If you’re a fiction writer, pick or create a character that has a definable career he or she engages in. If you’re a non-fiction writer, use yourself in this exercise.
Imagine that your character commits the proverbial “career suicide”–he does something so ill-thought-out, foolish, or unintentionally blundering that it’s virtually determined to end his career. Perhaps at a party he accidentally spilled scalding hot coffee on the wife of the luminary he needs to impress in order to get a promotion. Maybe he said something scathing about a piece of artwork, only to find out his boss painted it himself. Depending on the career, the possibilities are almost limitless.
How does this come about? How does your character handle it? Tell the story of the mishap or its after-effects.