The Incentive of Getting Fired

4 min read

What comes to mind when you think about an incentive? Maybe a few extra paid days off to reward your hard work, a free gym membership, grass-fed beef in your company cafeteria, or even an assistant to pick up your dry-cleaning.  Getting fired likely isn’t the first thing to come to mind, and probably doesn’t sound like an incentive for most people- but one of the most game changing moments of my life was getting the boot.

Before I founded Xactly Corporation in 2005 with Satish Palvai, I worked at a company that is now one of Xactly’s biggest competitors. As SVP of operations at that company I thought there was a strong possibility I was first in line to fill the position when our CEO was ousted after our IPO. But, as fate would have it, the situation turned out very differently.

The board appointed a conservative leader who was firmly set in his ways, and wasn’t interested in the quick clip of technological advancements- pretty ironic considering I worked at a software company. When I approached my CEO with new ideas for the company he didn’t react kindly. However, if he had been as thrilled by the idea of a SaaS product as I was Xactly might never have come to be.

A few weeks after our conversation, I was fired. At first, I was resentful. Soon, though, those angry feelings began to subside and I remembered a former colleague’s inspirational words and found my confidence. I knew I had a great idea.

My experience taught me a lot, and looking back getting sacked was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I learned that disappointment can be extremely motivating, and that if you’re too focused on the status quo you miss the opportunity for innovation.

Check out the video below to hear more of my story:


 Four Ways Getting Fired is a Good Thing

  1. Attitude is everything: You can either let your disappointment hold you back, or you can let it inspire you. Look at getting sacked as a positive event,and you instantly open yourself up to new opportunities
  2. Think of the free time you now have: You could spend it sitting on the couch binge watching Netflix, or you could use those spare hours to invest in a pet project, or a business of your own you’ve always dreamed of.
  3. Getting fired can feel like a major blow to your ego: Take those resentful feelings and let them fuel your desire to prove those who doubted you wrong.
  4. Let’s face it: We’re all more comfortable with the known than the unknown. However, outside your comfort zone is often where you make some of your biggest personal and professional strides.