Moving on After a Career Setback

Moving on After a Career Setback

January 28, 2021

Moving on after a career setback or mistake is a necessary skill to learn in today’s workplace. The more quickly you can bounce back and figuratively get back on the saddle, the better. Below we outline a couple of skills and mentalities to adopt to help you through this process.

Accept that mistakes happen, and take the good with the bad

The first step to moving on is accepting the situation and forgiving yourself. Many people fall into the pattern of beating themselves up after a mistake or setback; instead of blaming and judging yourself, shift your mindset and accept that mistakes are part of the process for growth. It can be helpful to think of such sayings as, “mistakes are the steppingstones to wisdom” when you’ve hit a bump in the road. Failure is an opportunity to learn something new, and if you truly learn from your mistakes you will likely not  continue to make them.

Another way to think about this is through the work of Brené Brown. Brené is a professor, lecturer, and author whose work centers around shame and vulnerability. In her Netflix special she spoke about how creating a work culture that accepts and encourages mistakes is necessary for growth, creativity and innovation:

“When we build cultures at work where there is zero tolerance for vulnerability, where perfectionism and armor are rewarded and necessary, you can’t have these conversations,” she said. “If you’re not willing to fail, you can’t innovate. If you’re not willing to build a vulnerable culture, you can’t create.”

Listen and learn from constructive feedback

Most people don’t like negative feedback and find it difficult to hear any type of criticism. These individuals have a tendency to take the criticism personally and it can stifle their creativity or willingness to take chances. However if you are always chasing positive feedback, and aren’t open to hearing criticism, you can remain stagnant in your personal development. Having difficult conversations at work is critical for growth and success. While harsh criticism and unjustified anger towards you is not ok in the workplace, having conversations about what you can do to improve and grow is essential and beneficial. Instead of fearing negative feedback, seek out those conversations and ask what you can do to improve.

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