Friday, May 4, 2012

You're Fired!

by Brittany Geragotelis

My plane had just landed in Mexico on a Friday in January when I turned on my phone to find that I had several messages left for me. My heart sunk when I listened to my co-workers tell me that everyone at my job had been fired. After 10 years of working for the magazine (across three different companies) I was losing my job. And I wasn't even there when they did it.

Even though I knew I had some exciting stuff coming up with my book writing career (I ended up getting a 3-book deal with Simon & Schuster the very next week. Talk about great timing!), the whole thing came as a major shock to my system. I spent my weekend going through various emotions: fear, anger, frustration, annoyance, grief, etc.

Being fired is jarring. Even if it was a job you had lost interest in or hated, having the choice to leave taken away from you can be really difficult to deal with. And if you're let go in a way that isn't reflective of all the long years and hard work you've put in for that particular company, it can be a serious slap in the face. But beyond the fact that your ego can be hurt by being let go, the fear of the unknown is so much worse.

One of my friends was just fired yesterday from a job she'd held for several years. She was promoted in the last year and had contributed largely to the company...she's still unclear about the reasoning behind the decision, but is dealing with the emotional side of losing her job. What I've been trying to press upon her is that this could be the beginning of a much brighter future.

In fact, many uber successful people were fired from jobs....only to go on to take the world by storm. So, just to remind her and anyone else who might be going through a similar situation, here's a quick list of some of those people who've had doors closed only to have others open for them.


That was then: Three years after graduating from school, Giuliana landed a job at E!. While being tested for a reporting position, she had the opportunity to interview "That 70's Show" star Wilmer Valderrama at the premiere of the movie "Summer Catch." In the film, he plays a guy who hooks up with his friends' mom, so Giuliana took a play from the movie by asking him if he'd ever done something similar in his own life. The two bantered playfully after that and Giuliana was happy with the quirky interview. Within minutes after the interview aired, she was fired.
This is now: Two months after being canned for the risque interview, E! swallowed their pride and rehired Giuliana as a correspondent, because of all the positive feedback the segment had received. Today, Giuliana is the co-host of "E! News" along with Ryan Seacrest, one of the hosts of "Fashion Police" with Kelly Osbourne, Joan Rivers and George Kotsiopoulos and stars in her own reality show with her husband Bill Rancic, called "Giuliana & Bill."


That was then: Once upon a Times Square, the Material Girl used to work at a Dunkin' Donuts in NYC. Anyone who's worked with Madonna knows that she's an incredibly hard worker....but has a bit of a diva-ish demeanor. That's why it's not surprising that Madge was fired after squirting customers with donut jelly.
This is now: After becoming a singer, songwriter, performer, actress and entrepreneur, Madonna now has plenty of people to get her coffee. She's sold over 300 million records worldwide and is so famous she only needs one name.


That was then: One of our favorite funny girl's first big breaks on television, came when she was given her own sitcom, "Ellen." The show paralleled Ellen's comedian lifestyle and became a quick hit. In 1997 though, at the height of its popularity, Ellen came out as gay both on the show and in her personal life. In fact, the episode where she admitted this to her therapist, was one of the highest-rated episodes ever. Unfortunately, ratings fell quickly after that (many think because of people's ignorance and close-mindedness over her being gay), and the show was cancelled.
This is now: In 2003, Ellen made her big TV comeback with her celebrated daytime talk show, "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" which has received critical praise. Since then, she's hosted the "Academy Awards" and "The Primetime Emmy's", and has been awarded 13 Emmy's herself. She was also the voice of Dory in "Finding Nemo" and was a judge on "American Idol" for a season.


That was then: In the middle of his burgeoning music career, Jerry was fired by legendary artist John Denver for representation. This was particularly difficult for Jerry, since he'd practically created John Denver's career as we knew it and he'd become a great friend to him.
This is now: Being fired by John Denver didn't keep Jerry down for too long. In fact, he worked with so much talent in his life: Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Moody Blues, etc. Not to mention that he got into film producing, churning out hits like "The Karate Kid" and "Oceans Eleven."


That was then: A few months before Oprah graduated from college, she was offered a full-time job as a reporter. In her new job, Oprah was very expressive in her emotions, crying while listening to a sad story and giving her opinions on the job. At the young age of 22, she was fired.
This is now: Shortly after that, Oprah was set up with a job as a co-host of a morning talk show called "People Are Talking." This was the beginning of the career she carved out for herself with the eventual creation of the long-running and successful "The Oprah Winfrey Show." Since being fired from her first reporting job, she's become a talk show host, actress, producer, publisher and philanthropist.