I was fired from a new job in less than a week after I started. It taught me not every opportunity is a good opportunity.

Before I took on the role of Director of Digital Marketing at a medical spa, I gave my boss the benefit of the doubt, driven primarily by my need for employment. What could possibly go wrong? As it turned out, quite a bit.

Although I had held multiple jobs before, this was my first full-time paid position in digital marketing. Initially, I attributed the rough start to a learning curve or perhaps just nerves. However, just three days into the job, I was abruptly fired during a brief mental health break. In hindsight, I had noticed several red flags, such as negative Glassdoor and Google reviews highlighting high turnover and poor treatment of staff, but I had chosen to overlook them.

Before starting, I had agreed to switch from a client care coordinator to a director of digital marketing, without an increase from my $16 hourly wage. Immediately after being let go, I felt like a failure. Yet, with time, I recognized that being fired so swiftly might have been a blessing.

The ordeal underscored the importance of valuing my mental health and finding employers who appreciate my worth over merely earning a paycheck. When I applied initially through Indeed for an office coordinator role, it didn't seem like a big issue that my boss redirected me to focus on social media marketing after spotting my related skills on my resume.

Excited, I accepted the new challenge, hoping to leverage my creative skills to assist a small, independent business in its growth. However, it became clear that my advice fell on deaf ears. My boss insisted on a specific aesthetic for our social media—using stock images of attractive women and outdated fonts. Even after presenting analytics showing the poor performance of our current strategies and proposing updates to enhance our digital presence, she remained dismissive.

By my third day, new expectations surfaced without warning. My boss demanded information about products used by competitors, beyond the scope of my initial task or my knowledge base. The unexpected shift in expectations and her subsequent dissatisfaction with my work overwhelmed me.

Asserting my need for respect at work, I informed her I required a mental health break. Nevertheless, she fired me on the spot. Internally furious yet maintaining professionalism, I informed my coworkers and left, securing a recommendation letter from the general manager despite the circumstances.

Reflecting on the experience, I've concluded that it's crucial not to settle for a toxic work environment. I've since joined a respected advertising agency that values its employees, supports mental health, and fosters a positive workplace, affirming that better opportunities exist, especially for someone from Gen Z like myself who seeks a respectful and fulfilling work environment. This experience has reinforced the importance of not compromising on personal well-being and professional respect in the pursuit of a career.

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