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How to Deal with Career and Employment Setbacks - The Best Way to Handle Disappointments at Work

Updated on June 18, 2012
jpcmc profile image

I'm a dad, husband, and Christian first. The rest are just life's add-ons: an educator, administrator, learner, & development professional.


A friend of mine recently had to let go of several employees. Although this was part of her job, it does not make it any easy. This made me think about the reality of employment and job security of employees everywhere.

The truth is no one is indispensable in any company. Even if you can contribute a lot to the organization, there are no 100% guarantees. This is the reality that every employee has to face. Career setbacks are part of jobs whether we like it or not. Some are just lucky enough not to experience this (if there is anyone lucky enough). But for those who do, it can be truly frustrating to say the least.

Career setbacks can include not being given an expected promotion, a well-deserved raise, a demotion or much worse, being let go. Of course there are other instances. But suffice to say, it's something that can derail anyone's plans in a huge way. In such cases, how do you deal with the employment setback?

Keep you cool

The initial shock can devastate anyone. As much as you want to decapitate your boss, you need to fight the urge. No good will come out from lashing out at everyone at the office. Take the news like a professional and avoid making any rash actions. Simply acknowledge that fact that a career setback has occurred. Accepting is a powerful tool to help you move on and become proactive.

Unload the pressure

Talking to someone is a healthy way to unload the pressure. Family and friends are good support groups to vent out bottled up emotions. Sometimes they can even help you out unlock what happened and offer suggestions. In some cases, you might want to talk to a professional especially if it is really bogging you down emotionally. Once it affects your work and your daily life, then you do need to get professional help.

Tracing the cause

One productive way to handle professional setbacks is to find the root cause of the problem. Try to be objective when you look at your work performance, office relationships and other key factors. Review your key results areas and your key performance indicators; go over your outputs and contributions; take a look at your job evaluation. Scrutinize your work performance and find areas where you can improve.

Finding what happened does not mean trying to find faults in the decision of the company. Rather, it is finding ways to improve yourself so that employment opportunities will not pass you by again.

Reassess your goals

Every employee has a goal in mind. Whether it’s getting ahead in the office or financial security you need to see where you currently stand. Ask yourself how this set back affects your career goals. More importantly decide how you intend to achieve these goals in light of this new circumstance. Remember that any career move is life changing (sometimes for the better, sometimes for worse) so set your goals properly.


There are practically 2 choices that you can consider. First, continue working with the company and simply focus on the next opportunity that may come along. Second, move to another company and start over again. But remember that building a career from scarp can be difficult.

Regardless of what you choose to do, you need to know how to get confidence in spite of this set back. Moreover, learning how to make a career with such hurdles will improve the way you approach work and

Indeed jobs offer a certain level of employment security, but it is by no means a guarantee. In addition, your career goals and employment plans may not be the same as that of your company. So when things go south, remember to deal with the situation with a clear and rational mind. The opportunity may have passed you by, but you still have control over your life.

Motivation tips from truthfornow

Keeping Your Motivation

Setbacks do happen and keeping your motivation up is imperative. The hubber truthfornow clearly shows how you can do this.

Other Important Information

The Art of Looking Busy – Improving Corporate Culture and Performance

Discover the art of looking busy – this is a not so new way employees spend most of their time in the office. The theme of many organizational development courses today falls on office relationship and communication. They are indeed very important to any organization. But this time we take a look at a totally unique corporate culture. In fact, this is one topic that is rarely discussed and more often set aside with the hopes of fixing itself. Here’s the reality – it won’t.

How To Harness The Power of Listening

Many misinterpret communication as merely talking. When we fail to listen, we fail to communicate. Here's how listening can be utilized in a more productive way.

The importance of Flexibility in Planning

Have you ever had a plan where every detail worked out flawlessly? Chances are there were tweaks that needed to be done. Discover how important flexibility is in implementing a successful plan.

Excellent Teams Help Each Other Grow

Every team member looks to the team leader, manager or supervisor when it comes to developing each member's potential. But creating a the right culture, mindset and even skills is a shared responsibility of each member. Learn how important it is to help each other grow.

Accountability: The Art of Owning the Task

Who owns the task in your team? Unless every person owns up to the responsibility, tasks will be done half-heartedly. As such, the productivity of an organization is determined in part by the level of accountability that each individual shows.


