Whether you’ve been overlooked for a promotion, lost a major client, or been fired from your job altogether; the following tips will help you to get your career back on track in no time.
A setback at work can certainly take the wind from your sails, especially if it’s happened unexpectedly; however, as much as it may feel as though all is lost, it’s not. In fact, it’s what you do next that matters most.
Let Off Some Steam
Regardless of what your setback may have been those unpleasant thoughts and feelings that you’re likely experiencing can take a serious toll on your health; so, it’s vital that you find a way to get all that negative energy out.
While you should obviously maintain a professional manner when dealing with bosses, clients and co-workers; engaging in a no-holds-barred de-brief session with friends or family will do you the world of good.
Just be sure to save any ranting and raving for when you are clear of your workplace and resist the urge to vent over email, social media or any other format that could potentially come back to haunt you.
Writing in a journal, going for a long walk or hitting the gym for a workout are all great ways to channel your energy as well, while studies have found that even just spending quality time with a pet can reduce your stress levels dramatically.
Analyse What Happened
Once you’ve dealt with those raw feelings and emotions, spend some time analysing exactly what happened; after all, unless you want the same situation to happen again it is important that you learn from it.
Be honest with yourself regarding any role you may have played in creating the situation and clearly identify how, when and where things could have been done a little differently.
If you are struggling to make sense of it all, ask co-workers familiar with the situation for their honest opinion or consider investing in a session or two with a professional counsellor or psychologist.
If you still have unresolved questions, request a follow up meeting with your boss or supervisor, as this can be a great way to shed a little more light on the situation as well as show that you are serious about improving.
Revisit Your Goals
A setback can provide a clear opportunity to take stock of where you are in your career and where you want to go from here, so before you jump straight back into the fray spend some time examining the bigger picture.
Do you really want to go back to doing the same job? Why did you get into that line of work to start with? Are these reasons still valid for you or have your priorities changed since then?
Evaluating your goals and assessing how far you’ve come to completing them could provide you with an opportunity to move towards something you’ve always wanted to do, or make a start in a new career path.
No matter what your answers may be, clearly define your primary goals and ensure that your next step will be getting you closer to achieving them. Most importantly, make sure that your long term health and happiness are key factors driving your decision making.
The best way to respond to a setback is to channel your energies into self-improvement. Not only will this ensure that you are ready to take advantage of the next opportunity that comes up, but it’s guaranteed to impress any potential employers as well.
Start by identifying any gaps or weaknesses in your skill set, particularly those that may have contributed to your setback, and look for ways to rectify them wherever possible. For example, you can find short courses in anything from management to administration.
If you need a new job, spend some time updating your resume; ensure that your online profiles are polished and current; and if you don’t have a professional portfolio yet, get one, as this will help to showcase your skills and talents in the best possible light.
As tempting as it may be to drop off the radar following your setback, resist the urge to do so, especially if you are now in need of a job. Instead, reach out to friends, family, neighbours, former bosses, colleagues and anyone else in your network and let them know that you are on the lookout for a new opportunity.
Attend professional networking events, touch base with connections online and do your best to spend some one-on-one time with anyone who could potentially have ideas, information, insight or connections that may help.
A career setback will often be accompanied by a decline in your health, as those feelings of anger, frustration, fear and stress can seriously compromise your immune system. That setback may have even been caused (at least in part) by an unhealthy workplace. Regardless, consider this to be a clear opportunity to reset, refresh and get healthy.
Start by eating a well-balanced diet full of fresh fruit and vegetables; make sure that you are staying hydrated; and limit your consumption of caffeine, sugar, alcohol and highly processed foods. For your body to have the energy, focus, motivation and creativity you need to bounce back to your best, quality fuel is essential.
Getting active is also extremely important and even just walking, swimming or gardening can help. Outdoor activities are particularly beneficial, as a recent study found that spending time in nature can significantly improve your overall health and happiness.
As much as a setback can leave you feeling frustrated, hurt and even angry, for the sake of your future career prospects (not to mention your physical, mental and emotional health) you need to find a way to stay positive. Things WILL get better.
Focus on lessons you have learned from the situation, clearly identify your many strengths and talents, and read about others who have overcome similar setbacks, as this can be a fantastic way to get inspired.
For example, everyone from Bill Gates and Jay Z to Albert Einstein have suffered their fair share of setbacks and even Oprah was once fired from a job as a TV reporter and told she was ‘not fit for TV’!
Framing your experience in a positive way will be particularly important when it comes to applying for future positions, because you are unlikely to make a good impression if you are still bitter or angry about what has happened.
No matter what your career setback may have been, you can be sure that others have come back from situations far worse than yours. So don’t just sit there, Dust yourself off, get back up, and make the next stage of your personal and professional journey your best yet!
As the old saying goes, Life is 5% what happens to you and 95% how you react to it.