I Was Fired From My Job, So I Learned How To Make My Dreams Come True

I’m going to preface this post by admitting that it’s a bit premature. My dreams have not  all come true (yet), but I know I’m close. Like really close. so I figured I’d walk you through some of the changes I’ve made to get myself in this position.

First, let’s take a trip down memory lane, shall we? It was the end of October 2013, and my maternity leave was wrapping up. I had three amazing months home with my son and now it was time to take him to a local daycare center and then travel 30 miles into Boston for work.

This was us right around that time:
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I was working as an admin at Harvard Business School, and to say that I did not want to return to work is an understatement. I wept the entire 48 hours leading up it.  I did not want to leave my baby, but more than that, I did not want to go back to a position wherein I felt I was being choked to death. Every. Single. Day. Sure, Harvard had great perks and the job wasn’t the worst, but I knew, it was not the job for me.

At one point I had even asked the Director of Faculty Support Services at Harvard Business School for feedback as to why I had not been granted an interview for a more senior position (a position I was more than qualified to hold). She told me my email signature didn’t align with the Harvard style of signing professional emails. At this point I had been at Harvard for over a year and she had never told me I was signing my emails improperly or that the way in which I signed my emails would prevent me from rising in the ranks. In fact, she hired me using the very same signature style she now viewed as an impediment to my growth at Harvard Business School. Of course telling me I was a black woman and she was not comfortable working with me would have been illegal, so I guess this explanation was all she could offer. But I digress.

Prior to getting this job at Harvard I had been fired from my role as Assistant Director at Summit Educational group. I’m working on a post to tell you that story too, but essentially I was fired for being a smart, capable, and powerful black woman. My subordinate was an incompetent and jealous little man, who could not stomach answering to my uppity negro self.

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So they fired me in what was the single most cruel moment of my life. I’ll never ever ever forget it, as that moment has led up to where I am now, on the cusp of getting everything I have ever wanted. Just watch!

Here’s what being fired taught me:

Never make yourself at home in someone else’s house.

I may have also  suffered from a slight case of PTSD, but I learned that I could not rely on institutions that were set up to exclude me to now see me rise. I know there are plenty of people of color who assent to high level positions at Harvard or other companies, but I knew I’d have to be willing to sell my soul to get there. I couldn’t do it.

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Maxi Dress and Choker are From Forever21

I set my sights on growing this brand. Even though I was a new mom, and wife, and working full-time, I never ever lost sight of my potential. I knew that my current circumstances did not reflect what I was/am destined to become. 

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On my way into work after dropping JB at daycare, I managed to take a deep breath and say out loud,

 This is only temporary. I will be home with my son. I will be my own boss. I will be able to provide for my family and live the life I deserve.

I repeated this mantra every morning until June 30th, 2015 when I walked out of Harvard Business School to launch Lisa Jean-Francois Consulting. I’ve been my own boss ever since.

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Being my own boss has it’s own challenges which I discussed in this post last week (click HERE to read), however, I’ve had enough success in the last year to know I’m on the right track.

How am I making my dreams come true? Like so:

  1. I’ve never given up. I’ve been working on my brand  for 4 years.
  2. I do not dream. I work.
  3. I network both online and in person.
  4. I invest in my business. I’ve worked with a business coach and pay professionals to do what I cannot.
  5. I pray. A lot.
  6. I count my blessings. Every day.
  7. I believe in myself.

If you have a dream, you have to work for it. You have to make sacrifices. You may have to eat canned tuna and Ramen for a year, but being lucky is not how dreams are made.

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Share your thoughts below!

Well Hello! My name is Lisa and you’ve stumbled upon my own little corner of the world. I’m a lipstick-loving, high heel junkie, mom, and wife. When I’m not here bringing you the latest in beauty, fashion, hot topics, and bits and pieces of my life with my family, you can find me over on youtube swatching lipsticks and sharing my latest natural hairstyles. Make sure you also follow me on Instagram and Snapchat under my brand name Lisa A La Mode. I’m a real person. I promise.

52 Comments
      1. I love this,it’s so inspiring THANK YOU Lisa. I am a chef and i fear i may be going down the same path as you but i don’t want too. I want to be my own person my own boss and not have to be disrespected by executive chef with big ego but my problem is i don’t know where to start. I won’t truly be happy until i succeed but reading this opened my eyes, i wish I could hug you for sharing your journey with us.

  1. You are such a blessing to this generation! I have never been fired but like you said I think it has to do with selling ones soul atimes, and praying like Jesus should come down from heaven.
    I am gradually building my brand and with the help of God and ladies like you – I know I can do it.

  2. Oooh Lisa I almost wanted to cry when I read that ,I felt like you were talking about me the difference is that I didn’t have a baby .i feel so encouraged that despite the many challenges you faced you still have hope and that you working on it .

