I was sitting in class when I got an email from one of the places at which I freelanced. The editor decided to keep the message short and sweet. The department had decided to go in a different direction and would no longer need freelance writers for content. At the end of the email, I was wished “the best of luck with my future endeavors.”
I felt my heart sink into my stomach. I couldn’t concentrate for the remainder of class. Even though it was not my full-time job, I was feeling all types of hurt and anger. But once I got over the shock, I started to reflect on what I learned from this experience. Here are four big nuggets of wisdom that came out of getting fired from my freelance job:
1. Build relationships as soon as you can. OK, I understand that relationships take time to develop, but if you never make the initial overture, they will never start. And when we think a job may be more permanent than not, we can drag our feet when it comes to cultivating those connections. I know for me this was true. Even though I knew my position was not going to be forever, the company’s timetable was much shorter than the one that I imagined. Therefore, I pussyfooted around with sending out emails in relation to job leads, information interviews, and referrals.
2. Keep the relationships that you build. I also realized the importance of being in touch with those I did make connections with. For some reason, I used to think that once a job was done, so were the relationships. Although it will take a bit of effort, developing a network is a long-term investment strategy for your personal and professional growth.
3. Keep multiple streams of income. When I got the email notifying me that my writing services were no longer needed, it was more a blow to my ego than my wallet. A long time ago, I learned the importance of keeping many irons in the fire in the event that one of my streams of income dried up.
4. Ask for as much money as soon as possible. I will be the first to admit my negotiation skills could improve, but I am happy I pushed the envelope when it came to this position and was rewarded accordingly. If I had waited for the “right” time to ask for more money, I would have waited in vain.