Everyone has a bad day once In a while, but a job or career that goes off the rails is a different problem. No matter what the cause, a job or career mistake can usually be corrected with the right approach. It takes some thought, determination and the right attitude to come out ahead.
My experience is that job derailments come from an expectation that you, your boss or the organization has, that fails to materialize. This could be a promised position not received, objectives not met, a difference of opinion about performance, a job description that turns out to be misleading, or a boss that takes your achievements and passes the failures down to you.
The problem isn’t the issue, but what you do about it? I see seven steps:
- Focus on the future, not the past– The worst thing you can do is obsess over the past. What’s done is done, but your action steps will determine your career outcome. The longer it takes you to straighten out your attitude, the more opportunities that will you pass by. Hiring managers can sniff out anger. Put your best face on with a positive outlook.
- Continue to perform at your best – Don’t let your disappointment affect your performance.If your performance slumps, then your current job will be at stake. Use your job’s high performance to be your launching pad to a new and better job somewhere else.
- Assess your most marketable skills and experiences– High performers with skills and experience in areas that other companies want is your path to success. What are hiring managers looking for in a candidate? If you can increase revenue or reduce cost you have a special talent that others want.
- Define your achievements by measurable results– Having skills / experience is only half of the equation. You must be able to quantify your contributions. Anyone can say, “I am good at what I do”. But you should say, “I increased productivity or reduced cost by X%”.
- Identify where your talents are most valued– Organizations going through rough times, or wanting to improve profits, or grow a new business are looking for employees who can increase productivity, decrease costs or improve margins.That’s your target.
- Develop a strategy to find your next position– Most jobs are found through people who know you and can sing your praises to others. They know where the job openings are, the companies that are hiring, or can refer you others who can introduce you in.
- Execute your plan – Once you have the right attitude, assessed your marketability, defined your measurable results, developed your strategies and targeted your opportunities, you are ready to make it happen.Determination and faith in your abilities will see you through.
Be your own best supporter. No one can push you into success. It comes from within.
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