Let’s put aside, for the moment, why someone might be suddenly fired: it could be a disagreement over strategy; It could be any problem when cooking a chicken. The real question is what happens next.
For some, ending up on the streets generates a crisis of conscience (“What did I do wrong?”); For others, it turns on a “I’ll show you those bastards!” , a fuse of fiery determination. Here, four cases of entrepreneurs who finally went from fired to enthusiastic.
You may think you know Colonel Sanders, the bearded Southern gentleman in the white suit emblazoned on KFC buckets around the world, but you’re probably getting the wrong impression.
Harland Sanders, who was neither a grandfather nor a father nor even, for that matter, a colonel, was an exalted gentleman who moved from one job (streetcar driver, tire salesman) to another (railroad fireman, lawyer, midwife) until the mid-1970s. sixty.
He was fired from both an insurance sales job and his law practice shortly after getting into a fistfight in court with his client.
Later, while operating a gas station, Sanders began selling ham, biscuits, and, yes, chicken to hungry travelers. At the same time he opened a restaurant, a predecessor of KFC.
Unfortunately, the restaurant had to close because a toll road was planned there. He chose to become a social worker until retirement.
When he retired he thought it wasn’t good to be so relaxed enjoying his retirement. So he tried to sell the recipe. He offered it to a significant number of restaurants in many cities. None of them accepted it but he never gave up even though more than 1,000 restaurants rejected his offer. Finally, a restaurant accepted her and KFC was born.
Seven years later, at the age of 75, Colonel Sanders sold KFC for $15 million.
Bartender. Dance party host. Supplier of stamps, coins and garbage bags. A computer guy at Mellon Bank. Owner of an NBA team. Shark.
Mark Cuban has had so many jobs, and such a strong vision, that it would be shocking if he hadn’t been rejected at least once.
But the story of Cuban’s firing is telling: In 1982, shortly after graduating high school, Cuban got a job at Your Business Software, a PC retailer in Dallas with a real gift for names. OR
One day, Cuban’s boss wanted him to open the store, you know, clean the windows, sweep, turn over the “Closed” sign. Cuban, who was about to close a big deal, decided that he would get someone to cover his shift while he closed the deal, and then he would hand his boss a fat check for $15,000.
«I thought he was excited. It was not. He fired me on the spot »says Cuban. More than sales skill and initiative, his boss valued obedience and good clothing (which was not Cuban’s thing).
For the future shark, the lesson was clear: you don’t win with pressed suits; you earn with sales. «I learned that sales cures everything“, says. «There has never been a company that has been successful without sales».
For Milton Snavely Hershey, life was certainly like a box of chocolates.
A publishing career melted away when he was fired from his apprenticeship at a local newspaper owned by pacifists. What does it take to piss off a pacifist?
This: Hershey, in a fit of pique, threw the owner’s hat into the machinery. His mother intervened and arranged another apprenticeship for him with a pastry chef, where she found his sweet spot.}
After a few years, Hershey opened his own store in Philadelphia. It closed six years later, so he tried again in Denver. Then Chicago. Then New York City. He returned to Pennsylvania in 1883, where precisely zero relatives would finance him once again. Determined, Hershey set out to start Lancaster Caramel Co. In 1900, he sold the company for $1 million to start the chocolate manufacturing company for which he would become famous.
If you get fired and you’re lucky, you can sneak discreetly out the side door, avoiding the walk of shame of the box full of desk trinkets.
Sallie Krawcheck, one of the most important women on Wall Street, was not allowed to go quietly. In fact, both times she was canned, the story appeared on the cover of The Wall Street Journal. This was a reward for a woman who had once been told that her strong work ethic was off-putting to others on the leadership team.
Fired from Citigroup, where he ran the wealth management business, Krawcheck was told his profile was too high.
She later had to leave her position as president of wealth management at Bank of America. Shortly after, she told an interviewer: «I said to myself: ‘What happens if I don’t come back? What happens if I don’t?’ But then, just a minute later, I said: ‘No, because I’m not going to give up until I make it.»
She analyzed the people she had been working with (men) and concluded that there was a gender gap in investing. Channeling her outrage, she founded Ellevest, a digital investment platform and network for women. A few years later, Ellevest has 440,000 registered users and $740 million in assets under management.