Rebounding After a Career Disaster
Back on Track
Authors: Sonnenfeld, Jeffrey
Date: Fourth Quarter 2011
Tags: career, path, fired, setback, disaster
Suffering from a career setback can be one of life’s most traumatic events. In an economic climate where unemployment is growing, many will be feeling this particular pain. For many, after years of economic stability and success, this may be their first taste of failure. While adversity can devastate the toughest human beings, it can also inspire them to greater things. This article, based on research and interviews with CEOs, offers a guide to rebounding from career setbacks. Citing numerous examples of great leaders who have suffered from being ousted or let go, or who have had their reputations tarnished in some way, the author considers the societal, institutional and psychological barriers to recovery. He then shares some key strategies, using reputation management and support networks, to regain control and rediscover a new heroic mission.
Tools and Frameworks:
> “Avoiding the Blame Game” suggests some ways to avoid playing the blame game.
> “Institutional Barriers” describes some typical institutional cultures and how each one will condition a different response to failure.
Jonathan Aitken, William Aramony, Carol Bartz, Peter Bell, Michael Bloomberg, Don Burr, Neil Cavuto, Ray Donovan, Mickey Drexler, Michael Fuchs, John Hancock, Steve Jobs, Jeffrey Katzenberg, George Shaheen, Henry Silverman, Martha Stewart
Uses surveys with survivors, original interviews with more than 100 CEOs, analyses of data on CEO terminations and retirements, and surveys of executive recruiters to build up a picture of how great leaders pick themselves up and keep moving forward, despite the odds against them.
About the Author:
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld is the senior associate dean of executive programs, as well as the Lester Crown Professor in the Practice of Management for the Yale School of Management.