I Think It’s Time You Got Fired!

by John Spence on · 17 comments

There is a famous story about when Andy Grove and Gordon Moore, then the two directors of Intel, realized that they were not effectively leading the organization where it needed to go and so they "fired" themselves one afternoon with the commitment to come back the next morning as if they were completely new people in their jobs and to create a vision to lead Intel into the future. Perhaps it might be a good idea for you to do the same?

Many of us fall into a rut in our career, we get tired, we get bored, we stop growing. When this happens it is a negative and painful situation both for you and the organization you serve – a true lose/lose. So why not "fire" yourself and come back tomorrow as if you were a brand-new employee that was motivated, excited and eager to take on your job with the new zeal. Instead of focusing on what is wrong with your job and the organization you work for, look for everything that is right, good, exciting. Look for opportunities where you can challenge yourself to grow and add real and significant value. Reach out to the people in the organization that you admire and find a way to spend more time with them. Commit yourself to learning some new skills that will make you more valuable to your employer. We all know that we spend the majority of our life at work, why in the world would you not want all of that time to be fun, engaging and enjoyable? And believe me when I tell you, that you do have the ability to make your work exciting and fun – it is up to you – if you simply decide that you're going to find a way to create a new beginning and look for every opportunity to get involved, add value and find more meaning and enjoyment in your career.

If at this point in my article you were shaking your head and saying, "But John, you do not know where I work, you don't understand how bad it really is, there is no way to make my work fun or enjoyable,” then I encourage you to take a long hard look at your situation and decide if it is time for truly new beginning in a different company or completely different career. Life is far too short not to go to work with a smile on your face every morning looking forward to your day, and returning in the evening energized and proud with a feeling of accomplishment. It is an old cliché, and a very true one: “If you love what you do it never feels like work."  Everyone has the ability to make their career exciting, rewarding and fun, and if it is not right now, fire yourself and start a new beginning tomorrow!

by John Spence

John Spence is the author of "Awesomely Simple - Essential Business Strategies for Turning Ideas into Action." He is an award-winning professional speaker and corporate trainer, and has been recognized as one of the Top 100 Business Thought Leaders in America.
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{ 17 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynn September 9, 2011 at 8:48 am

That quote “It’s never too late to be what you might have been” comes to mind. Good advice today. 🙂
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Jen September 9, 2011 at 9:44 am

I love this article! I hear Donald Trump ringing in my brain right now….

I think, even though I love what I do, sometimes I get into a rut, or forget the beauty of the work. So this rings true also for the times when I need to “reset” my mind and remember all the reasons I chose to “do what I love and love what I do.”

Next time I’ll clear my throat, put on my Donald Trump voice, and recall your post!
Thanks for a great reflection!
In Harmony,
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Justin | Mazzastick September 9, 2011 at 11:33 am

Hi John,
I agree that when we love what we do it never feels like work. Firing yourself is a good idea if we feel stagnated and need some growth. Change is a constant in life so we better get good at welcoming it.
Justin | Mazzastick´s Last Fabulous Post ..What Matters To YouMy Profile


John Spence September 9, 2011 at 11:56 am

Thanks for the great comments Lynn, Jen and Justin — glad you enjoyed the post — truly appreciate your feedback! Sometimes I think it is a good idea to just wipe the slate clean and start a new – draw a line in the sand and and move forward in a new direction. Take your lessons from the past and learn from them– make the decisions that have been lingering, sometimes for years – and give yourself the opportunity for new beginning. It can be very exciting and re-vitalizing to realize that you simply need to make the decision to start doing things differently… tomorrow… And you can create a new future.


Jill September 9, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I am so firing myself today! 🙂


Ewa September 9, 2011 at 8:41 pm

If I fired myself today, it would certainly take more than a day for me to come back as a new person. I am really not certain how I could do that.
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David Stevens September 9, 2011 at 8:52 pm

Hi John,
Great ‘shake up’ material. It’s never too late for some fresh thinking…..in fact, it’s mandatory.
be good to yourself
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Megan Bord September 10, 2011 at 8:34 am

John, what a thought-provoking post – thanks. I appreciate reading about business people who “do it differently.” Lucky for me, I love my job and my life; I consciously made a change three years ago after climbing to the top of the corporate ladder, looking around and thinking, “Well THIS doesn’t seem like fun!” I quit my job and started pursuing things I was good at and loved. It turned into a dream job. So while firing myself doesn’t really apply to where I am now, my wish for everyone who’s unhappy in their job or life is this: that they can show up on their terms and do it differently.


John Spence September 10, 2011 at 11:43 am

Thanks for the great comment Megan – I feel the same as you –I love, love, love my work — but I do sort of “fire myself” every now and then when I decide that I am not pushing myself hard enough to be innovative. Helps me to come back with a fresh outlook!


Jody - Fit at 53 September 10, 2011 at 12:42 pm

I agree, I so agree BUT when one tries & then the money is needed to survive, well, what does one do… it is a hard call. I do tell younger people to start out right from the beginning going after what you love & then find out how to make money.. otherwise when you are older & possibly other things get in the way, it is harder….
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Jimmy September 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Hi John,

I am new to you and glad to meet you online.

After reading your post, the story of “Acres of Diamonds” rings loud and clear in my mind. Too often in our work we always look for greener pastures when in fact all the diamonds we want can be found exactly where we are. The thing is, we have not explored our turf hard enough.

By ‘firing’ ourselves and coming back with fresh eyes, we create a new sense of excitement to our job. Thinking harder and looking deeper at our own acres becomes easier.

Thanks for the advice.


Dr. J September 11, 2011 at 1:57 pm

I was telling a friend of mine, a very accomplished medical illustrator, that I loved being an artist! To which he tersely replied, “Yeah, just try having a job as an artist!” From my observations we, as a society, have found a way to make jobs unpleasant. It would be nice if we could look to ourselves as the answer to this situation, as ourself is certainly the easiest place to effect a change. I suspect the answer is that most individuals are dissatisfied with themselves and take it out on others.
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Enriching-Life.com September 12, 2011 at 1:52 am

Dear John, thx for this wonderful article. It really got me thinking. As I’m self-employed I’m really having a hard time firing myself, but I tend to “play” going to an interwiew for a job in my own company. Then I ask myself if I would employ myself and if no, why not. This is a nice little trick evaluate myself. Until now it worked rather well. 🙂 All the best, Michaela


Debbie @ Happy Maker September 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Hi John,

I agree with you fully. Any job can be fun if we want it to be and have the right attitude.
If it is that bad fire yourself, because you are in the wrong business.

I do like the way you word that to fire yourself for the day. There are days I do this, but now I have the right words to use when I take that day off.
Do appreciate it. Blessing to you,
Debbie @ Happy Maker´s Last Fabulous Post ..What 9/11 Can Teach Us About Relationships and Happiness!My Profile


John Spence September 12, 2011 at 3:44 pm

Thanks to everyone for such wonderful comments. I’m glad that this post was of value to many of you – the real message is simply: you can start again a new whenever you make a decision to get up the next day and do something differently – change of behavior – correct an issue – bring a new level of love, excitement and passion to your work. I love the comment above from Michaela — it is a wonderful idea to think about whether you would hire your self or not? If the answer is no – go home and work on your resume tonight and be ready to come back and interview a new and improved self tomorrow!!!


sheila September 14, 2011 at 11:39 am

hahahahaha! I LOVE THIS! No matter where you work, how bad you think you have it… firing yourself is a WONDERFUL idea!
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Andrew Walker September 21, 2011 at 2:18 am

Hi John. That’s a very strong title you have there, buddy! Love it! And the article,it’s also very great!
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