November 18, 2013

Bouncing Back from Common Career Obstacles

strong-willed man pulling of a ropeMistakes made in your professional life can be difficult to overcome and impossible to erase. But the more adaptive you are given the circumstances, the better your can act immediately to make the best of the situation. The following are several common setbacks experienced in the workplace and the best way to take advantage of the aftermath.

1. Facing your life after being fired from your job, especially one that you loved, is devastating. You’ve lost your main source of income and had to endure the humiliation of being told to pack up and leave. Bitter feelings will inevitably arise as you struggle to find your next job and recover from the shock of being newly unemployed. But, just because you are feeling cynical, and perhaps angry, doesn’t mean you have to act that way. Losing your job can be turned into an opportunity for growth by considering options such as volunteering and freelancing. Many companies, especially non-profits, offer specialized positions to people willing to work for no pay. And while you are still left looking for a means of financial support, taking on an impressive volunteer position can give you a huge credibility boost and lead to lucrative freelancing opportunities.

2. All right, so maybe you haven’t been outright fired but perhaps simply demoted to a lower paying, less challenging position. Since you are still required to commit to work a full-work week, you are unable to offer your skills in a voluntary capacity or pursue freelancing opportunities. So how can you rebound from such a setback? It is probably true that your boss is not happy at the situation and will work to help you in any way possible. So take advantage of the opportunity and push for the perks you couldn’t have in your previous position. For instance, agree to accept the demotion but only if you are allowed to work a more flexible schedule allowing you to pursue other opportunities elsewhere (e.g. freelancing).

3. Once you have maxed out learning from your current position, it’s time to move up the ladder. But what if your company doesn’t have room to let you grow? Take the initiative and help train interns or new employees, practice using a new tool or learn a new skill in your off time, and take advantage of any company-sponsored training courses that you previously lack the time to attend. Once a new opportunity for growth arises, you will be in a better position to capitalize on it to expand your responsibilities.

4. Even if your job hasn’t stagnated, perhaps you’ve simply become bored. According to a Gallup poll, almost 75 percent of American workers are either not engaged or actively disengaged in their jobs. Before you start to do anything with the situation, ensure that you have been doing amazing work despite your lack of motivation. Approach your boss, show off your impressive work, and let him or her know that if your boredom cannot be assuaged you will no longer be able to perform at previous levels of productivity. Relate your productivity to a loss in company revenue or an increase in company expenses. It is possible your boss may be willing to dish out some funds to help you increase your productivity (like sending you to a conference) while enhancing interest in your job.


Read more in Career Help

Joshua Bjerke, from Savannah, Georgia, focuses on articles involving the labor force, economy, and HR topics including new technology and workplace news. Joshua has a B.A. in Political Science with a Minor in International Studies and is currently pursuing his M.A. in International Security.