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Dance It Out: 10 Songs for Your Career Comeback


Put down the Ben & Jerry’s, turn off the Netflix, and unfurl from the fetal position. Whether you were fired, laid off, or passed over for a promotion, we all experience career setbacks. Sometimes, in order to make a comeback, you just have to dance it out.

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These are high-energy songs intended to get you off the couch — perhaps to the gym or outdoors, because regular exercise improves self-esteem and fights depression. But if they just get you out of your pajamas, that’s still an accomplishment. (Be forewarned: if you have kiddos in the house, you might buy the radio edits of some songs.)

1. “Galvanize” by The Chemical Brothers

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A little pinot can’t hurt when you get that pink slip. But endorphins are the better chemical to get you back on track to making a living. The lesson here: too much inactivity can lead to face-planting. “The time has come to galvanize,” so sayeth Q-Tip.

2. “99 Problems” by Jay-Z

Substitute “boss” for the other B-word Jay-Z raps in the chorus, and you’ll quickly see the upside to being unemployed: you’ve got 99 problems, but a boss ain’t one.

3. “Turbulence” by Steve Aoki and Laidback Luke featuring Lil Jon

Don’t let your career crash just because you have hit a few bumps. Enjoy the crazy ride, and let Lil Jon be your cheerleader. “Yeah-ay!”

4. “Titanium” by David Guetta featuring Sia

Think getting fired is the worst thing that could happen? It’s not. Many successful people, from celebrities to media moguls, have gotten canned before stardom. Need a reminder? Play this track, with Sia belting out “Fire away/ fire away/ you shoot me down/ but I won’t fall/ I am titanium.”

5. “Sacrifice” by The Roots

This song flows with encouragement at every turn, with a chorus sure to get you out of bed in the morning, ready to face the day’s challenges: “Tell you one lesson I’ve learned/ if you wanna be something in life/ you ain’t gonna get it unless you give a little bit of sacrifice/ sometimes before you smile you got to cry…”

6. “List of Demands (Reparations)” by Saul Williams

Say you’re laid off and you need a confidence boost before negotiating severance. Hit “play” on this track: “I ain’t afraid of you … you cower in your tower, praying that I disappear.” Severance packages primarily exist to soften the blow of an involuntary termination and to avoid future lawsuits by having the employee sign a release in exchange for the severance, according to the Society For Human Resource Management

7. “The Hand That Feeds” by Nine Inch Nails

If you  need a musical pep talk to inspire you to leave your overly critical or unethical boss, this one might incite enough courage: “Will you bite the hand that feeds … can you get up off your knees/ are you brave enough to see/ do you want to change it?”

8. “Don’t You Worry Child” by Swedish House Mafia

This upbeat dance track will put you at ease, or at least get you moving with its irresistible beat. 

9. “Shake It Out” by Florence + The Machine

If you have you ever described your boss or a co-worker as the devil, then this ditty is for you. Just shake that devil off, Flo advises. And, her soaring vocals remind us “it’s always darkest before the dawn.”

10. “Live Your Life” by T.I. featuring Rihanna

You don’t have to aspire for fancy clothes and fancy cars to find inspiration in this song. It’s just a good reminder to “never mind what haters say” and to “keep on climbing.” Stupid haters. 

Tell Us What You Think

What songs did we miss? Share your career comeback playlist on Twitter or in the comments section below.

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