Got Fired? Good For You! So Did Oprah And These Other Super Successful People


Getting fired does not need to be the end of the world. It can be the motivating factor that is the kick in the pants for you to do something you have wanted to do but was too afraid to try. Getting fired makes you look realistically at what you were doing, and just after it happens you get some extra time to think about your life, your goals and your dreams.

Was it the job for you? Maybe the others did not like you or get along with you, maybe you need to improve your social skills, get some more education, look for something more or less challenging. Getting fired does not have to be full of negative points, take them and turn them around. There can be many reasons for losing your job, both your fault and the company or bosses.

Downsizing; nepotism (oh yes that is still around) bosses’ nephew, daughter etc. wanting work; introduction of technology all of these and more can be reasons that you have been fired. Personal interactions, anger management or lack of, not enough experience: all can be contributing factors to being fired. What you do next will be determined by how you perceive the new situation.

These super successful people got fired as well. Let us take a look at what happened next:

1. Oprah Winfrey

Oprah is the epitome of a successful, professional woman; an icon to many women, someone who stands up for the rights of women in particular but will question any action that undermines a person, examines and bringing injustices to light. At the beginning of her career she hired to work for Baltimore as a reported and anchor, moving from Nashville were she had been the youngest female African American anchor on Nashville CBS News.

Oprah was fired and demoted in Baltimore after only 7 months amidst claims of sexual harassment, sexism and humiliation. We all know the success that is Oprah and being fired did not halt it; her views on this time reflect that she learnt from the experience about the world she was working in, losing her naiveté and identifying her lack skill which she set about rectifying becoming in the process the woman she is today.

2. Kerry Washington

This popular and outspoken actress of the series, Scandal was named in 2014, as one of the Time 100 ‘Most Influential People in the World’ yet twice in a row she got fired. At the time felt heartbroken and was considering changing careers but finding a project that resonated with her and sticking to what she wanted to do, despite being fired has worked for her. Scandal projected her into the public eye and there she remains marrying her success with her commitment to equality and the Democratic Party.

3. Kim France

After being “replaced” – a euphemism for being fired, from the fashion magazine Lucky, Kim France took the time to explore where she wanted her life to go to. A victim of the recession and a downturn in the magazines advertising, Kim looked at the Internet and developed her blog, ‘Girls of a Certain Age’, looking to explore the fashion business towards women over 20 & 30; for women who have long since abandoned the junior department.

Following the blogs success she joined Open Sky as a curator. Kim used being replaced as a motivating factor in developing her interests, putting in energy and dedication to her own project, being aware that working for or with big business “The Man” is not for her. Sometimes being fired allows you to realize you are in the wrong place and to start to look for what is right for you.

4. Anna Wintour

[bctt tweet=”I recommend you all to get fired. It is a great learning experience. -Anna Wintour” via=”no”]

Artistic director of Conde Nash and long time editor-in-chief of Vogue had a few hiccups on her way to being the successful woman we see today. In her own words she says, “I recommend you all to get fired. It is a great learning experience.” Anna experienced losing her job not once but a few times in her career. Keeping within the same field she persevered at what she wanted to do and eventually got there, learning all the time. A clear message to not let your ambition and direction be deviated by getting fired.

5. Steve Jobs

There are not many people who do not remember Steve Jobs being fired from Apple, the company he co-founded. It was public, devastating and the focus of half a lifetime gone. After some time considering his options he moved his talent into another computer company NeXT and branched out into animation bringing the world Pixar Animation Studios. Taking time to reflect on where you go next is often a positive step after being fired as we can see from Steve’s comeback.

6. Mark Cuban

Owner of NBA Dallas Mavericks, business man, film producer and self made millionaire only worked for someone else once. A salesman at a computer store after leaving college, he was more interested in his own projects than the work. After being fired, he focused on those projects fully and soon after opened his first company MicroSolutions… the rest is history.

7. J.K. Rowlings

The world’s famous author of Harry Potter was fired from her job as a secretary with Amnesty International because her thoughts where with her stories, not the work. Taking her severance pay, she decided to follow her dream and focus on her writing. The result, well there are not many people in the world who haven’t heard about Harry Potter and Hogwarts.

8. Walt Disney

Yes, this famous man got fired; he was working as a cartoonist for Kansas City Star. The editor felt he lacked imagination, he then acquired Laugh-O-Gram which went bankrupt but he kept his dreams, moved to Hollywood and started to produce cartoons. Keeping your focus and your dream is important; sometimes getting fired is a kick start to success.

9. Truman Capote

An author, screen writer and playwright, went to work for the New Yorker as a copyboy with dream to be published in the newspaper. Leaving part way through a poet’s presentation got him the sack when the poet complained. After being finished he concentrated on his own writing, pieces for Harper Bazaar and Mademoiselle later publishing his first novel and many more that are American Classics; remember Breakfast at Tiffany’s; just one of his many books.

There are numerous examples of successful people who got fired, and what we need to do is take these examples and see that success is achievable and that being fired can be one step closer.

Learn from the experiences above, anything is possible. Take time to assess why you were fired, be honest with yourself. Look to what changes you can implement if you want to remain in the same field. Learn from your experiences and apply them to future work. Try to not get despondent; focus on what you can achieve, maybe even breaking it down into small steps. Do not allow others to tell you what you should be doing.

You could even turn the getting fired experience into a book like Annabelle Gurwitch did after being fired by Woody Allen from his play saying she looked ‘retarded’. The book is proof that it is not being ‘bounced’ that counts it’s the bounce back that’s important.

photo credit: Alan Light via flickr

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