Being featured on the Time magazine cover may seem like a dream come true for many individuals. After all, Time’s front page may get a lot of attention and celebrity like status because it is one of the most reputable and widely read journals in the world.

Yet many people are unaware that appearing on the Time magazine cover might truly be a curse. Here are a few causes for this:

  • Upon appearing on the Time magazine cover, you are immediately the subject of attention. Every action you do will be quickly scrutinized, and the media has the power to magnify any errors you make.
  • When your picture appears on the cover of Time, you stop being just a person and start being a symbol. Others will look to you to uphold a particular concept or movement that you are perceived as representing.
  • Being on the Time magazine cover might result in a great deal of recognition and attention, but it can also instill irrational expectations. Being under pressure to uphold your reputation as a “Time person” may be draining and unpleasant.
  • Time magazine covers are recognizable, but they are also transient, so you could be forgotten. You could be swiftly forgotten once a new issue is released and replaced by the next great thing.
  • Appearing on the Time magazine cover might be a double-edged sword since you could be pigeonholed. While it may attract a lot of attention, it may also confine you to a particular position or perception. This may be constricting, especially if you want to explore other possibilities.

There are several instances of persons who failed horribly or suffered professional losses after appearing on the Time magazine cover. A few of the noteworthy instances are:

  1. Steve Jobs: Time put Steve Jobs on its cover many times, notably in 1982, 1984, and 2007. Jobs, however, suffered a decade of setbacks and disappointments after being ejected from Apple in 1985, including the collapse of his firm NeXT and the middling success of his movie studio Pixar. He wasn’t able to make a successful comeback until he went back to Apple in the late 1990s.
  2. Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg appeared on the Time magazine cover in 2010 under the caption “The Face of Facebook.” Facebook, however, has come under fire for a number of issues in the years after the article, including the Cambridge Analytica controversy and claims that it spreads hate speech and inaccurate information.
  3. Elizabeth Holmes: The founder of the healthcare start-up Theranos, Elizabeth Holmes, was highlighted on the Time magazine cover in 2015 with the banner “The Most Disruptive Woman in Tech.” A few years later, however, Holmes was accused of defrauding investors and clients about the company’s technology, leading to many counts of fraud being brought against him. She was found guilty on various charges of fraud in 2021.
  4. Elon Musk: In 2021, Time magazine profiled Elon Musk, the creator of Tesla and SpaceX, under the heading “Technoking of Tesla.” A few months later, though, Tesla was criticized for how it handled safety issues and suffered significant production hiccups. Musk has also come under fire for his controversial tweets and online conduct.

These instances demonstrate that, despite social media and immediate popularity, being on the Time magazine cover is not a guarantee of success and that people can still suffer significant setbacks or failures.