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5 Thing Being Fired And Taking 30 Days Off Taught Me

Let me set the scene: I’m now 48 years old and they recommend having colonoscopies starting at the age of 45 now.  At the end of March of 2022, I had my first experience in having one done.  For me, it truly was not a great experience.  The procedure was fine, I can’t even say it was a pain in the butt(LOL), cause it wasn’t, but the prep work for me personally was horrible.  I had prepared myself to be off for two days, one to prep and the other for the procedure.  Prepping is nothing more than cleaning your internal piping out really good so the doctor can see clearly if anything is wrong.  I had to take some additional time off because the procedure (the prep itself) really really cleaned me out!

I don’t want to get too graphic cause it is a “dirty” subject so to speak, but I do want to highlight that I finally got back to work mid-week and on Saturday, after a busy day at work, the general manager calls me in his office, starts going over things he noticed he didn’t like, and proceeds to tell me I have two choices: 1. I can quit working there. 2. He can fire me. I graciously looked at him, told him he didn’t have to fire me I’d quit my job, and I signed two forms and I moved on with my life.

I feel it is important to point out here that you should never quit your job on bad terms. Don’t burn a bridge! He could’ve terminated me, I could’ve collected unemployment, taken the summer off (made it the summer of Ron), and found another job when fall hit but I DIDN’T! I politely accepted to resign, finished the day, and completed my responsibilities like I’d be coming to work the next day.  It’s key to point out that you NEVER know when your paths could cross again.  He was probably right, I was having a horrible week and month, my production was lacking, and he made the right call by forcing a termination on my part, but I didn’t leave on bad terms, and you should never leave any job on a negative note, whether it’s your choice or theirs. In this post, I will highlight five things that being fired has taught me but also, what I learned by taking 30 days off. 

1. I love it! DUH!

I think the heading says it all!!! What’s there to hate about having time off? What I hate about life though is we go to school for twelve, sixteen, and in some cases eighteen and twenty years, all to graduate and commit our lives to work in careers that hopefully, we love so that we might one day retire and enjoy life a little.  In the United States, the current average age of someone retiring is between 65 and 70. Think about that for a second, we work all that time to hopefully enjoy on average fifteen to twenty years of our life. The part of our life where typically we aren’t considered to be in the prime of our lives!! That doesn’t make sense to me! We should work to live, not live to work.  It should be the reverse, retire the first half and work the second half of life, shouldn’t it?

Covid 19 has shifted the mindset of many organizations and the way in which they structure their workforce. It forced employers to fire in some cases half of their employees, not to mention forcing a lot of their employees to work from home which is creating a shift in the mindset of the American workers.  The term “Great Resignation” is all a buzz because a large number of people are quitting their jobs for a better life, a life in which we Americans control our own financial future and take control of what our own future looks like, which is the first half of the “FIRE YOURSELF” Movement.

When Covid 19 first hit, I was laid off for four months, and this website started to be conceptualized.  I was among many who felt the effects of the pandemic personally because my company, the same company I just got fired from/quit my job from, laid me off. It showed me though that retirement creates freedom, independence, and a life that I ultimately have learned to LOVE!!

2. money can be stretched

The words budget, save, and invest aren’t very strong in my vocabulary nor do I get along very well with them because I am a very impulsive person.  If I see something, I go out and buy it(within reason of course) and worry about the money factor or if I can afford it or not later on. However, when people quit their jobs or companies force an early retirement, it teaches you how to stretch a dollar and cut spending so that you can save for those things that are essential to living especially if you weren’t prepared for it and didn’t have money in savings. Your job no longer becomes your source of income, and you have to learn to focus on what you’re spending your money on, not to mention managing your economic forecast for each month and where you will spend each dollar.  A position that I personally don’t like to be in because from a financial level I want to be able to do whatever I want, whenever I want to do it, but I have quickly realized I cannot do that!

If we are going to retire or quit our jobs early and be part of the “Great Resignation”, we are going to have to learn to manage our money and finances in a very minuscule way. Words like save are going to have to be applied to our budgets and we are going to have to account for every dollar spent. We will have to pay bills first and ourselves second and try to anticipate what the future might hold financially for us. I’ve learned I can’t search for a new pair of shoes every week, instead, money is tight so I need to pay bills first and shoes second or third….ok ok ok….FOURTH!!! Happy NOW? I’m among those that can’t say no to a classy pair of Cole Haan shoes!  I once ordered six pairs of shoes online, luckily though I didn’t like any of them and I was able to return them.  We must FIRE our old selves and create a new self, a self that is willing to focus on managing the time we invest into researching topics such as savings, health(we need to live a long life to enjoy retirement), and investment strategies for the future based on current economic trends.

This temporary retirement as I like to look at it has taught me, as with anything else, with proper focus and restraint, I can save and not spend on things that have no economic benefit to my life currently and in the future.  I’m not sure how many Americans are like me, but I sure hope I’m not the only professional shopper out there!  LOL! Have faith though, if you look long-term, you can save money and retire early and enjoy the retirement lifestyle like I have this past thirty days it just takes some strong discipline but could result in your attitude toward money changing in a positive way like mine has.

