Anna Wintour: 'Being fired? it was my lucky break'

The US 'Vogue' editor says being sacked is a blessing. Is she right?

Mark Hughes
Friday 29 October 2010 08:47 BST

With the economy still in dire straits and unemployment expected to rise by millions, those who find themselves unexpectedly out of work have been given some gung-ho career advice by the unlikely figure of Anna Wintour.

The famously truculent editor of Vogue magazine has revealed that she was once sacked while working for Harper's Bazaar, but says losing her job was one of the best things that had ever happened to her.

Speaking at a fashion industry conference in New York, she told the audience: "I worked for American Harper's Bazaar... they fired me. I recommend that you all get fired. It's a great learning experience."

While Wintour's suggestion might not be endorsed by many careers advisors, there is a surprisingly large body of evidence which lends weight to her theory. JK Rowling might still be working as a secretary had she not been sacked for writing when she should have been working.

And would Brian Clough have found the resolve to lead Nottingham Forest to two European Cup victories had he not been humiliatingly sacked by Leeds United after just 44 days? Other examples of those richer for the experience of having been dismissed include Larry King, who went on to become one of the USA's best-known talk show hosts.

He claims he was fired as a Miami Herald columnist in the 1970s for writing about too many of his friends.

King anchored CNN's nightly interview show for 25 years. He will step down in December to be replaced by another man who suffered the ignominy of a very public dismissal – ex-Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan.

Although they probably did not realise it at the time, hindsight has convinced many people that being handed their P45 was positive.

Steve Jobs, sacked by Apple before returning to turn the company into one of the world's most ubiquitous brands, said recently: "I didn't see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again freed me to enter one of my most creative periods."

In the notoriously controlling Ms Wintour's case, being fired also appears to have hardened her. It certainly led to her being the inspiration for the book The Devil Wears Prada, later turned into a film.

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