The Art of Getting Fired

by Larry Chiang on December 11, 2009

Larry Chiang studies sales and how to close deals. Last month, Harvard Business School’s, Harbus, featured him in a cover story, What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School“. If you liked 9 Things They Don’t Teach You at Stanford Business School, Cut and Paste Other People’s Work and How to Close a Deal Via Voicemail, you’ll love this post: “Close a Deal Via Text Message”.


Larry Chiang got fired as a front door admin for Girls In Tech started by Adriana Gascoigne. He’s on the waitlist to reapply

By Larry Chiang

Getting fired is a rite of passage for an entrepreneur.

There is a duality of talent in bringing in new business versus towing the company line and waiting for a promotion. Yes, you can do both but be careful when outshining your boss or eclipsing team members. If this sounds familiar and you are an alpha, tier-one salesperson becoming an entrepreneur, here are five tips on getting fired.

-1- Fail Forward.
Think of losing your job as getting turned down by your safety school after getting accepted by your reach school. In the working world, there is always more grass to make greener. Remember, if your girlfriend is not treating you right, it is time to woo three new ones.

-2- Treasure management.
Having savings gives you the flexibility to plunder new lands. If you are under debt’s thumb, go ahead and get screwed by your next sales manager.

-3- Moonlight.
When you are starting a company, your wife and your mistress are called “Duck9 dot com”. When you work for someone, your job is your wife and your mistress is your seedling of a business idea. I’m sorry for the male chauvinism, but if I were female then maybe I wouldn’t even have started a business.

-4- Forgive.
Holding a grudge is useless. Getting revenge is more damaging to yourself. Not to sound like a Susan Page book, but forgive for yourself and your career.

-5- Sign Nothing.
If you were a rainmaker, sign nothing. Most employers dangle a month or two in severance in return for you assurance you won’t go after valued clients and accounts. Its a good thing you have 6 months saved in your bank account.

-6- Spin Less, Succeed More.
Hey Larry, “Why did you leave Nalco Chemical?!”
Me: “I got fired.”
Them: “So what are you gonna do now?”
Me: “I’m gonna run my own company, UCMS”
Them: “why did you get fired”
Me: I was a bad employee. No make that a horrible employee.

Most people make the mistake of spinning why they got fired. Manipulating perceptions is what we do at a job. Spinning after we lose our job helps our pride but hurts our focus.

-7- No Vacations.
We take a vacation when the work is done. Being between jobs is the worse time to take time vacation. After you crash and burn, you have to immediately resaddle up. Address your pain directly, succinctly and methodologically.

When I get broken up with by a girl, I go to every one of our favorite spots ALONE. At our fave restaurant, I’ll go on a Saturday night and eat at a table for one. My addressing the pain immediately lessens future pain.

-8- Minimize the ex-Communication.
Kiss you old work friends good-bye. If you have co-workers that claim loyalty to you, know that they are unknowingly overstating. Jerry Maguire, super-agent extraodinaire, could only recruit ONE goldfish to jettison.
Call up your secret-agent skills to stem the ex-communication by forwarding email and porting out your cell number. Or be Larry Chiang quality, and port out your land-line too.

-9- Learn to Love “No”

Always be closing (A.B.C.) but work with their “No”. Learn to love no because doing what is hard and difficult for others to do is the path to more responsibility. I read more about learning to love no in a really good GigaOm blog post.

-10- Karma of Your Company Car.
Wash it and return it. Don’t pour milk or cream down the air vents because that is bush league.

-11- Leverage and Rally Your Rolodex.
Backing up you address book and collecting business cards into a three ring binder was soooo smart. Nice job.

-12- Paradigm Shift.
Getting fired is very normal in the lets-work-12 jobs type of career. We do not get mentored by parents whose generation worked an average of three jobs. Their judgement is based in love but wholly outdated. We don’t listen to advice based in 1975-1990 experiences because cliches aside… the paradigm HAS shifted.

Stay tuned. I am taking you behind the scenes when I cover (and crash) Sundance. I’ll cover the four mistakes of actors turned directors and maybe host a Sundance after party.

If you liked this, you may also check:

Larry is writing a sequel to a book he did not write. It comes out 09-09-09. It is called ‘What They Don’t Teach You At Stanford Business School‘.


Larry’s book releases 09-09-09

This post was cranked out in about an hour so email me if you see a spelling or grammatical error(s)… larry@larrychiang com

Larry Chiang is the founder of Duck9. It games the Fair Isaac’s FICO credit system. Chiang cracked the algorithm to help students. He battles lies told by the credit industry such as Fair Isaac’s claim that the average FICO is 720. The real average is 535.

Text or call him during office hours 11:11am or 11:11pm PST +/-11 minutes at 650-283-8008. If you email him, be sure to include your cell number in the subject line.

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