How to rebound after a disappointing career setback

Written on May 23, 2019

By Jessica Salerno, OSCPA senior content manager

Career setbacks can be humbling and revealing experiences. But the crucial moments after the setback are the ones that can most impact your future.

Mikaela_Hunt“In the moments where you feel negativity about that setback, that’s when you need to identify what you love,” said Mikaela Hunt, journalist and speaker at OSCPA’s June 27 Women, Wealth and Wellness Conference. “Because when you do that it energizes you, and you begin the process of finding your next job or your next journey professionally.”

A setback can take on many different forms: it could mean being fired, not landing the promotion you wanted or getting passed over for that exciting project. Afterward, you might question your future, and that’s when Hunt said a “life audit” is in order.

“It comes down to sitting with yourself quietly and figuring out what makes you tick in the current season of life you’re in,” she said. “And that could be both personally and professionally. It may not look like anything similar on your last professional stop but maybe that means something in what’s coming next.”

Hunt suggested taking a few hours to spend time in a place that inspires you and writing down your passions and what you enjoy about work. That “brain dump” will serve as your guide moving forward while you explore what you’d like to tackle next.

And though that will be helpful, Hunt warned against entertaining too many options. It’s natural to seek advice, but you might get decision fatigue about the number of options available.

Also, be careful what you say about your current situation. She said those who don’t know you very well might not understand the situation and offer bad advice or push you in the wrong direction. She also advised those who are active on social media to stay positive, because you never know who is looking at your accounts and how that might impact a potential opportunity.

“You might see something that provokes you, you might see something you want to share,” she said, “And I’m not saying don’t share it but be vigilant about the words you use when you share something.”

When you are ready to take that next step – whatever it might be – be intentional in your choices. You might feel a bit desperate in the initial period after a setback and grabbing the next opportunity that comes your way isn’t always best in the long run.

“Discernment is so helpful because we want to say yes to everything in that moment, so we have as many opportunities as we can,” Hunt said. “But you really need to stop and consider what’s in front of you and see if that really fits with what you want to do and how you want your life to look.”

See Mikaela in person at the Women, Wealth & Wellness Conference. Register today!

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