Gretchen Rubin

A Little Happier: Sometimes, You Have to Get Fired to Get Hired.


Somewhat to my surprise, I’m a big fan of the writing of the actor Rob Lowe. He’s famous for movie roles such as The Outsiders, About Last Night…, and St. Elmo’s Fire. On TV, he played Sam Seaborn on The West Wing and Chris Traeger on Parks and Recreation (one of my all-time favorite TV shows) and is now on Code Black.

You don’t expect a major actor to be a thoughtful writer, but I’ve been surprised by how perceptive and unexpected his insights are. He’s had a crazy life, and he has seen and learned a lot.

In his book Love Life, Rob Lowe tells a story about a time when he was working with Amy Adams. Amy Adams is the wonderful actor who would later star in the movie Enchanted, American Hustle, and play Lois Lane. She’s been nominated for five Academy awards , and in 2017, was one of the most highly paid actresses in the world.

Rob Lowe recounts a time when he was the star of a CBS drama Dr. Vegas that he hoped would be a big success. And Amy Adams got fired off the show by the network. A big disappointment for him, because he wanted to work with her, and also obviously for her. It wasn’t exactly clear why, though they did tell Rob Lowe that “Amy Adams isn’t sexy enough to be the love interest.” Rob Lowe observes,

Amy had planned on starring with me on a hopefully big CBS drama and suddenly, that was over. So she was able to have a meeting on a movie she would have been otherwise unavailable for. The movie was Junebug, and she got the part. The role earned her an Academy Award nomination. It launched her into the A-list. The Dr. Vegas disaster was her gift. Sometimes you have to get fired to get hired.

If you’ve never seen Junebug, run out and see it. It’s a brilliant, surprising movie, one of my favorites.

And Rob Lowe is right. We never know what's good luck, or what's bad luck. Sometimes you have to get fired to get hired.

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