Whether it’s a layoff, furlough, request for you to step down or outright firing, job setbacks can crush your confidence and sense of direction. You get to decide whether the shock of the curveball will leave you stuck or if you will push forward. Setbacks can be a time to reconsider and reframe your career to more authentically align with your inner self and even reach greater heights of success. There are ways to turn a job setback into a career that better aligns with your skills and goals. 

Reassess Your Career Goals 

When you start out early in your career, your goals look like a textbook – traditional, linear and measured. However, as you go along in your career and grow, these goals will inevitably shift to match the person you are now. 

Moreover, how you define success will also shift. As a younger person you might have deemed success as climbing the corporate ladder or making a certain dollar amount. Present-day you might deem success as the amount of time at a company or the impact of your work. 

Prioritize What You Need to Succeed 

During a career setback, take time to reassess what is necessary for you to succeed in the workplace. Perhaps, you appreciate frequent feedback and communication of clear goals. Perhaps, you prefer working independently rather than in conjunction with a team. 

Discerning and clarifying your needs will guide you in the job process and will make turning down opportunities that don’t align with your needs much easier. Take time to journal and jot down your needs as a sort of North Star to keep going back to in your job selection process. 

Stay Open for Unconventional Opportunities 

Utilize the time of an “in between” season in your career to lean into your network. Share what you have been doing, your skill set and level of experience with your network. This might open doors for opportunities within your industry or across other industries. Instead of climbing the linear career ladder, be open to stepping out of your comfort zone and taking the risk of new and unconventional opportunities. 

Develop a Resilient Mindset

During a career setback, there’s ample time to build new skills and learn more about your particular passion or industry of interest. Take time to find resources or leaders in your field to build your knowledge and skill set. 

Whether you sign up for a class, gain an additional certificate or degree or engage with online resources, building a growth mindset will help you progress professional and personally, but it will also benefit you in life’s future ups and downs.