Being passed over for a promotion, someone else being given credit for your project, being made redundant, stood down or fired can seem like a real kick in the guts, especially when you felt committed, were dedicated and pulling out all stops.
Did you know that Steve Jobs was fired from Apple? Oprah Winfrey was stood down because she was unfit for television. JK Rowling was fired for writing fiction on the job while she was supposed to be working. Walt Disney was once fired for not being creative enough, and Thomas Edison was fired after an accident where he spilt acid on the company floor that leaked on to his bosses' desk in the room below. All of these successful men and women were once subjected to a significant career setback.
Recovering from a setback may feel impossible at first, but with some reflection, self-care, planning and courage, you can not only survive but potentially thrive in the wake of a setback.
Step #1 Acceptance
A job loss is up there in the five most stressful events in our lives, and in many cases, a setback of any kind can be a complete shock and surprise. Maybe you were expecting that promotion, thought you would be recognised for your hard work or didn't see a job loss coming. Regardless of the setback, it is natural for it to seem like it isn't happening. And, like any form of loss, you may go through stages of being upset, angry and in disbelief.
It will take time to accept the events, and while going through this stage, it is important to recognise this will be a process. Just keep in mind that there is potential for the outcome to be a big bright shining light at the end of this tunnel.
Step #2 Reflection
Was there anything you can take from this negative experience as a life lesson? In the midst of a setback, it is not a time for being hard on yourself and the choices you made, but instead, a time to reflect and consider whether there is anything you would do different if you had your time over.
What would you do differently? Would it have changed the outcome? Did you really want a different result?
Step #3 Put it into perspective
After you have taken time to accept and reflect, then it is time to put it into perspective. A setback can hurt hard, but sometimes a setback is an opportunity. An opportunity that may not have presented itself if you had continued on your current path.
Maybe this setback is just what you need to change direction to find what you really love, perhaps you are being forced to have some reflection time that will see you forge ahead in something new. Maybe this setback will make you so determined that you will go on to achieve great things.
As the famous philosopher, Seneca says - "Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end."
Perhaps you can see this loss as merely a way of making you take stock so you can go on to achieve your potential. Sometimes it is all a matter of perspective.
Step #4 Find what you want
Take this time to reassess your skills and your strengths. What do you like doing? Where do you get your energy?
Rather than thinking about your dream job title, think about the characteristics of your dream job. What type of people you want to work with, the kind of company culture that inspires you, the industries you find interesting, the type of work you like doing, the days and hours you want to be working? Maybe you enjoy being out on the road, working outdoors or being in a creative space?
Think about the skills you enjoy using. Are you great with your hands? Perhaps you love playing on computers? Do you like to make stuff? Do you want to lead people?
Consider the jobs that may meet your tick list. Evaluate your skills and work out how you can train yourself either with courses, a coach or mentor or on the job to fill any gaps.
Step #5 Seek opportunities
Get out and start talking to people about what you have learned and are looking for. All of a sudden, you will begin to see new opportunities and possibilities that you never imagined. When you are buying a new car, you start to notice how many are actually on the road. When you have clarity around the type of role that would suit you, it will amaze you how many more you notice. Opportunities you were unlikely to have seen while you were previously employed.
And, if you are excited about the future and its possibilities your energy will be contagious – and who doesn’t want to hire someone with great energy and attitude?
While a setback isn't all unicorns and roses, it doesn't have to define your future either – instead it can help you take stock, reassess and then work towards finding the right next move. There will be ups and downs of emotions, and it is essential to be kind to yourself while trying to keep your sights set firmly on the bright career future you deserve.
The Trojan Recruitment Group team are experts in labour-hire, temporary work and recruitment, so if you' are keen to find your next role, feel free to contact a trusted recruitment agency like Trojan. We can provide personal advice on how to positively position yourself for your next job. With a little help, you might find that next opportunity is closer than you think.