.  
  3. Ask for the one-year retention rate of the job during the interview process. If I had done this, I wouldn’t be screaming at my past self for what was about to become a week in hell. I learned on the first day that the retention rate for summer employees — meaning the percentage of employees that come back for a second summer, seemingly because they liked it there, was very low. I mean very, very low. In my opinion, that question is the one that most accurately gages what the vibe is like before you actually start working there. 
  4. Always trust your first instinct when it comes to the environment of the job. The energy I felt when I walked in for my first day of work was dreary. Like, too dreary, especially for a restaurant with Sunshine in its name. I thought to myself, maybe my mind is just in a negative place today. I’m sure it’s fine. It would not be fine. My first instinct was right. If I had listened to myself and walked out of the door as soon as I felt that energy, a lot of time, energy, and achy feet would’ve been saved. 

Thankfully, I don’t have to contribute to my family’s finances nor pay entirely for my own post-secondary education, so I’m able to take a summer job as an opportunity to make money (and save it!!), have fun, and cure boredom. At the end of the day, I’m glad I got fired (and still have a job left :D). For one, I didn’t like working there at all. Two, it gave me the experience of being fired early on in my career. As a result, I have more confidence when talking to employers, and am able to recognize that getting fired at my age is not the end of the world. Plus, it gave me something to share with you. Hopefully, you take my experience and just appreciate working and other opportunities for what they are at our age— an opportunity to meet new people and secure a bag. Even if you only work there for a week. •