How to Handle a Career Setback

While facing a career setback can be overwhelming, it’s neither unexpected nor is it the end of the world. Most people’s careers go through such a phase at least once. 

When it comes to career setbacks, they come in various forms. You can be passed over for a promotion you’ve been waiting for, an important project that you’re responsible for can go awry, or you could get fired from your dream job because of an unexpected situation in the company. It’s normal to feel devastated when that happens, but it’s important to remind yourself that your career isn’t over and that there’s plenty of actions you can take to get it back on track. 

If you’re unsure what to do when your career goes astray, here are a couple of professional pieces of advice.

Face the Situation

In a situation such as a career setback, it’s crucial to remember that denial is your enemy. You need to acknowledge the problem to be able to work on it. It’s okay to find a trustworthy friend or co-worker that can help you get back on your feet, but it’s your career and you’re the one that has to put it back on track.

Take a look at the situation and try to determine what went wrong objectively. Did the incident occur because of a flaw in your performance or did the company decide to take a new direction where you no longer fit in? If you can assess the setback and identify your strengths and weaknesses, you have a foundation for starting anew and not repeating old mistakes.

Build a New Plan

A career setback can be the perfect time for self-reflection and reassessment. If you want to get back on your feet, you mustn’t stop learning and working on your skills. Devote your time to online courses, webinars, and other sources of information that can keep you up to date with what you need to be able to grow and find new opportunities.

Chances are that the career you’ve gotten used to has been keeping you in the comfort zone. There are often multiple ways for you to restart your career that you might not be aware of right away. Spend some time discovering them and building a new plan.

Take Action

When you feel you’re ready, you should start researching potential career opportunities. You can develop your personal brand, reach out to recruitment agencies to help you with your job search, or contact companies that you’re interested in working for directly. 

When it comes to companies, you should research each one, figure out what they’re looking for, and try to build networks where you can find the right people that can help you land the job.

It’s crucial that you don’t see your career setback as a disaster but as a bump along the way. Keep reminding yourself that the situation you’re in is temporary and don’t stop looking for new opportunities.

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