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Human Resources Nightmares: Notorious Firings and Fallouts

Updated on May 14, 2012

Canned. Let go. Axed. Dismissed. No matter how you put it, you’ve still been fired. And while it’s never easy, you can chalk it up to a learning experience. A character builder. But what if your pink slip turns into a human resources nightmare and the entire world knows you’ve been canned?

Steve Jobs

In 1985, Steve Jobs was 30 years old, wildly successful and fabulously wealthy. And then he got forced out of the billion-dollar company he had helped build from the ground up.

“I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.”

The Macintosh computer debuted in 1984 to rave reviews but underwhelming sales, putting a huge financial strain on the company. After losing a power struggle with the board of directors, Jobs was removed from his position as chief visionary.

But not all was lost: During the next 5 years, he started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with the woman who would become his wife. Pixar became the most successful animation studio in the world, Apple eventually bought NeXT, and Steve Jobs returned to Apple.

Adam Sandler

A comedy club regular, Adam Sandler was hired to write for Saturday Night Live in 1990. But 5 years later, his manager hinted (before the ax fell) that he should look "for something else to do."

"Nobody wanted to tell me the truth that I was getting fired. All of a sudden [Chris] Farley ran into my office and is like, 'We're getting fired!' Me and him got fired. That's when my manager at the time came up with, 'NBC: Nothing But C***!"

Sandler has since starred in over 30 movies and has even founded his own production company, Happy Madison Productions.

Michael Bloomberg

In 1966, Michael Bloomberg was hired by a Wall Street firm, Salomon Brothers, for an entry-level job. He quickly rose through the ranks, becoming general partner in 1973. But after fifteen years of twelve-hour days and six-day weeks, Salomon Brothers was acquired and Bloomberg got the boot.

“So there I was, thirty-nine years old and essentially hearing, ‘Here's $10 million; you're history.’ One summer morning, John Gutfreund, managing partner of Wall Street's hottest firm, and Henry Kaufman, then the world's most influential economist, told me my life at Salomon Brothers was finished.’

He took his severance package and used it to help form the company that would eventually become Bloomberg LP, the financial data giant and global news service that now includes television, radio, internet and printed publications. Bloomberg now has a net worth of $22 billion and is the 11th richest person in the United States.

Gilbert Gottfried

In 2011, just days after the tsunami devastated Japan, Gilbert Gottfried unleashed a series of seriously offensive tweets about the disaster. Aflac, who conducts the majority of their business in Japan, was not amused:

"Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac ... Aflac will immediately set plans in motion to conduct a nationwide casting call to find a new voice of the iconic Aflac Duck."

Daniel McKeague, a father of three from Hugo, Minnesota., is the new voice of the Aflac duck.


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    • Suzie ONeill profile image

      Suzie ONeill 5 years ago from Lost in La La Land

      Wow-- what an interesting hub! I'd heard about a few of them before but it was nice to hear the details. I think it's great that so many of them bounced back and became even more successful after being fired.

    • PageC profile image

      PageC 5 years ago

      Inspiring for those who have lost their jobs.