How to Bounce Back After a Career Setback

It’s frustrating when friends and family members use clichés after you suffer a career setback. You don’t want to hear that another door will open when one closes when you are panicking about losing a job or failing to get a promotion. As time passes and you gain some clarity, you may realize that launching your own business is exactly how to bounce back. You also may realize it’s the best decision you’ve ever made. The following tips will help you get started.

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  1. Take Some Time to Think
When you’re in the throes of ambition and a crazy work schedule, especially if you balance work with family, you focus so much on your career and climbing the ladder that you don’t take time to think about your personal goals and whether the rat race is worth it. Only when the ladder gets pulled out from under you do you have time to stop and think about what you are trying to do and why. Getting ahead for the sake of getting ahead isn’t the best way to live. Use this time to determine why you had your setback.
Get honest feedback from your company and determine whether it aligns with your goals. Many people realize that the company they worked so hard for didn’t value their work or align with their philosophy, anyway. One Harvard Business Review article encourages you to actively determine what went wrong, how you contributed to your setback, whether you evaluated the situation correctly and reacted appropriately, and what you would do differently if you could. After doing some soul-searching and facing some painful truths, you may realize that your career path wasn’t leading you where you wanted to go.
  1. Set New Goals
After you know what went wrong and accept it, set new goals. If you had the chance to do it all over again, would you? You may surprise yourself and admit that your heart wasn’t in it in the first place. Many people who suffer a career setback go in a completely new direction
Reflect and be honest with yourself and then set specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that will motivate you to go in that new direction. Focus on the big picture and what will make you happy. Break your goals into smaller, more manageable targets that lead to your ultimate goal.
  1. Start a Business That Makes You Happy
For many people, a career setback helps them realize that they were not doing work that was fulfilling. They see it as an opportunity to pursue a hobby or a passion that they otherwise would not have had the courage to turn into a career. For example, if you love animals, you may want to start a dog-walking business. You will get to set your own hours, spend time outside, and get to know lots of dogs and their owners in your community.
Other hobbies that have the potential to become careers include cooking and baking to start your own catering business, restaurant, or bakery; writing to become a freelance writer; or painting or drawing to sell your works on Etsy or eBay. The Muse offers more tips and strategies for turning your hobby into your career.
  1. Jump Into the Sharing Economy
If you need some more time to get your ducks in a row to turn your hobby into a career, jump into the sharing economy to supplement your income while you save to start your own business. For example, people in nearly every city are becoming Uber or Lyft drivers. If you love kids, become a sitter with UrbanSitter. The possibilities are nearly endless with the sharing economy, as you can share everything from your clothes, to your house, to your knowledge and expertise.
After you’ve come to terms with your career setback, take some time to think about what you want and set new goals. Then, start a new business rooted in your hobbies to make yourself happy. Jump into the sharing economy in the meantime to make some extra cash to fund your business.

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