Setback

React positively to a career setback

Most of us will have, at some time, experienced some sort of career setback. It really doesn’t matter how hard you fall but how you go about picking yourself up that matters. Resilience is a good trait but it will only work alongside other character strengths to get you moving in the right direction again.

Regaining momentum

Research carried out in the US identified three ways in which people set about regaining momentum. Some stewed and got stuck in a cycle of self-justification, others worked through the setback but ultimately struggled in adapting to new realities, whilst those who managed to move forward most effectively thought about the role they had played in what had not worked out, sought advice from others and identified skills transferrable to other sectors. This approach is often referred to as identity work.

There’s certainly nothing wrong in focusing on yourself at times when you need to get moving again. Sometimes launching into an aggressive job search from the off only results in the wrong decision being made, with a little self-reflection offering a far more positive route.

Look for answers

Being adaptable and comfortable with your work identity can be crucial factors in navigating the modern job landscape. Looking for answers as to why something has gone wrong will help to make you more adaptable in the future. Combine this adaptability with self-esteem and an understanding of your fit to the position and you have a great start in turning an enforced change into one of the best things that may have happened to you.

Those who aggressively search for a new job similar to the last one, looking to keep everything just like normal, are the ones most likely to continue to view any setback as one of the worst things that could have happened. Fundamentally they will not have embraced the opportunity for growth or diversity presented to them inadvertently.

Develop your work identity

As you move through the different stages of your career your sense of self needs to grow alongside the experience you are constantly gaining. However, this growth will only occur through regular self-assessment and reflection, developing your work identity as you go.

The formula required for becoming adept at winning when you lose is to not rest on past success and explore more broadly what you need to do to be able to succeed both personally and professionally. The next position you take up might not be absolutely perfect but you should at least have a clearer view of where you want to go in the future and valuable experience to draw on when you need it most.

If you need help getting your career back on track, Owen can help. We are an established and trusted recruitment company and sourcing skilled personnel for a wide range of businesses across the West Midlands.