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    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi gepeTooRs,

      I apologize for the very late reply. Unfortunately some of my articles have been plagiarized and I am still working on the DMCA complains and take down notices. Thanks for book marking.

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Hi there! I could have sworn IÕve been to your blog before but after browsing through a few of the articles I realized itÕs new to me. Anyhow, IÕm certainly delighted I stumbled upon it and IÕll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      8 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello LixAllellGari,

      We will always find hurdles. We must face them and deal with them professionally.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My partner and i employed to get on top of living nevertheless these days We've accumulated some sort of opposition.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      9 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Thanks for dropping by FullOfLoveSites.

    • FullOfLoveSites profile image


      9 years ago from United States

      Nice article...

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      9 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello Brinafr3sh. Thanks for reading the hub. Moving on after any employment setbacks is very important. In stead of dwelling in the what ifs, it pays to actually work on your action plan.

    • Brinafr3sh profile image


      9 years ago from West Coast, United States

      Hi Jpcmc, this is a good article. I agree people have to go for alternative jobs, especially after being lay off from their occupation. Thanks

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      9 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there primpo, you're right negative will only result in negative. And yes, exercise does lots of wonder.

      Unfortunately many still has to develop a more productive attitude especially when faced with employment setbacks. Why not? If you're working your head off without being noticed then it's just unfair. Moreover, getting laid off is always seen as unfair by the person losing the job. Being proactive and productive with what to do next is more important to get you back on track.

    • primpo profile image


      9 years ago from Howell, New Jersey

      I like this hub alot. Taking like a professional is a productive way of going on and not letting it get you bogged down emotionally. It's almost the same concept I use with not engaging in negative behavior. It means that no matter what happens to you at any given time, you will not react in a negative way. Negative only gets negative. So pro active like you say, and if you don't know what that is, ask for help. maybe take a day and sleep it off first and then take steps, one by one. Exercise to keep the depression from getting to you and make yourself smile. Believe me it really does work. I've been using this same technique and for some reason it is not as bad as I would of imagined it. Positive actions reflect positive results...

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      9 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      HI Sinea Pies, Seeing a good employee go is something unthinkable. It becomes worse if it's your friend. I do hope your friend is doing well.

      Hello prasetio30. I'm glad to have given you new information.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      9 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hello puddingicecream, goals do make a difference. Without it it's just difficult to say where you're heading. BTW, nice user name. Makes me want to eat. :)

    • prasetio30 profile image


      9 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Valuable information. I learn much from you. Thank you so much for let me know about this topic. Cheers...


    • Sinea Pies profile image

      Sinea Pies 

      9 years ago from Northeastern United States

      Very good hub. A dear friend was just let go in her job (no replacement...they are downsizing). She is such a great employee and it is hard to see this happen.

    • puddingicecream profile image


      9 years ago from United States

      Reassessing your goals is definitely important. It keeps you grounded, and reminds you of your priorities. Thanks for sharing this. Voted up for useful.

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      9 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      you can always ask a raise from the boss any time you want as well! LOL

      Thanks for clicking vote up and useful SallyTX.

    • SallyTX profile image

      Sally Branche 

      9 years ago from Only In Texas!

      I have found the best thing to do is work for myself. It doesn't pay much, but at least I know the person in charge is competent! ;D Voted up and useful!

    • jpcmc profile imageAUTHOR

      JP Carlos 

      9 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      Hi there superherosales. In spite the dismal news, people still have the option whether to be productive or not. It's what we do after that makes the difference between success and continuous slump.

      Hello cardisa. Many people simply blame their bosses and their company because of what happened to them. The problem lies with the lack of accountability in one's own actions (or inaction). Pinpointing the cause will help the person become better.

      thanks for reading my hub superherosales and cardisa.

    • Cardisa profile image

      Carolee Samuda 

      9 years ago from Jamaica

      Hi Jpcmc,

      This is very interesting hub. You have given some very useful tips on how to deal with being let go.

      A few years ago I was Gym Manager and had an employee who kept stealing. Had to let him go after a few warnings, he threatened me and had to be warned by higher authorities.

      In my experience, not sure if it has anything to do with culture, but it is always the ones who give trouble at work, do a poor job that seem most angry for being fired.

      I particularly like the tip about tracing the cause. If you are professional enough fixing the cause will definitely see improvement in the future.


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