From Scandal To Bigger, Better Careers: 5 People's Stories
The American people can be a fickle bunch, condemning some transgressors to eternal oblivion, while forgiving others in a flash. Here are a handful of individuals who resigned in scandal, but through a unique array of strategies, managed to bounce back with new, re-energized careers.
In our beautifully karmic world, it was then-New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer who led the campaign against Henry Blodget. As a Wall Street analyst, Blodget allegedly published stock assessments that weren't entirely true. In 2003, he settled the fraud charges with the Securities and Exchange Commission for $4 million, although didn't admit wrongdoing, and agreed to a permanent ban from the securities industry.
Like Spitzer, Blodget went on to a successful career in punditry, founding the news site Business Insider in 2007. According to a recent announcement, the site has reached 23 million unique monthly readers, and according to various other people, is destroying the future of journalism. Blodget, fortunately, is used to handling haters.
Strategy: Leverage your brash, take-no-prisoners persona into a new industry that also loves brash, take-no-prisoners personas.
Enron alumni have gone on to a range of enterprises. The chief financial operator is now a document review clerk at a law firm. The assistant treasurer now runs an art consulting firm under her maiden name. The co-CEO of Enron Broadband Services says that he currently runs a party supply business on LinkedIn.
But Michael Kopper, the former finance managing director, who served two years in prison, is now the chief strategy officer for a community health clinic in Houston. No longer earning (or stealing) millions, Kopper spends his days raising money to provide low-cost care to underserved people.
Strategy: Redeem yourself through a do-gooder job way below your old pay grade.
In the '90s, Jayson Blair was a rising star of a journalist, landing a job at The New York Times before he even graduated college. That all ended, however, when it came out that Blair was a prolific plagiarist and fabricator, not only stealing quotes from other papers, but making them up altogether. After his resignation, reported as an unprecedented front-page, 7,500-word damnation from the country's most prestigious paper, Blair went on to become a motivational speaker and life coach.
"They know I've been in their shoes," Blair told The Washington Times about his new post. "I think it can feel a little more authentic."
Strategy: Help others not screw up like you screwed up.
The self-described "hatchet man" for President Richard Nixon, Chuck Colson ultimately pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice as the Watergate scandal unfolded, serving seven months in federal prison.
But that was just the beginning of Colson's story. As he was facing arrest at the age of 41, Colson converted to evangelical Christianity and while behind bars decided that God had called him to reform the prison system. He launched the largest prison ministry in the country, and later The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. For his Christian works (and words -- over 30 books worth of them), he received 15 honorary doctorates, reports The Christian Post, the Presidential Citizens Medal, and the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, the largest monetary award of its kind -- donating the $1 million-plus prize to his ministry. Colson died in 2012.
Strategy: Find God.
Murder charges look bad on a resume. But Baltimore Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis breezily dusted off his jersey, ending his football career after the 2013 Super Bowl -- as the longest serving linebacker in the NFL, and many say the best.
In 2000, Lewis was indicted on first-degree murder charges after a bar brawl left two dead. He took a plea deal, testifying against his friends (who were later acquitted), and admitting to obstruction of justice, before returning to the field with a vengeance. He was named an Associated Press All-Pro 10 times and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice, as well as winning the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award. For his stunning career, and the work of his charitable foundation, Baltimore even re-named part of a road in his honor.
Strategy: Be so awesome and break so many records that everyone forgets you ever had a scandal.
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin. Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.more...