Aside from serving as a major source of income, work is also a person’s way of life and a source of pride. This explains why experiencing a career crisis like unemployment may bring shame to some people.
There are several scenarios that can be considered career-related crises, including corporate downsizing, involuntary separation from work, corporate politics, and getting burned out. No matter what the reason, the fact remains that bouncing back from one is challenging, to say the least.
Still, it is important that you don’t lose hope as every problem presents an opportunity for change. If you’re looking to learn how to ‘regain your fierce’ in your professional life, fret not, for you’re on the right track. There are ways by which you can regain your footing, no matter how devastating the crisis may be.
Step #1: Allow Some Room to Heal
Losing a job or experiencing any other work-related crisis can be as painful as losing a loved one, especially if you have invested a significant amount of time, effort, and money into it. This is the reason why, in order to fully recover from the loss, you need to allow yourself room to heal.
The process of recovery should not be rushed. This means that you should go through the natural grieving process and not engage in ‘rebound.’ This is because there’s a good chance that it would only lead to the flashback effect – a scenario when you try to reach back and try to relive the ‘good old days,’ which can be counterproductive for your career.
Step #2: Decide Whether to Fight or Take Flight
After you determine that you’re ready to move on, it is time for you to decide which path you must take – fight or flight. This concept is a matter of choosing between confronting the situation which led to the career crisis or putting it all behind you as fast as possible.
Fighting back can become an expensive, exhausting, and embarrassing quest to regain one’s pride. On the other hand, moving on as quickly as you can is daunting in the beginning but may prove to be an exciting new chapter in your life.
If you’re still unsure which path to choose, consider the consequences of your actions. In most cases, the latter is the best option, especially for those who have worked in a C-level post and wish to keep their reputation intact.
Step #3: Plan What to Do Next
Once you’ve decided on a path, it is time to create a plan. Start by laying out a strategy for your next career move. Remember to identify potential pitfalls in your plan and prepare a backup should things go south.
Of course, it is virtually impossible to accurately predict what will happen, so make sure to keep your head clear and your options open. You have several options which range from participating in professional development workshops to taking on an apprenticeship. The possibilities are endless, so be sure to keep an open mind.
Step #4: Focus and Invest in Yourself
Experiencing crises can leave a person anxious. While this is natural, it is important that you don’t let it drive you to make counterproductive decisions that may ruin your chances of bouncing back.
Instead of thinking of the past, redirect your focus to yourself and how you can move on. Staying calm amidst a crisis can help you think clearly. It will also help you assess the state you’re in after the crisis and determine what to do next.
Improve Your Self-Awareness
Ascertaining that you are fully aware of your strengths and faults is imperative after losing a job. While corporate politics and other things out of your control may have caused the situation, it is important that you also assess whether you – your performance, attitude, and work ethic – played a role in what happened.
Determining your strengths and weaknesses is a good start. Once you know what you have and how you used it previously, you should be able to determine how to respond to challenges brought about by the crisis.
For example, if your strengths and skills were not used enough in your previous job, you can try to seek a new one where you can maximize and develop them further. If you feel like your weaknesses led to you getting fired, it may be high time that you deal with them by improving your skill set.
Enhance Your Skill Set
Deciding that you need a better set of skills or require an enhancement of existing ones means you must participate in career enhancement training or take on an entirely new course. Whichever path you choose, make sure that it is in line with the career goal you are pursuing.
The objective is to add more credentials under your belt. Do things that will make you feel good about your professional prowess. This will allow you to heal and transform from the past career disaster you experienced, and look forward to what lies ahead.
Regain Your Career Mojo
Bouncing back and regaining your mojo after experiencing a career crisis can be challenging in the beginning. But, with the right strategy and support, you can not only bounce back but also establish an entirely new career path.
Who knows? Maybe the crisis was a blessing in disguise that will actually lead you to your success.
Salma El-Shurafa is an experienced Executive Coach and founder of The Pathway Project. She is a Professional Certified Coach by the International Coaching Federation (ICF), a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach from The Coaches Training Institute (CTI) and a graduate of CTI’s Co-Active Leadership program.