For most people getting fired wouldn’t top their list of career highlights, but for Tory Johnson it was just that. Well, eventually.

When we caught up with the inspiring founder of in New York City, she shared the life changing moment of being called into her new bosses office and being told, “It’s a big world out there and I suggest you go an explore it”. She was then told to pack up her desk and leave her beloved job forever.

“It was devastating, I couldn’t believe it. I really tried to save my job but couldn’t…I was so ashamed I didn’t really want to face the world”.

Little did she know that one day she would recount this experience in the context of describing the greatest defining moment in her career. That her light bulb moment would involve a cardboard box.

“It taught me a lot about the sensitivity of bouncing back from rejection”, she says with a knowing smile.

After licking her wounds (and a few pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream), Tory made a promise to herself- never again would she be at the mercy of an employer. And on that devastating day, though she didn’t know it then, an entrepreneur was born.

Today, Tory runs the largest female career expo business in the country, which she founded in the corner of her apartment while her twins were sleeping. She is also the contributing Career Expert on Good Morning America- literally turning tens of thousands of women’s lives around each year.

“My career is devoted to helping other women define and achieve the success that they want for themselves”.

In these tough economic times, there are large numbers of women losing their jobs each day and while bouncing back sounds all good and well, I was curious – how do we ‘slap’ ourselves out of our pity party, dust ourselves off and go on to greatness when the odds feel like they’re against us.

Tory’s three steps for bouncing back:


“No one wants to hire qualified and angry, or qualified and bitter”. Tory explains that before you can get the job of your dreams you need to first let go of the resentment of losing your last job, no matter how painful, since hanging on to that resentment only harms your chances of moving forward.


As tempting as it is to only apply for jobs online, Tory reminded us that people hire people. The best thing you can do is make contact, real contact, with as many people as you can. Pick up the phone, ask to meet someone for a brief coffee, spread the word and get out of your pajamas!


Rather than simply applying for job vacancies, put together a list of people and places that truly inspire you. Then find a way that you could improve their business and approach them. Many of the best jobs aren’t advertised, they are created.

What hurts women’s chances the most?


“Too often we don’t show up, we don’t pick up the phone, we don’t send off that email, we don’t ask because we’re afraid someone’s going to say no. The reality is, that at some point we’re going to face rejection. But it’s okay. It’s a sign you’re in conversation.” Tory urges.

So come on ladies, let’s take the power back into our own hands and go bravely in the direction of our dreams! Because as Tory says, “The more you continue to speak up, the more you continue to talk- the yes’s will come!”

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