How a Layoff Inspires a New Business

Layoffs - there is no good way to say this, but you've inspired me to start a business

I was thinking a lot about the economy this week, and was looking back at a bunch of older cartoons that came soon after being laid off from one of my day jobs.

It’s funny now seeing those where I’m obviously examining being let go. For example, they hired someone to come in and do the dirty work, and I remember the phrase “there’s no good way to say this” very clearly.

As unexpected and painful as it was, it’s also when I finally decided I’d become a cartoonist. I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands, so I dug in and started cranking out cartoons.

I like to think that I took advantage of every part of that experience and used it to reinvent myself. So, as hard as things are out there, there’s also a wealth of unseen opportunity, and maybe, after a while, a few laughs.

* * * * *

Mark Anderson, professional cartoonist

About the Author: Mark Anderson’s cartoons appear in publications including The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. Anderson is the creator of the popular cartoon website,, where he licenses his cartoons for presentations, newsletters and other projects. He blogs at Andertoons cartoon blog.


Mark Anderson Mark Anderson's cartoons appear in publications including Forbes, The Wall Street Journal and Harvard Business Review. His business cartoons are available for licensing at his website,

9 Reactions
  1. Mark – thanks so much for that. I was thinking about you this morning as I read the unemployment figures and actually thought about the wonderful opportunity you’d created for yourself. I know it’s hard work, but seeing the life, business balance you’ve created is inspiring.

  2. Now when you refect back on that firing, you must be so proud of the accomplishments you’ve made since then. I know first hand that being fired can be shocking and upsetting but it also can create great opportunity. I myself was ready quit my job and move on but I just couldn’t make that step myself. Luckily, they made that decision for me and now I am thankful for that. 🙂

  3. Mark,

    Thanks for your insight and your personal example of introspection.

    My question is: Who is Binky? The company clown?! Is he working at the HR dept?

  4. quite inspiring. It seems the economy is all anyone can think about and it keeps getting worse before better. Its quite scary. Great change in careers though. I would love to do the same. I just don’t know how to get paid for cartooning.

  5. Mark, I can truly relate to this. I’ve had some of the best things in my life happen through some unforeseen adversity and have recently had the same thoughts as you – that others may find their true calling as a result of recent job losses. Those that are currently unemployed by today’s economy may have received a blessing in disguise. At least, that’s my wish for everyone.

  6. Hi Mark, Great post. There is always a wealth of opportunity out there; it’s up to us to find it. A lay-off is simply a new beginning. I was laid off in September and it was one of the best experiences of my life. I am finally starting my own home business and living out my passion.


  7. Mark, this is so inspiring.

    I am a big believer that there is a silver lining in every black cloud if you just look for it and keep your cool.

    Had you not been laid off and decided to dig in with cartooning, we would have been denied the pleasure you bring us every Friday, that so many of us look forward to.

    Thanks for sharing your story.

    — Anita

  8. Mark, thanks for sharing this.

    It’s a good reminder that what we so often view as disasters are often only forceful pushes to change directions in ways we probably wouldn’t have had the nerve to take if we hadn’t gotten the push.

    I’m thankful for the push you received and for what you did with it.

  9. “I took advantage of every part of that experience and used it to reinvent myself.”
    I agree with you ; bravo !