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Failing Up

We all know at least one person where we scratch our heads and wonder beyond amazement, “How on earth did they land that job?”

We all know at least one person where we scratch our heads and wonder beyond amazement, “How on earth did they land that job?”  It’s not that we think they are stupid (although that could very well be the case) but when you find someone over and over again who has made poor choices, been fired, displayed what could be described as unethical business practices but time and again finds themselves landing great jobs, you’ve got to be wondering, “How do I fail up?”

Failing up is a term used when people who seemingly have been unceremoniously booted out of their jobs for whatever reason, seem to find an even better opportunity to attach themselves to.  Not sure if hiring companies check references or reputation of folks they bring on board for senior positions, but something seems out of whack when the folks you know are damaged goods seem to recycle themselves into yet another career defining moment.

Call it dumb-luck?  I don’t think so.  One thing you’ve got to hand to folks who manage to find their way working in an industry that all has but shunned them is “What goes around, comes around.”  It may not seem fair when hard-working and smart folks who really believe in the concept of professional integrity have to take a back seat as they watch their peers come from behind to scoop up high paying, high profile jobs out of the blue.

Not that anyone says life is fair but here are some examples of folks who keep failing up well into their next provocative career move:

The executive who has managed a senior level job position for sometime and has levied enough litigation against them to make even OJ seem like a lightweight.  Yes, this individual keeps getting bonuses, job offers and equity even when the amount of employee claims keep piling up against them!

Then there is the executive who was fired on more than one occasion from various jobs for what some would call “unethical business practices” only to land a plum job at a company sure to make him/her millions when they announce they are going public in the near future. Talk about sitting pretty!

And what about the person who gets picked for CEO jobs time and again only to be fired for inappropriate conduct but manages to somehow have the next best gig lined up.

Whether you are envious of folks like this or wonder what our professional world has come to, don’t despair or lose your sense of self.  Your contributions and the fact that you can hold your head up high will not only make it easier to sleep at night but might parlay it into your next big gig.  It’s one thing to feel self-pity for not being as conniving as the next person, and it’s another to wait patiently in the wings for your turn to ride the gravy train.

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