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

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