  3. “I learned that I could not rely on institutions that were set up to exclude me to now see me rise.” This hit home. Loved the entire article, Lisa.

  4. Corporate America never wanted us in the first place so they darn sure aren’t going to make it a comfortable place. Congratulations on all that you’ve accomplished. I admire your dedication and drive.

  5. What an inspiration. I have an almost three year old, and I want to, in the future, own my own business. Thank You for sharing your story, it’s hard being in traditional workplace settings as a black woman. I definitely needed to read this!

  6. Thank you…Thank you…for your words of encouragement…I am in the process of starting a business in Horticulture..
    Not sure how the resources are going to come..but I am stepping out in faith.

  7. Thank you for telling your authentic story for the world to view. Good for you be living that you have more to offer the world. #SKITinspires

  8. I am so glad I was able to read this post. I too habe dound myself in a similar situation where I know seep down my current role is not my true passion and there is something deeper that I am called to do. Thank you for l sharing your words

  9. Wow, what a great article yo read 1st thing on the morning.. Wishing you Victor and great success.. Stay Encouraged..

  10. Thank you. And blessings to you as continue to build a business–and a life–that is a reflection of who you really are. I’m next!

  11. I am definitely motivated by your post ,reason being I’ve been thinking of starting my own business as well. My only hurdle is start up capital but am determined now more than ever to make my dream a reality just like you have done thank again.

  12. Amazing, loved reading your story gave me more will power to start my own business. I’m in the same boat you were in my baby girl be here in less than a month & I just want to be able to be home with her & still have a successful business I know I can & I will. Thank you for sharing your story.

  13. Ms. Lisa,
    I was fired about two weeks ago after two years of being unhappy. It’s been trying and I’ve been going back and forth about following my photography dreams. God keeps pushing me to have faith through messages such as these. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Thank you for writing this so many of us have dreams of becoming our own boss. This article has made me continue to dream and strive to it make happen.

  15. I just have an idea. No action behind the idea. Stuck at a job i truly dread doing. Your article inspired me and to let me know that i need to put flesh and bones into my idea. I have to believe and have faith thst God will make it happen. Thanks Lisa.

  16. Thank you so very much for sharing your story. I can completely relate because mine is similar. You were able to articulate my exact feelings about working in corporate america. I admire and commend you for your honesty, your courage and your strength. I wish you and your children health and wealth!

  17. Your honesty and openness is beyond refreshing. This has happened to me recently and knew that it was partly because I outgrew my environment. I have a Masters Degree and am in my 30s, well spoken and self assured, qualities that some people do not like to see in a young black woman. I have always wanted to be an entrepreneur but do not have the financial or emotional support that I am sure is needed. Reading this post is really inspirational. Thank you for showing us that losing a job is not the end of the world and that sometimes its the job that’s holding you back.

  18. Congratulations Lisa. I’m glad you made a move while you are young. Keep moving forward. May God continue to order your footsteps.

  19. You definitely have guts and your beautiful son is your inspiration. I am nearing retirement with no regrets because I am going to do something for me and I too want to have my own business..wish me luck..

  20. Reading your candid story was everything I needed today as I am currently working on my brand as a Spiritual Transformational Coach. However, what helps sustain me and my family”s lifestyle is my day job as an attorney. I have a question for you. Who did you use for your business coach and how did they help you? I would love to know what kind of advice and mentoship they provided.

  21. Hi, Lisa!
    I know your heart oh so well. I believe that my dreams are way too important to spend the rest of my life simply working to build up the dreams of others who does not my best interest at heart. So on june 5, 2015 I JUMPED , yes I simply walked away from my corporate world job. It has been a challenging path thus far. I know that I’m on the right path because of all the signs , wonders and miracles that has happened in the last year. Undoubtedly there has been some setbacks… I am still moving towards my destiny. God showed me in a dream many years ago that I would have setsbacks, falls before I get to the mountain top.
    Thank you for sharing… We should seriously talk sometime soon.
    I am soo feeling your spirit.
    Stay blessed
    Marsha Cochrane
    @destiny_pacer

  22. It’s 1:24 am ET and I’m awake again distressing about work. I happened upon a post on FB tbat lead me to your story. Your blog brought tears to my eyes.

  23. Wow that was deep, and very encouraging! Thanks for sharing a piece of you with us. I follow you on Instagram as well under my name Naturalista…we seldom get to know a persons story through pictures and we think we are the only one going through or has went through. Thanks for your testimony ❤.

  24. Truly appreciate you sharing these words. I am in the midst….and I mean midst, if sorting out my next move and a business has been on my heart and mind too long. I am currently in cosmetology school, praying and meditating every step of the way. I just need to make the right connections. So encouraging! Congratulations to you, many blessings and thank you!

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