But let's come back to my
unfortunate fortunate Belgian experiences.
I was fired here 3 times in a row. Ouch…it still hurts a bit.
What happened? Here is the 1st one:
I am at Online Heroes – a small agency I worked in after I came to Belgium from Ireland and glorious Google. It's been 1.8 months in the company. Three managers are sitting in front of me with a paper in front. I read it and understand that it is my resignation (obviously, not written by me). They "kindly" ask me to sign it or… "they will add me to some system with a note that I did something very bad to the company and no one will hire me". These were the words of the CEO. They wouldn't allow me to call, I had to sign it right there, right now. I wonder why I even asked for permission but I was completely in shock.
Now, what was the reason of firing? Apparently, I broke their trust by leaving on holidays (in the evening) and reporting to be sick. In Belgium, they can send a doctor to have a check if you are really sick and they sent it to a wrong address, obviously I was not there to be checked by a doctor.
Anyhow, only later I got to know that they held a restructurisation in the company and had to cut people with high salaries. Voila, and I was a great target. I was in shock for several weeks, I simply couldn't believe what happened, overall, HOW it happened. I've never been fired before. Two sides were battling within me:
My "blamer" was telling me that I was not good enough, that it was my fault. My "advocate" was saying that this was my chance to grow and build my own company. Being raised in an American job culture, I tried to fix things that were clearly not working and some people were annoyed that I was trying to disturb their box in which they were so comfortable. Belgium is a very conservative country in that sense…and, as it turned out later, my whole nature is about fixing things that don't work, I can't operate in environments where I can see something not working and close my eyes on that. IMPOSSIBLE!
Anyways, I pulled myself together and started thinking about where I want to go further. The thoughts about building a community of entrepreneurs (perhaps, focused on women) were already occupying my head but I had no experience as an entrepreneur and I was not generating any revenue.
So, I decided I will continue my career as an employee and will have my side hustle. I've also decided I will upgrade my career by becoming a digital marketing strategist. Before I was simply setting up advertising campaigns, now I wanted to create BIG PICTURE strategies which involve all digital marketing channels. I studied hard, invested a lot into my education and kept my faith that I someone will hire me as a digital strategist.
Instead of sporadically sending my CV to random companies which were searching for a digital marketeer, I was meticulously searching for a company who needs a strategist. And one day it came out.
I took my time to write a cover letter that was matching exactly what they were searching for and adjusted my CV to their needs. Needless to say, that I got the job, a good salary and I was mega excited to contribute as a strategist. But things went terribly wrong very soon:
A German lady who was leading the marketing department was not searching for a marketing strategist, she was searching for an ally who would join her to fight her team which hated her to the bottom of their hearts. The environment was rather depressing. She used to invite me for lunches telling me that she believes that I am a much smarter and mature person than her team, then I was coming back to the department sitting with her team which was tired of this manipulation and lack of communication. Basically, the manager was afraid to openly face the silent conflict and was playing all sorts of manipulative games.
And who, do you think comes to the rescue? Of, course Janna D'Ark, aka Anna Boroshok. Do you remember I told you how I am all about fixing things? So, I proposed the manager to face the team, clarify the ways of working and set-up clear guidelines. She didn't like the idea, of course, but agreed to join the meeting. Silly me! What was I thinking about myself?! What boss likes to be bossed around? She just wanted everyone to obey her, that's it. Next week, I was fired.
Of course, I cried. Of course, I was upset. But could I do otherwise? Could I go against my nature? Could I continue working in such environment? Absolutely not. And anyways, why would I? Just to get a salary? I can see a lot of people living that way: tolerating things that are completely against their values. Never do that to yourself. Such jobs or situations are given to us to understand what we don't want to experience. Honour your inner child, and give her a playground which is enjoyable, fun and fulfilling.
After this 2nd firing I started to ask myself if I actually fit into corporate environments. Maybe the Universe was trying to push me to be an entrepreneur? I've decided that I will try to build a community and digital marketing academy. After a lot of inner work, I have finally found my passion and my WHY: uniting women and growing together as entrepreneurs. But I still didn't know what it takes.
I've registered as an entrepreneur, set up Fearless Female Founders and failed. Yes yes, I've failed. Why? Because:
1) I didn't take time to understand the Belgian bureaucracy in regards to taxes and social welfare
2) I acted on my willpower – the usual male way to succeed
Very soon I've burned all my savings and myself (only later I will discover that I had a lot of money blockages and zero entrepreneurial mindset) and had to search for a corporate job.