Getting fired: the secret to being rich and famous

Losing your job might be one of the toughest experiences you encounter, but it isn't always the worst thing that can happen to your career. 

J.K. Rowling wasn't passionate about her job as a secretary, inventor Thomas Edison was fired for spilling acid on the floor and the US shock jock Howard Stern was fired from NBC after a racy skit – he now banks $US70 million a year with another network.

"I recommend that you all get fired." - Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

Termination papers have enabled many people to explore their real callings in life. 

In 1919, Walt Disney was fired from the Kansas City Star.

According to his editor, he "lacked imagination and had no good ideas."

That wasn't the last of his failures. Disney then acquired Laugh-O-Gram, an animation studio he later drove into bankruptcy. Finally, he decided to set his sights on a more profitable area - Hollywood.

He and his brother moved to California and started producing a successful cartoon series.

JK Rowling worked as a secretary for the London office of Amnesty International, but she dreamed of being a writer.

She secretly wrote stories on her work computer and daydreamed about a teenage wizard named Harry Potter. Her employers finally got fed up and gave her the boot.


Her final pay cheque helped support her over the next few years, when she finally decided to focus on writing.

Today, she's the multi-billionaire author of one of the most successful book series of all time. Her first adult book is due out in September.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg was a partner at an investment bank before they were bought out in 1998 by the company that eventually became Citigroup. Bloomberg was let go and received a hefty payout.

He used that money to start his own financial services company. Today, he's the country's 18th richest person and the mayor of the “greatest city in the world”.

Vogue editor Anna Wintour's started her career in New York as a junior fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar. She made waves for her innovative shoots, but editor Tony Mazalla thought they were a little too edgy. She got canned after a mere 9 months.

Getting fired was a great learning experience and never held back her style.

"I recommend that you all get fired," she once told fashion students. Shortly after leaving Harper's, she became a fashion editor at Viva.

When Madonna dropped out of university and moved to New York to find fame, she had a rough start. Strapped for cash, she took a job at Dunkin' Donuts in Times Square. She didn't even last a day. After squirting jelly filling all over a customer, her managers gave her the boot. 

The Material Girl went through several fast food and waitressing jobs before she was introduced to the city's punk rock music scene in 1979.

Evening news reporter Oprah Winfrey couldn't help but get emotionally invested in her stories. The producer of Baltimore's WJZ-TV got fed up and pulled her off the air. As a consolation, he offered her a role on a daytime TV show.

Winfrey was initially heartbroken. At the time, daytime TV was a huge step down from the evening news. Her sadness quickly faded as the show, People Are Talking, became a hit.

Jerry Seinfeld had a small role on the sitcom Benson, but the producers didn't like the way he was playing the part. They fired him after only three episodes. Unfortunately, no one bothered to tell Seinfeld he'd been cut. He showed up for a read-through one day and found his part was missing.

He went back to performing at comedy clubs. After one performance, a talent scout for the Tonight Show was in the audience. Seinfeld landed a gig on the show and his career immediately took off.

Truman Capote dropped out of high school to become a copy boy for the New Yorker. His lifelong dream had been to be published in the prestigious magazine.

Two years later, Capote attended a reading by famed poet Robert Frost. Sick with a cold, Capote left in the middle of the meeting. Frost was deeply insulted and knowing where Capote worked, he demanded that the magazine fire the boy.

Getting fired didn't hurt his career. He began to submit short stories to magazines like Harper's Bazaar and Mademoiselle. A few years later, he published his first novel.

As a teenager, Robert Redford was an unskilled worker at Standard Oil when a supervisor found him asleep on the job. Instead of firing him, they switched him to another department, where continued to screw up. After smashing several cases of glass bottles, his contract was terminated.

Getting fired encouraged him to pursue his other dreams. He attended college at the University of Colorado and eventually moved to New York to become an actor.

Elvis may have been the king of rock 'n' roll but he hit some major setbacks on his way to the top.

After one performance at Nashville's Grand Ole Opry, the concert hall's manager told the singer he was better off returning to Memphis and his old career, driving trucks.

Luckily for modern music, he didn't. Presley continued to book shows in the area and eventually landed a spot on a tour with Hank Snow, the then biggest star in country music.

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- from Business Insider