If you go out of your way to get yourself fired, do it to build a bridge to your next career.  According to Inc.com, J.K. Rowling was a “former secretary who was once fired for writing short stories at her computer and used her severance pay to help finance the first Harry Potter” book.  Rowling knows how to take risks that leave an impression.  Once asked about a project she was considering, she said, ” There is no point in doing it unless it is amazing.”  Today, Rowling’s net worth is estimated at almost $800 million.

Enlightened firing can take many forms:

  • Some highly qualified people are culled from companies in re-engineering-style mass firings.  Confident in their own skills and their ability to land on their feet, wise individuals use their severance to finance a sabbatical.  They invest in strengthening their present skills or learning a new specialized second or third skill.
  • Let’s say you’ve been fired because your company forced you to engage in unethical practices, and your ex-employer has developed a reputation for doing business on dimly lit streets.  You could appeal to firms priding themselves as ethical beacons.
  • Perhaps you know you’re due for a one-way ticket to the headsman’s block.  If you’re a manager whose performance relies on the contributions of others, who will you need in in your new job to be a success?  I recall one executive who often hopped from one turnaround assignment to another.  The executives who made up his new dirty dozen as he ricocheted from one new gig to another were rarely the same.  And, even more important, were often not people he liked.  In fact, he considered picking team members on the basis of liking them to be a big mistake.  He picked people he respected and could play a meaningful role in solving the problems of the new business he was taking on.

Mackay’s Moral: As Harry Potter put it, “You sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.”

I have much more career advice and job hunting tips in my book “Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door”

About the author Harvey Mackay

Seven-time, New York Times best-selling author of "Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive," with two books among the top 15 inspirational business books of all time, according to the New York Times. He is one of America’s most popular and entertaining business speakers, and currently serves as Chairman at the MackayMitchell Envelope Company, one of the nation’s major envelope manufacturers, producing 25 million envelopes a day.

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