Getting Fired – The Charlie Sheen Guide


By now we all know the story: After years of behaving badly, Charlie Sheen recently engaged in a several-week-long media rant during which he attacked a wide range of topics.

Along the way, he missed rehearsals, flubbed his lines, and engaged in very public tirades and self-destructive behavior. Sheen’s scorn specifically targeted his show’s co-creator Chuck Lorre.

Then he was fired.

(Here’s a video about Charlie’s rants by CBS. )

Guess What? Publicly Trashing Your Boss Will Get You Fired

Surprised? I’m gonna guess…no. We were all waiting for it, right?

So the first lesson we learn about career transition from Charlie Sheen is one you already knew. No matter how good you are at what you do or even how much money you earn for an organization, the people who write the checks will only tolerate so much.

But what about after he was fired? Is there anything we can learn from Charlie’s career transition? One Don’t:

Don’t Burn Your Bridges

Sadly, the attacks on his boss didn’t stop with getting fired. No more than a day after hearing Two and A Half Men would not finish the season, Sheen hit the air waves with more trash talk:

“I wish him nothing but pain in his silly travels especially if they wind up in my octagon.  Clearly I have defeated this earth worm with my words – imagine what I would have done with my fire breathing fists.”

Speaking ill of…well, anyone (but especially your former boss) rarely wins job offers. Your target employers will merely wonder when your wrath will turn on them.

Here’s one Missoula version of burning bridges:

Upon choosing a winner from a particularly competitive set of applicants, a local employer received a scathing response. The theme: How dare you not hire me! I am overqualified and you would have been lucky to have me. You made a big mistake.

Of course that attitude simply proves the choice not to hire this candidate, ever. I’ve had several clients receive promising referrals from employers who hired someone else…but our unhappy bridge-burner certainly won’t receive a referral, either.

Like Charlie, our letter writer had little to gain from the rant, but something to lose: professional credibility. Find another way to blow off steam that won’t burn your bridges.

On the other hand, Mr. Sheen demonstrates a couple of behaviors that fall in the Do category.

Do Start Something

Remember my recent review of Seth Godin’s Poke the Box? (Read the Seth Godin – Poke the Box Review here.) Godin advocates starting something, making a ruckus, and not waiting around to be picked. No one makes a ruckus better than Charlie Sheen!

In the days following Sheen’s pink slip, he launched a campaign to start something. He fueled his media frenzy through endlessly quotable incendiary remarks in a talk show parade and his “Violent Torpedo of Truth” Tour.

The Tour wasn’t a success in terms of garnering credibility, but it did demonstrate one of Sheen’s best selling points in terms of his profession: generating attention.

Seth Godin probably wouldn’t agree with most of Sheen’s antics, but one thing is for sure: Charlie Sheen doesn’t wait to be picked. He makes things happen. From the first moments of his career transition, he was “working” to create his next opportunity. You can, too.

Do Network

During his career transition, Sheen’s networking skills were, in some ways, exceptional. He holds the Guinness World Record for the fastest person to ever get 1,000,000 followers on Twitter. He leveraged his network to gain access to every possible media, which might just land him his next gig.

Whether you utilize social media or face-to-face interactions, your network will likely expose you to your next professional opportunity.  Leverage the good work you do and the good people you know to expand your options.

And Finally…about that Tiger Blood

Do I need to mention the crazy talk? Putting on a circus of egotism with talk of Adonis DNA, warlocks, trolls, and tiger blood will earn few job offers. But you know that.

(You also know that addiction often interferes with career. There are many resources to support overcoming addiction. My favorite is Radiant Recovery.)

You probably aren’t in a career transition for the same reasons as Charlie Sheen. But whether you were fired or laid-off or moved or graduated, refrain from trash talking anyone. Get out there and network and start something. And by all means, present yourself professionally. Even if you’ve got Adonis DNA, I wouldn’t mention it to your target employer. Or anyone else.

We’ve all heard stories of behaviors that got someone fired. I collect them. I want to hear yours! (Ahem, of course I’m referring to stories you’ve heard that happened to…someone else.) We appreciate your examples of what NOT to do.

Like this blog post?  Check out Jennifer’s VIDEO BLOGS on Job Tips, the Job Search, and the Job Interview.

Back to Work It blog homepage. Oh, and don’t forget our MISSOULA JOB LISTINGS–from the Missoula Job Service.  Job listings are updated daily!

See The “Work It” Archive for all posts related to employment.


Jennifer Shryock is a resume writer and interview coach with Rainmaker Resumes. Her blog features Missoula job hunting tips, covering everything from the employer perspective to networking ideas to interview-winning resumes to keeping your sense of humor, whether you’re working or working to find work. For answers, send your work related questions to Make her blog a regular part of your job search.