Throughout your career, you’re going to experience setbacks. They come in many forms, from that first job rejection, to someone else getting that promotion you were working so hard at, to being laid off, or being pushed out because of age or seniority. Any time you’re confronted with something like this, it’s normal to feel devastated, deflated and tempted to give up. Don’t! Use this experience to learn, and there is plenty to learn from.
Let’s start with the job search. Ok, you weren’t selected for that dream job. Well, in my experience, if they didn’t choose you, you’re probably just as well off. You see, if they saw a reason someone else was a better candidate, they are probably right. When this happened to me, I would first allow myself a day to ‘wallow’ in my misery. Sure, go ahead. It’s ok. Allow yourself a short period of time to mourn the loss, especially when you were super excited about the job. Then, take a step, a new step, even a baby step forward to look elsewhere. I always recommend my clients work toward several different jobs at the same time. Keeping options open helps you stay positive when bad news arrives. After all, if that dream job didn’t happen, it’s time to look for the next one. And it WILL come! I have never seen someone I’ve worked with fail to eventually win a job. It doesn’t always happen on our schedule, and we’ll never know why, but it WILL eventually happen. Just trust that when they say “No”, there is a good reason and that job wasn’t the perfect fit you thought it was.
Now, let’s look at that promotion you didn’t get. If someone else was selected over you, it’s time to have a good heart-to-heart with yourself. Yes, it’s true, the other person may have been a ‘favorite’ of the boss, but in general, people are promoted based on merit. So, if you were overlooked, look at yourself. I’ve been there. I was confronted with the very real fact that I had some things to work on in my professional presence. It was a very painful, but extremely valuable lesson to learn. It helped me grow and develop a professional presence that I can be proud of. Or perhaps your skills weren’t quite up to snuff compared to someone else. Much of the work I do with clients who want to advance in their careers, is to keep their eye on the prize. What is the job you aspire to? What skills or knowledge does it require? Are there any gaps in your experience that you need to fill? Create your own professional development plan and work it. Make sure the next time you’re up for a new job or promotion, they have no choice but to select you!
Being laid off is a very real possibility in today’s business world. Layoffs happen all the time due to mergers or downsizing. There isn’t much you can do to avoid it. But there is a lot you can do to ensure you’re marketable if this ever happens to you. Just like the professional who wants to advance, you need to keep your eye on your professional development. It’s all too easy to get complacent and stop trying to develop your skills. But today’s world changes at warp speed and you need to keep up.
I see the last scenario play out all the time, especially with baby boomers. Boomers, even in their 50s and 60s still have a desire to work and plenty of knowledge and skills to support it. Sadly, many companies are so youth oriented, they fail to see the value, and worth, of keeping ‘older’ workers. And these boomers have another trait that should be held in high esteem by companies – work ethic. They know what it is to work hard, to make things right, to collaborate. Again, we all age so we can’t avoid being seen as an older worker. My recommendation to clients in this scenario: keep an open mind, keep current on what’s happening in the world, and your profession in particular. Spend time with younger people and learn from them. They have much to teach. And, if you still get pushed out, do what many of my clients do – take those skills and years of experience and start your own business! Consult, create a start-up, or hang up a shingle. With 80% of the workforce projected to be self-employed by 2020, you’ll be ahead of the curve and in high demand.
Yes, setbacks will happen to all of us. Like the saying goes, “You’re not defined by what happens to you, but to how you respond”. Be prepared, keep learning, and you’ll overcome those setbacks.
Spring has sprung! The signs are all around us. Flowers are blooming, trees are budding out, people are starting to spend more time outside. One thing that should be happening, but you can’t see, is time is running out to start that job search.
Admittedly, the best time for looking for that new job is January and February, Spring is the next best time and it’s sandwiched between the best and worst times of year. Companies have now completed that first rush of hiring in the new year. Once June rolls around, hiring slows down significantly with Summer vacations. So, right now, in between, companies are looking to fill those needed positions before the big Summer slowdown.
