There are always going to be points in our careers where, regardless how hard we try, how much we commit, and how successful we feel, things just do not progress at the pace or in the direction we are hoping. Most of these times we start to feel lost, disengaged and unsure about who we are and where our career may be headed. The hardest part is knowing the difference between this just being a need for patience, or a need to look further at other options to your career. Professionally, as career coaches we provide many individuals with guidance on this exact situation. And the emotional implications, feelings of dismay and questions around their implications are all evident even for the most senior and experienced business professional. So how do you manage career disappointment?
- Put it in to perspective: Understand in detail the reason behind the disappointment. Is it a decision that is going to have immediate impact, become a long term stale mate in your career, or is it just a small hurdle that requires you to have a small amount of patience?
- Talk to your managers or colleagues. Holding in frustrations such as this can result in the development of negative emotions towards your management team, colleagues and your organisation. By talking about the situation with those that can be or are involved in the situation will allow you to control your emotions and ensure that you do not “build a mountain out of a mole hill”.
- Look at alternatives. We are 100% responsible for our own careers, for this reason it is our own responsibility to control what may happen and this means that we always need to be aware of alternatives. Map out what these alternatives will be, the implications, benefits and challenges and how this may assist you in reaching your career goals sooner or will it delay things longer?
- Remove the emotion. As hard as it is, a clear career decision can only be made when the emotion is removed from the situation. Never assume that business decisions are made because of “you” rather understand that business is business, and hopefully the decisions that are being made will result in an even stronger business operation.
- Develop your network. Developing your network is key to any career growth opportunity and to all of your success. By developing your network during this time, you can both further enhance your knowledge, your career prospects as well as understand business operations through the eyes of other professionals that may have ‘been there, done that’.
Everyone will have a point of disappointment in there career. It is however how it is managed that will result in the disappointment being used to develop as a professional or disengage as an employee. Remember, getting support for issues that are impacting you, both in your career is always important. There is always someone to talk to that can provide you assistance during these times and it is important to work with professionals for support and a deeper understanding of managing challenging times. Rebecca Fraser is an Australian Career Coach, Speaker and Author. She is passionate about helping individuals through the job search whilst also supporting organisations in performance management, employee career development, talent management and restructuring. She is the Vice President of the Victorian Chapter of the Career Development Association of Australia and is a recognised advocate for professionalism in the industry.