When Getting Fired Is Good for Your Career

October 31, 2018 | Publication

Most leaders are, deep down, afraid of failure. But a 10-year study of over 2,600 leaders showed almost half (45%) suffered at least one major career blow-up — like getting fired, messing up a major deal, or blowing an acquisition. Despite that, 78% of these executives eventually made it to the CEO role. Additional research on 360 executives found that 18% had been fired or laid off. The good news: 68% landed in a new job within six months. An additional 24% had a new job by the end of one year. Even better? 91% of executives who had been fired took a job of similar or even greater levels of seniority. The leaders who rebounded the fastest did three things: first, they looked the facts in the face and owned them. If they were fired for performance reasons, for example, they accepted that and learned from it. Second, they leaned on their professional networks to get a new job (not friends or family, and not recruiters). Third, they looked for jobs in industries where they had experience, rather than jumping to something new.