When the Famous Get Fired

by Lee Koslow, Career Services Advisor Team Leader

Lee Koslow

Unless you are a fan of Saturday Night Live, you may not recognize the name Michaela Watkins. She is a talented comic actress who was fired in 2009 after just one year with SNL. Where is she now? She no longer has a weekly role on one of America’s most celebrated television comedy shows. But she is still working. She has continued performing in a Los Angeles comedy club, has appeared on episodes of different TV shows, and has had roles in a few movies, including The Back-Up Plan, starring Jennifer Lopez.

You probably have not heard of Jim Donald either. In January 2008 he was fired from his position as CEO of Starbucks. In September 2009 Donald was hired as CEO of Haggen, Inc., a company that operates more than 30 supermarkets in Washington and Oregon. His new position certainly carries less prominence than his role at Starbucks, where he grew the company to more than 15,000 stores in 43 countries. Nevertheless, he again holds the title of CEO at a well respected company.

What can we learn from the firing of these two prominent people? First, neither of them bad-mouthed their former employer.  In fact Watkins has spoken very positively about her experience with SNL and her relationship with producer Lorne Michaels. Second, they both accepted lower-paying, less prestigious jobs in their field. In time they may attain and even surpass their former glory.  But for now doing satisfying work that adds to their résumés is more important than any sense of pride.

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Lee Koslow is a Career Services Advisor Team Leader for the RochesterWorks! Career Center on 255 N. Goodman St. He has been delivering employment and training services to individuals for 12 years, the last six of those at RochesterWorks!.

Some of the services that Lee currently provides at RochesterWorks! are:

  • Helping jobseekers to make good career decisions, including selecting a new line of work.
  • Assessing individuals for the RochesterWorks! training grant, which can cover some of the cost of tuition and fees at local schools and colleges. 

Lee endeavors to empower jobseekers by helping them to make sense of the wealth of information and career advice available to them.

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