Back To Career News

How to Kickstart Your Career After a Setback

Topics: Career Advice
career setback
Pablo García Saldaña/Unsplash

Every one one of us, at some point in our career, has experienced the crushing feeling that accompanies something major going sideways. Whether it’s missing out on a promotion, making a big mistake on an important project, or maybe even losing your job, there’s nothing worse than feeling like you’ve failed.

When it happens, it hurts, and picking yourself up isn’t always easy. In fact, you may not even know how to begin to turn the corner. We’ve all been there, but it doesn’t make dealing with a career setback any easier.

In my own experience, I often have to hit what feels like the bottom of a bad situation before I can start to bounce back. Here are some things I’ve learned about how to move forward after something goes wrong.

Stop obsessing over it

Don’t get caught up in reliving the nightmare. It’s tempting to play scenarios over and over in our head but after the event, it’s time to stop. Don’t overanalyze what went wrong. Instead, focus on the future and looking ahead. You can regain control by determining the steps you can take to move forward. Remember this is just one moment in time in your career. You can, and will, get past it.

Do something you enjoy

Now is the time to have some fun with your career and reconnect with what really excites you and the things you enjoy the most. Do you love having lunch with a certain coworker? Go do it. Do you look forward to skimming through the feed of a certain publication? Go check it out. Finding ways to weave things you enjoy into your schedule will help you start to get your mojo back.

Hit reset

Suffering a setback is painful, but you can turn the situation around if you decide to use the experience as a catalyst. Turn your disappointment into positive action that will propel you forward versus something that will keep holding you back. Don’t give up on your dreams or your goals — make a promise to keep working hard and be open to new opportunities along the way.

Dream bigger

Seriously, raise the stakes higher. Don’t let a setback make you think small. Use the insights you’ve gained to think about what you’d want to achieve. There are a million opportunities out there. Maintaining a positive mindset and the determination to go after what you want will ultimately get you where you want to be.

Remember you’re still a badass

Whatever went wrong won’t define you forever. Everyone experiences setbacks. Instead of comparing yourself directly to others, take time to reflect on what you’ve accomplished and what you’ve learned from the tough times as well. These experiences, even the bad ones, are the building blocks that you will use to carve out your career path as you continue to move forward. And you will move forward — it just may not be at the same pace or in the same manner as someone else.

Career setbacks are horrible and no one wants to fail, but your career won’t always follow a linear trajectory. Bumps in the road, setbacks, dips, curveballs and acceleration are all part of the course. The one thing you can do regardless is believe in yourself, and if you can do that, you’ll find a way to ultimately move forward.

Do You Know What You're Worth?

Tell Us What You Think

Have you rebounded from a career setback? We want to hear from you. Tell us about your experience in the comments or join the conversation on Twitter.

Octavia Goredema
Read more from Octavia

Leave a Reply

Notify of
What Am I Worth?

What your skills are worth in the job market is constantly changing.