I love the power of networking and what it can do for my business. I’m at networking events more often and yes if it is the right event I say yes to weekend events. And this past weekend I had the opportunity to attend the Spirit of Women conference here in Atlanta. And on the last day, there was a discussion with three successful businesswomen. The moderator asked each of these women if they had ever been fired and how did they handle that happening to them.

Okay, so that’s a loaded question for a lot of people. And really who wants to admit they’ve been fired from a job. Even if you were laid off from a job. It’s a difficult experience to go through and most people certainly don’t want to talk about it in a room full of 100 of their closest friends. But that’s exactly what these women did. They opened up and told their stories about how they bounced back. Their willingness to share with such honesty may have come from the willingness and honesty of the head of this nationwide networking group. She is very open about being laid off twice before choosing a different path for herself. A path that made this conference possible.

Each woman on the panel told her story. They were all different but had a common thread. That once you allowed yourself a period of time for a “pity party” you had to move on and up. And for each of these women, it led them on the path to be an entrepreneur. So, I thought I would tell my story.

When I was in my twenties. I worked for a large corporation as a regional marketing person. I was young, smart and ambitious. And I wanted to change the world. But as a strong young woman I wasn’t everyone’s cup of tea in the very male conservative company I worked for. And to this day I would proudly stand by that girl and pat her on the back. However, management changed and someone who I didn’t see eye to eye with became my boss. And he fired me. But I had made a name for myself within the organization and someone in the corporate marketing office offered me a job right away. So, I packed up all my things and move to another state to take the next step in my career. I stayed there for several years working in corporate marketing and getting my MBA at night. It was an amazing experience that I would not change for the world.

And then it happened again. Except this time the department I worked in within corporate marketing was completely eliminated. And along with it my job. I was almost done with my MBA and wasn’t quite sure what to do next. But once again I had made a name for myself. And someone in another division offered me an opportunity to finish my degree and help him out at the same time. He needed to loan someone to the United Way for several months and couldn’t lose someone who currently had a job to do. So, I went to the United Way, finished my degree and helped him fill a need.

And then I chose to leave and go to another company to do a different kind of marketing. I stayed there for several years before I had the opportunity to relocate to Atlanta for what became my last “regular” job. I worked for a large nonprofit doing product marketing, customer service, and distribution. I learned so much in the nearly decade I worked with an amazing group of mostly women. And that is where I stayed until I fired myself. I left that job because I knew I wanted something different. I wasn’t quite sure what that would be long-term but I never really thought I would work for someone else again. And I haven’t.

If you ever face the adversity of losing his job, whether you are fired, laid off or fired yourself, know that once you’ve had your pity party, pick yourself up, step back and see the opportunity that has just been given to you. Because that opportuning can be life changing in amazing ways.

By: Amy Matthews, CEO, AMI LC