Cover Simu Liu at the 2022 Oscars red carpet (Photo: Getty Images)

After being axed from his accounting job, the Shang-Chi actor learned to define success on his own terms

Success can look like many things. For Chinese-Canadian actor Simu Liu, it definitely wasn’t working the nine-to-five job of being an accountant.

On April 12, Liu took to Instagram to commemorate the 10th anniversary of his being fired from the accounting firm, Deloitte.

“Ten years ago to the day, I was [led] into my managing partner’s office at Deloitte and told that they were terminating my employment effective immediately,” he wrote. “Nobody moved, offered a whisper of encouragement or even looked in my direction. I fought back tears of humiliation, grabbed my things, and never looked back.”

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Liu reflected on the sense of failure he felt, especially after “years of schooling, gifted programs, trying to live up to my parents’ expectations.”

“10 years ago I thought my life was over. I had wasted countless time and money that my family had invested in me,” he said.

But being laid off was also the stepping stone to his future success in Hollywood. After realising that accounting was not for him, he decided on a radical career switch. He spent years “running around like a headless chicken” trying to break into the acting industry, as well as investing his life savings into the often unrewarding endeavour of becoming an actor.

He eventually landed “two life-changing roles”: one in the hit comedy Netflix series, Kim’s Convenience, and another as the star of Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The latter made Liu the first-ever Asian superhero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and he has since gone on to receive acclaim for his role. In 2021, Liu was named the best action movie star of the year at the People's Choice Awards—a win for all actors of Asian descent in Hollywood.

Indeed, it worked out for the best; Deloitte is now being investigated over its audits.

While acknowledging that luck played a significant role in his success, Liu says that he first had to define the word for himself.

“I’d still find purpose and meaning in the pursuit of success on my own terms,” he wrote. “Not my parents’ definition—MINE.”

He imparted his hard-earned words of wisdom to his two million Instagram followers: “I don’t know who needs to hear this right now, but no amount of money is worth compromising your vision for yourself. The pursuit of a dream, YOUR dream, against all odds… that’s what life is all about.”

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