The average time for a job search is several months, in general. This can vary widely based on your career. I’ve seen people laid off one day and employed within a week. Others languish from a combination of open positions in their chosen career and motivation to dedicate the time it takes. It’s up to you.
But here we are, late March, with June just 11 weeks away. If you’re serious about finding that next great job, get started now. Sit down, lay out a plan, update your resume and LinkedIn profile, and get out networking. With time and commitment, you can get that new job offer in time for Summer.
I am one of those who, during my youth, lacked direction. What little direction I did had was to get married and raise 5 children. That dream never happened. After bouncing around in various careers from ice cream parlor to plasma center to financial aid to insurance, I found myself craving the completion of the college degree I’d walked away from.
I completed my Bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington, majoring in Business Administration/Accounting. This very quickly landed me a position with Microsoft – my dream career at that point. But, as life would have it, I quit that job to move back to the East Coast for family. During that time, I had a successful career as a project manager, implementing accounting systems all over the US and Europe. A great job, but left me wanting a ‘normal’ 9-5 life without travel that allowed me to sleep in my own bed every night. So, 5 years later, I quit and became an accounting manager.
As it happened, I discovered accounting was not the career for me. I spent quite a bit of time assessing what I liked and didn’t like about what I was doing. All of this led me to discover the field of learning and development, and led me to complete my Master’s degree at George Washington University.
This step once again reaped major rewards. I quickly landed a role at Goodwill’s national office – my dream job, dream team, which I have always referred to as Camelot. Great people, great mission, and most of all, great personal development. It was here that I learned the value of continuing my professional development.
This is the foundation for the work I do today, the passion behind it, and the steadfast belief that every single person should keep their professional development at the forefront of their professional life. I am now driven to help people continue their development. I work with people who are committed to their development, willing to make the investment to ensure they continue to develop. It’s so easy to become complacent, get busy, and just live life, forgetting that one day down the road, you might need to compete for a new job and feel lacking in skills and knowledge. With the fast pace of technology and knowledge change, it’s very easy to fall behind.
Whether you are a Mom returning to work, someone returning from a well-deserved sabbatical, or simply someone anticipating a change in jobs someday, it’s imperative you keep an eye on your professional development and don’t fall behind. The work I do with people sets a path for you to keep moving forward in your professional life so you never find yourself falling behind.
Maintain an awareness of your career, where you want to be, and most importantly, how you are going to get there. You don’t have to fall behind.
I’m on a week-long retreat in the California desert, near Joshua Tree National Park. It’s a magical place of beauty and peace, and a wonderful time to pause, reflect, and look ahead. Our first speaker spoke to us about the phases of the moon, how they impact us and how we can be intentional about our behavior during each phase.
As it happened, tonight is the full moon. We learned that this is a wonderful time to set our intentions. Interestingly, this particular phase of the moon is in Virgo, and is the time to set intentions about career. I thought about the many people, 85% of Americans, who are not happy in their career. What are they doing to change that statistic? One of the aspects of my work that I love, is helping people be intentional about their professional development.
I believe professional development is something you must attend to on a regular basis. Maybe not every day or even every month, but certainly on an annual basis at the very least. Many people fall into the false belief that their employer is responsible for their professional development. Some may be lucky to work for such an employer, but the vast majority must take the helm and push forward on their career. Own your professional development! It’s your career and it’s worth investing in.
If you’re reading this within a day or two of the full moon, sit down with pen and paper. Lay out your intentions for your career. Visualize yourself when you ‘get there’. How do you feel? Where are you? With that in mind, what is it you need to do to make that vision become reality? Do nothing, and nothing will change. That is certain. So, map it out, do the work, and see where you land.
Are you ready to catapult your career into the next phase? Contact me to get started.
Career Planning | Sabbatical Planning | Job Change | Retirement Planning
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Andrea's passion is to see you achieve your professional dreams. Whether you are a corporate leader seeking leadership development for your employees or an individual seeking guidance in building your career or preparing for retirement, she will coach you to success.