It’s not every day that the President of the United States fires someone. But for General Stanley McChrystal, a disastrous interview with Rolling Stone magazine was enough to get himself relieved of command. Today, looks back on politicians, athletes, entertainers and other high-profile figures whose careers took a nosedive because of poorly-chosen words in media interviews. These highly publicized blunders are part of the reason many people dread talking to reporters: the fear that any one of us could say something that puts an end to our career.

The best thing anyone can do to ensure a press interview goes well is to prepare. Know your key points, and stick to them. Don’t be baited by a loaded question. Anticipate tough questions, and be ready with savvy answers. A good media coach can help you steer an interview where you want it to go. So don’t go it alone.