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To The Boss Who Fired Me: Look At Me Now

What’s your morning routine?

I love asking entrepreneurs this question, because I find the answer varies greatly depending on who is answering.

For me, I’ve always cherished my first cup of coffee. Every morning, I turn on my Keurig, place my favourite handmade mug beneath the filter, fill my reusable pod up with coffee grinds and press the button for my individual cup. After it’s poured, I like to hold my face over the steam, breathe in the rich aroma, and sip away at my desk as I browse the latest blog posts and articles on my Feedly stream.

But I recently made a change.

It started when my husband bought me a coffee grinder for Valentine’s Day (he knows the way to my heart). Now, I am buying fresh beans instead of grinds. I am adding a step to my morning routine. And it is all so worth it for the strong burst of the cocoa, earthy and smoky perfume that fills my kitchen.

When I was trying out the grinder for the first time, I suddenly found myself back in my first year of university, pouring beans into the large grinder at Second Cup, at six o’clock in the morning.

I’ve always been fascinated by the way certain aromas can bring back vivid memories. It’s the closest thing to time travel I’ve ever experienced.

And it got me thinking.

It has been 10 years since I dragged my ass out of bed four mornings a week to clock in at the campus coffee shop.

I’ve worked a lot of jobs since then.

I have also moved six times, got married, adopted a fur baby, and built my own business.

Times have certainly changed. But there’s more to the story than that.

My stint at York University’s Second Cup was not extraordinary by any means. It was a typical part-time job. I did have my first real cup of coffee there (which really meant it wasn’t half hot chocolate), and I made some good friends.

But it all came to an end when I moved home for the summer. The following fall, I was looking for a new job and wanted to try something different. So I applied to the Second Cup at Yorkdale Mall instead (see, I was a risk-taker from the start).

I figured I had the job in the bag – I was a Second Cup alum after all – and the change of scenery would be good for me (though probably not for my wallet – as you may or may not know, my student loans supported a lot more than just tuition back then).

The hiring process went smoothly. I was in my third week when I was finally starting to get back into the swing of things.

Then I got fired.

That’s right, I got fired from Second Cup. I laugh about it now, but I remember feeling deeply ashamed at the time.

I have my reasons excuses. I was working part-time and balancing a full-time class schedule. My life was dictated by exams and essay deadlines, and my calendar was always bursting at the seams. Somehow, I missed a mandatory staff meeting for work. And apparently, Second Cup is not a fan of second chances.

While I am glad I can now look back on the time I got fired and laugh, I still don’t take it lightly. Part of me wants to march right up to my old boss and say, “Hey you! Yeah, you. Remember me? The one you fired? Well, take a look at me now.”

The truth is, I don’t have to prove anything to him. I’ve just had to prove it to myself.

A decade has past, and I’ve come a long way from the days of working a job I disliked, catering to someone else’s meetings and schedules. Now, when I grind the coffee beans in the morning, I do it my way. When I sit down at my desk, it’s my day I am facing. I get to do my work, with my clients.

Isn’t it great being the boss?

Have you ever been fired from a job? Do you have your own “look at me now” moment to share? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!


Charlotte Ottaway

Charlotte is the founder of Web of Words. She helps solopreneurs and small business owners create real human connections online through blogging and social media. Her work has been published in Maclean's, Canadian Business, Zoomer, The Globe and Mail, The Huffington Post Canada and other Canadian publications. Better known by family and friends as Carly, she currently resides in Newmarket with her husband and fur-babe. To learn more, check out her portfolio at charlotteottaway.com and follow her on Twitter @charlottaway.