Dealing with Professional Adversity
Laid off when you least expected it? Passed over for that promotion you were counting on? Maybe your small business failed? In today’s climate, between an ongoing global pandemic and burgeoning social and political unrest, we must still remember that the only place we should keep moving is forward. It’s not the end of the world, and the most difficult times can be learning experiences.
Here’s how to pick yourself up when faced with career (and personal) adversity and look to the future with renewed enthusiasm and confidence.
Take a Moment
Take some time to acknowledge this major life change or disappointment. It can be quite a jolt to your routine when you don’t have to wake up in the morning to get dressed for work. Breathe and take it one day at a time – it’s perfectly fine to mourn the loss of a good thing, especially if you loved what you were doing. Activities like long walks, listening to music, and meditating in the morning to relax are great opportunities to take stock, and can help you reboot your system. It’s crucial to purge yourself of the negativity and despair that can come with being laid off before you start job hunting, for example. Wipe that slate clean!
Look at the Bright Side
Remember that it wasn’t all bad, even if you didn’t get that promotion. Make a note of some of the positive experiences at your past (or current) job, or lessons learned from a failed startup venture. How can you use that to your advantage moving forward? Perhaps your organizational skills were instrumental in the success of a project, or maybe there’s still a great idea in your failed business. “I’ve made billions of dollars of failures at Amazon.com,” Amazon founder Jeff Bezos told Business Insider. “Literally billions of dollars of failures. You might remember Pets.com or Kosmo.com. It was like getting a root canal with no anesthesia. None of those things are fun. But they also don’t matter.”
Spruce Up Your Skill-set
Treat as a learning opportunity and write out a list of things that you think you could have known or done better. This could include freshening up your social media skills or updating your knowledge of your industry’s best practices. You can go back to school for short-term courses, watch webinars in your area of expertise, start a blog, or do some volunteering (which looks great on your resume). The learning process never stops, and with the rapidly-changing job market, it will do you good to stay on top of the latest trends. You never know when your next opportunity – a new job, or another promotion – might come along. Be ready.
Move on Confidently
With your new knowledge and insight, it’s time for the hard work to begin. You’re wiser and more experienced, so position yourself in the professional world accordingly. Focus on your strengths. Remember to put things into perspective – layoffs aren’t personal, or you may get that promotion next time. Failure is the stepping stone to greatness, and things don’t always work out as planned. As Sir Winston Churchill famously said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Baisakhi Roy | Contributing Writer