“You’re fired.” Some people let the phrase get to them. Others
use it as a launching pad to superstardom. In his book, “We’re
Fired…and It’s the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Us,”
Harvey Mackay brings us some inspirational stories of rejects
turned-celebrities. Turns out the road to fame isn’t so smooth.
The King got fired from a music studio in 1954. He was told,
“You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. Go back and drive a truck.” Tell
that to the thousands of Elvis impersonators who sing his tunes
decades after his death.
Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper for lack of ideas. The
Walt Disney Company, with its animated movies, theme parks,
television stations and more, is now a multibillion-dollar
Joanne Kathleen (a.k.a. J.K.) Rowling
The author of the mega-popular Harry Potter books was canned
from a secretarial job after she got caught using the company
computer to write creative stories. She used her severance pay
to write Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, using grant
money to finish it after she ran out of cash. The Harry Potter
series became a global craze and Rowling became a billionaire.
The French cycling team Cofidis dropped Lance Armstrong after he
began treatment for testicular cancer in 1997 (with just a 50
percent chance of survival). They even refused to pay his
remaining salary or his medical bills. Big mistake. Armstrong
not only beat the cancer, but he also won a record sixth
consecutive Tour de France in 2004.
Before he ruled CNN, Larry King wrote a column for the Miami
Herald. The Herald’s editor fired him for being too chummy with
his subjects. His way with people paid off, though; few
politicians or celebrities ever bypass “Larry King Live.”
“You can’t act,” Burt Reynolds was told when he was fired from
one of his acting jobs. He later became the No. 1 box office
draw for five consecutive years.
He co-founded Apple Computer in his garage, and then got fired
from his own company. Jobs picked up the pieces and bought a
majority share in Pixar in 1986. Nine years later, he won an
Oscar for Toy Story. In 1996, he was back at Apple.
Abe Lincoln failed in business 1831 and again in 1833. In the
meantime, he ran for state legislator and lost. His sweetheart
died in 1835, and he had a nervous breakdown the next year. He
lost the nomination to Congress in 1843, was defeated again for
Congress in 1848 and 1855 and lost the vice presidency of the
United States in 1856. Then he ran for Senator in 1858 and lost.
In 1860 Abe Lincoln was elected president of the United States.
The rest is history.