Ooooh, I was fired from a fundraising job. SHOCKING, right? It was a BAD THING, right?

Why did I get fired?

Well, with at-will employment, they don’t have to have a reason to fire you. They can just decide they don’t want to see you again. And that’s pretty much what happened, despite raising a ton of money for this nonprofit.

It took me a long time to get over the loss of this job.

For awhile I had this poor me story that I told myself. Oh, I had been so hard done by. I had such terrible bosses. It was awful. I could not imagine a good boss ever in any nonprofit.

I was simply burnt out on bad bosses and felt like any job search would lead in a dead end.

So, what is the Story of your life, by Mandy Aftel, and what does this have to do with my problem?


Mandy Aftel is a psychotherapist and a storyteller. She noticed that there were several major themes in the people that came to her. And she took notes on their stories, and categorized them.

Mandy Aftel calls the three main plots of your life the love plot, the mastery plot, and the loss plot.

Then there are four major complications- The Money complication, the Escape complication, the Sex complication, and the Children complication.

The neat thing about this book is it invites you to reframe your story, whether it’s your work story, your relationship story, your life story, or another kind of story

So, how do our plots change?

Well, I decided to reframe my poor me story as a trial by fire that I overcame.

Losing my job WAS traumatic at the time, but what doors did it open for me?

It opened my mastery plot. I became a master at writing and teaching.

Having a bad boss and being fired allowed me to become a worker advocate for nonprofit professionals all over the world.

I got two years of unemployment from that job, thanks to Obama agreeing to extended benefits in 2009, and this was the equivalent of saving up $48,000 to start my business. Talk about a positive outcome of being fired!

I decided to start this blog, and my passion to keep other people from going through what I went through kept me going for the last six years. Now we have 50,000 monthly readers who learn about fundraising and empowerment.

Being fired made me passionate about helping people name and claim workplace dysfunctions.

In 2009 I read “The Battle between Somebodies and Nobodies” by Judith Ann Wambach, and I learned about Robert Fuller’s Dignitarian movement.

In 2010 I made an Android app about how to name and claim workplace dysfunctions. I talked about what happy healthy workplaces looked like.

In 2013 I wrote my first research report, called Shafted, that talked about nonprofit unions, and posited that nonprofit unions would help create a better culture of philanthropy. What were my findings? Read on.

In 2013 I wrote a book called Get the Job, Your Fundraising Career Empowerment Guide, which received a 5 star rating from About.com, and to date has helped hundreds of people all over the world learn how to empower themselves in their nonprofit careers.

And finally, in 2015 I created a virtual fundraising career conference attended by 550 people, with 13 speakers and 3 days of presentations that helped people learn how to create a culture of philanthropy in their nonprofits, find their strengths, deal with difficult people, develop better boundaries, and move on up to different roles.

So, a friend of mine said, you know, nonprofit careers are kind of your deal. And I thought… um, yes, I guess they are! All of this would never have happened if I hadn’t been fired from that job.

So I’m grateful that I got fired from that job. It really worked out.

I reframed my story when I thought of all of the good things that happened .

So, remember that Mandy Aftel calls the three main plots of your life the love plot, the mastery plot, and the loss plot.

I had both the mastery plot and the loss plot going when I lost my job. Add the money complication to that. Suddenly, I didn’t have my paycheck anymore! That was really scary. Sometimes it still is.

Now add the Escape complication. I just wanted to escape from the nonprofit world in Portland, so I fled to Austin Texas. What I found was that it was just as hard, if not harder, to get a job where I had no connections.

I would highly recommend reading this book, whether or not you’ve ever lost a job. It can help you reframe all aspects of your life from one of victimhood to one of strength and overcoming adversity.

Would love to hear what you think of this book!

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