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Bouncing Back from a Career Setback

So, you've suffered a career setback.  As uncomfortable as you may be feeling right now, one day you might look back and believe it was the best thing that ever happened to you.  To help you with that mindset, we have some tips for handling career setbacks:

  1. Think Positively.  Rather than adopting the mindset, “I'm doomed,” try to see your failure in a positive way.  If you look back on your life, you can probably think of at least 1 occasion where something didn't go the way you wanted it to, and ultimately, you were better off for your “failure.”  Perhaps you need only look back as far as your last romantic relationship for an example!  Believe that the same is just as true of your career—that the “setback” may be to your benefit—and that is far more likely to be the case.

  2. Learn from It.  Let's say you were turned down for a promotion you really wanted.  Are there takeaways that can help you further develop your skillset?  Perhaps your manager cited your lack of supervisor experience or said that you need additional training.  Rather than dismiss this feedback categorically because your emotions are running high, learn from it and take steps to address areas where there's room for improvement.

  3. Take Time for Yourself.  Unfortunately, we often skip self care when something in our lives goes wrong.  Yet, oftentimes, this can be exactly what we need to help distract us.  While you may decide to make career changes based on what you learned from your setback, remember to still tend to those things that strengthen your peace of mind, whether that means going to the gym, taking a long walk in nature, or just grabbing coffee with a friend.

  4. Get Support.  Speaking of grabbing coffee with a friend, your friends can be invaluable during a time like this.  However, there's an important caveat—choose the right friend to discuss this with.  Ideally, it will be a person who's supportive and a good listener, rather than that friend who likes to spout, “I told you so,” whenever something goes wrong.