3. make the most of your time off

The first two weeks of the month of April were doozies!!! April 1st was my 48th birthday and I started my new year of life off with a literal bang. The next two weeks that were to follow led up to a lot of online research into retirement, financial independence, and self-employment.

I stayed home keeping a lockdown on my money and spending, my goal was to stretch $800.00 for the whole four weeks of being off (truth be told, I already had a job lined up for May 2) so that the money I had saved up could be used for the month of May.  There were a number of nights I was up late watching TV til 2 am in the morning and not truly focusing my attention on important things that will result in creating the lifestyle I ultimately want.

In the second half of the month, I got focused on this website and my online business. I woke up early in the morning and told myself, if you are going to work for yourself one day, you need to treat yourself like an owner of a business and pay attention to where you are focusing most of your time. That’s very hard when I haven’t had my first cup of coffee, but I realigned my priorities, got up, got dressed like I was going to work, and off I went.

The second part of the FIRE YOURSELF movement is, as individual people, we must learn that Foundational Improvements Require Education. Part of that is making sure we make an investment of time into things that further our financial future and not hinder it.  Watching my favorite shows like Seinfeld, Two and A Half Men, and Big Bang Theory don’t advance my quest for early retirement and financial independence! It does nothing for my income to sit and watch these shows even though they are quite entertaining!  My savings isn’t growing while I sit in front of the TV doing nothing.  Even though the tendency in most of us is to be lazy and do nothing, we must fight those feelings as I did and realize to create a LIFE WE LOVE we must quit the bad habits and create life-changing ones and make the most of our time off.

4. routines and habits make all the difference

Through getting fired from my job or me choosing to quit and take the month of April off, however you want to look at it, I realized that my routines and habits make all the difference in where I focus my attention.  If I want to be part of the Great Resignation one day or retire early like most of us want to do, then I need to create a work-life balance that allows me to be employed while at the same time creating habits that cause personal and professional growth and ultimately creates a lifestyle I love!

Key habits I formed in the second two weeks that turned things around:

  1. Get out of bed early! Nothing has ever been accomplished by sleeping in til one or two in the afternoon.  Alongside that, go to bed early so you can get up early.
  2. Wrote my goals down on paper and focused on creating the momentum to continue with the future development of my online business. 
  3. Initiated time management skills in order to make proper use of each day.  We aren’t promised tomorrow and yesterday is already gone so we must focus our attention on the events we are doing today to reap the benefits of the investment of our time into our future selves!
  4. Treat it like a business! Retirement doesn’t come easy, so put in the work necessary to be part of the Great Resignation, FIRE Movement, or early retirement. You go to work for YOU and on YOU through education(spend hours online researching things like what retirement is,  what it takes to retire early, and how much savings I need/you need to get out of the workforce early).
  5. Dress the Part – this one is self-explanatory. I’m expected to dress business casual when I go to work so if I’ll do it for someone else why not do it for myself? Dressing the part even in your own home instills a certain self-confidence that every person needs when creating a business focused around “retiring” and creating a Life They Love!

5. the great resignation, fIRE movement, or early retirement all work for me!

I’m not sure what I would call it but the FIRE(Financial Independence Retire Early) Movement, The Great Resignation, or just early retirement works for me!  After getting fired and taking the month of April off to reassess my life and where I want to be in the next five years, I have come up with an actionable plan to pay down debt, save money, and increase my overall financial health so that retirement doesn’t seem to be so far in the future. 

What FIRE, The Great Resignation, or early retirement looks like for me:

  • -I will have my debt paid off in the next five to seven years.
  • -I will save at least $25,000 in the next five years. 
  • -I will be making passive income through my online business so that I can eventually quit my day job and work from home!

final thoughts

My extended time off and researching the FIRE Movement has given me a new perspective on what it means to be financially independent and retire early and I am grateful for that! It has taught me that with the right focus and actionable steps, anything is possible, and I too can retire in a reasonable time frame and maybe even be considered a participant in the Great Resignation.     

What about you? Are you ready to make the most of your time and refocus your attention like I did and Fire Your Old Self to create a New Self, a self that focuses on retiring earlier then the norm because you realize that Life is Short, and you should Love The Life You Live?

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Ron Weber

Ron Weber II is the editor-in-chief and founder of Fire Yourself Media, LLC.  Ron established himself as a sought after automotive professional over the past twenty years.  Over the last 5 years, after a small bout with cancer in 2018 and a four month sabbatical from the auto industry in 2020 due to Covid, his focus has changed to philanthropic work, traveling, and helping others achieve lasting change through personal growth. His mission is simple, to always remember: Life’s Short, Love the Life You Live!! Be sure to subscribe to receive updates of new articles published to the Fire Yourself Magazine and follow him on social media by subscribing below and on Twitter @rweberii.
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