21 highly successful people who prove getting fired doesn't mean your career is over

In 1985 Apple, the company Steve Jobs cofounded, sent the executive packing.

Getting kicked to the curb by your employer can certainly be demoralising.

As Jobs said in a 2005 commencement speech at Stanford University, “What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.”

But Jobs and many more successful people prove that what may initially feel like failure may just be the launching pad you need for success.

Here are 21 people who turned their termination into huge success.

Thomas Edison secretly conducted experiments in his office at Western Union that got him fired


Until one night in 1867, when he had a chemical accident at the Associated Press bureau news wire, according to 'Famous Americans: A Directory of Museums, Historic Sites, and Memorials.'

Edison worked the night shift so he could have more time to spend on his inventions and reading. One night when he was experimenting with batteries, Edison spilled some sulfuric acid that ate through the floor and spilled onto his boss' desk below.

He was fired the next morning, but decided to pursue inventing full-time and received his first patent two years later for the electric vote recorder, according to Bio.

In the 1980s, Mark Cuban lost his job as a salesman at computer store. That was the last time he worked for someone else

Photo by Kirby Lee/WireImage/Getty

One of Cuban's first jobs out of college was as a PC software salesman. However, he was more interested in cultivating new business than obeying his boss.

Cuban wrote in Forbes that, after a few months on the job, he had to opportunity to make a $15,000 sale -- he just needed a coworker to cover him at the office and to get his boss's approval.

After his boss told him not to make the sale, Cuban decided to go through with it anyway, and upon returning to the office with the check was promptly fired.

'But being fired from that job was the determining factor in my business life,' he wrote. 'I decided then and there to start my own company.'

Shortly after his termination, Cuban started Micro-Solutions and has since earned an estimated $3 billion, according to Forbes.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg used his severance check to start his own company -- now he's one of the richest people in the country


Bloomberg was a partner at investment bank Salomon Brothers. In 1998, they were bought out by the company that eventually became Citigroup. Bloomberg was let go, but not before receiving a hefty severance check, he writes in his autobiography, 'Bloomberg by Bloomberg.'

He used that money to start his own financial services company, originally called Innovative Market Solutions. The company, eventually renamed Bloomberg LP, aimed to make it easier for traders to wade through data and was worth $2 billion by 1989.

Today, the former New York mayor is work an estimated $49.8 billion, according to Forbes.

At the beginning of her comedy career, Sarah Silverman was fired from SNL for being too 'Sarah Silverman'

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

The comedian worked at SNL for 18 weeks as a writer and featured player in the early 90s, though none of the sketches she wrote ever aired. She was fired at the end of the season.

Bob Odenkirk, who wrote for the show alongside Silverman, explained his understanding of why she was fired to the New Yorker:

'I could see how it wouldn't work at 'SNL,' because she's got her own voice, she's very much Sarah Silverman all the time. She can play a character but she doesn't disappear into the character -- she makes the character her. She doesn't really do character voices. She puts out stuff that she would appreciate and then you can like it or not -- she doesn't give a shit.'

Now Silverman is a household name in comedy, arguably because of her unabashed Sarah Silverman-ness.

Colonel Harland Sanders was fired from dozens of jobs for his temper


According to KFC, Colonel Harland Sanders sold tires in the early 1920s and became the top salesman in Kentucky, but he was fired because of his temper.

Times reports he was fired from dozens more jobs before closing his first restaurant and going broke at age 65. He was reportedly fired from two separate railroad jobs, once for insubordination and the other time for fighting a colleague, and as a country lawyer after assaulting his own client.

After losing his restaurant, Sanders travelled across the US looking for someone to sell his fried chicken. It wasn't until 1964, when Sanders was 74, that the Colonel had more than six hundred franchised outlets for his chicken and he sold his interest in the company for $2 million to a group of investors, according to Bio.

Anna Wintour was fired from her first job as a junior fashion editor at Harper's Bazaar

Getty Images / Gareth Cattermole

The Vogue editor 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 told fashion students.

Shortly after leaving Harper's, she became a fashion editor at Viva, and in 1988 she was named Editor-in-Chief of Vogue, a job she has held for 27 years.

The New Yorker gave Truman Capote the boot after he insulted poet Robert Frost


Capote dropped out of high school to become a copy boy for the New Yorker, according to 'Capote: A Biography.' 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.

Before being named NFL Coach of the Year, Bill Belichick was kicked to the curb by the Cleveland Browns

Since joining the New England Patriots in 2000, the head coach has led the team to six Super Bowl appearances and four wins. But in 1995, Belichick was fired from his first head coaching job with the Cleveland Browns by team owner Art Modell.

Belichick was named NFL Coach of the Year for 2003, 2007, and 2010 seasons and is the NFL's longest-tenured active head coach. He is widely considered one of the best coaches in history,
according to Bio.

Madonna lost her job at Dunkin' Doughnuts for squirting jelly filling all over customers

Michael Buckner/Getty Images

According to 'Madonna' biographer Andrew Morton, when the artist dropped out of college and moved to New York to find fame, she had a rough start.

Strapped for cash, she took a job at Dunkin' Doughnuts 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.

Right before they started Home Depot, cofounders Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank were fired from their jobs

Getty Images

Marcus and Blank were working for Southern Californian home-center chain, Handy Dan, when a corporate raider fired both of them, Entrepreneur reports.

The two men decided to start their own home-improvement store based on an idea they'd had while at Handy Dan: an entire store of discounts. They called it Home Depot. In less than a decade, they'd opened more than 100 stores and made over $2.7 billion in sales.

Handy Dan shut down in 1989.

Vivian Giang and Alana Horowitz contributed to earlier versions of this article.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.