Fail Up

What does Fail Up mean?

Getting a promotion even if you’ve failed

When someone fails up, it means they’re climbing the career ladder despite their consistent lackluster performance or outright failures. This is not a rare occurrence in the professional environment, so much so, there’s a slang for it.

People who are known to fail up often have personality traits that mask their professional shortcomings. They are generally outgoing, self-assured, charismatic, and give the impression of being hard workers. These individuals are also clever at presenting their failures as either achievements or chances for improvement.

However, it’s worth noting that not all promotions following a failure are examples of failing up. At times, individuals make mistakes, learn from them, and genuinely emerge stronger – poised for greater accomplishments in the future.

Example for using ‘Fail Up’ in a conversation

Hey, did you hear about Sarah?

Yeah, she got promoted again!

I know, it’s crazy! She’s always messing up.

I guess she’s just really good at failing up.