You Aren’t Alone: Five Successful People You’d Never Guess Were Once Fired

You Aren’t Alone: Five Successful People You’d Never Guess Were Once Fired

 

Posted by John Krautzel, Beyond

Anybody who has ever been fired from a job knows how discouraging and disappointing the experience is. Whether you were handed a pink slip because of organizational cutbacks or as a result of your own wrongdoing, the feelings of dread and devastation are just as evident. It is important, however, to remember that this single instance does not define you. Millions of people have been fired at some point in their lives, and many have gone on to do amazing things. When you need inspiration, think about these five people who were fired before achieving immense success.
1. Walt Disney
Imagine a world without Disney World theme parks, Mickey Mouse cartoons and animated Disney films. Everyone would be living in such a world right now if Walt Disney had let a few career failures get him down.
In his early 20s, Walt Disney worked as a newspaper artist for the Kansas City Star. While Disney’s job was to draw comic strips and political cartoons, his editor felt the artist lacked good ideas and imagination. Disney was fired from the newspaper in 1919. He moved on to his own venture, Laugh-O-Gram Studio, which fell into bankruptcy within two years.Undaunted by past failures, Disney, together with his brother, founded The Disney Brothers Studios, and it was there that the animation artist created Mickey Mouse. Animated cartoons, full-length films and theme parks soon followed, creating an empire that is worth more than $48 billion today.
2. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is a household name. She has her own television channel, book club and media company; hosted a successful talk show for 25 years; and is a producer and actress. However, she was not always successful in the television industry. Oprah once worked as a news reporter for Baltimore’s WJZ-TV, but her producer was unhappy with how emotionally invested she became in her stories and fired her, saying Oprah was “unfit for television news.”
Oprah moved to Chicago and became the host of “AM Chicago,” which was later renamed “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” Aside from being successful in television, Oprah was also named the “greatest Black philanthropist in American history” by Biography.com, thanks in part to her worth through Oprah’s Angel Network.
3. Steve Jobs
The firing of Steve Jobs may be one of the most well-known success stories in business, as it has prompted many books and movies.
Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak started Apple Computer in Jobs’ garage in 1976. The business quickly grew and was a billion-dollar business by 1980. When the Macintosh was introduced in 1984, Wozniak and Jobs differed on their visions for the future of the company, and the board of directors fired Jobs.
Despite his setback, Jobs founded Pixar Animation Studios and NeXT, a computer company that would later be bought by Apple. He returned to Apple as the CEO in 1997 and helped develop the iMac, iPhone, iPad and iPod.
4. J.K. Rowling
As of 2015, J.K. Rowling is the richest woman in the United Kingdom, but she was once a poor single mom fired by an unsatisfied employer.
J.K. Rowling worked as a secretary for London’s Amnesty International, but she spent much of her time daydreaming about story lines and even writing books on her work computer during company time. She was soon fired for her lack of attention to her duties.
Rowling survived on her severance check and welfare for several years while she focused on writing her “Harry Potter” series. She sold her first book, “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone,” for $4,000 in 1997. Within three years, her first three books had earned $480 million.
5. Lee Iacocca
Lee Iacocca’s name is well-known in the auto industry and among business leaders as being synonymous with success, but the famed businessman once faced rejection from an auto giant.
Iacocca began his career with Ford Motor Company in the 1940s and was president of the company by the late 1970s. Henry Ford Jr., CEO and chairman of Ford, who was not pleased with Iacocca’s ideas, fired the president.
Iacocca joined Chrysler, a company on the verge of bankruptcy, and applied for government loans to save the company. Iacocca revived the company, even bringing in record profits with models such as the Plymouth Voyager and Dodge Caravan, ideas that Ford had ignored.
Being fired is uncomfortable and unsettling, but it can also be a moment of great transition in your life. Rather than beating yourself up, take comfort in knowing that many successful people before you have been in your shoes at one point in their lives. Dust yourself off and make plans for your future, knowing that this is only a minor obstacle on your path to success.

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