"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 empire.
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.
~By Laura Morsch, CareerBuilder.com~