Career progression in the public, as well as in the private sector is often filled with ups and downs. Everything seems exciting when one is initially hired into a new agency or when a new role is taken. Thoughts of how one can contribute come to mind, as well as minor concerns about possible challenges that lie ahead. However, a new position that in the beginning seems, so promising and fulfilling may eventually appear to stagnate your professional growth and limit your ability to serve in ways you believe you are capable. Or perhaps a supervisor you once befriended has somehow broken trust with you? Or maybe your present difficulties at work are solely due to your own decisions and actions and you are fully aware this is indeed the case? Or perhaps, due to a complex set of circumstances you now find yourself in a mere derivative or tangential field rather than the one you envisioned or that you started out in and you don't find this new field quite as meaningful to you? So, what do you do when you've fallen in your career?
Recently, I observed a morning runner take a spill in my neighborhood. They got up and started walking. Hopefully, they were OK, but it reminded me of the 2012 Summer Olympic games when Morgan Uceny fell during the 1,500 meter finals. As I watched her I remember thinking "hurry up and get up!" Common sense told me it would be highly unlikely that she could win at that point, but hope told me that perhaps if she got up quickly enough, she might still finish respectfully. However, what Ms. Uceny did instead was slap the track in tears and frustration and she never finished the race - bless her heart. So, it can be in one's career.
Falling in one's career is not an experience that most people cherish. However, in the tenuous economy that we now live in with reduced budgets, a growing need to do more with less, and ever increasing levels of expectations, such falls may be more common today than in times past. How one copes with a fall in their career, both emotionally and behaviorally, can make a big difference in how things eventually shape up. Here's a few suggestions (though not exhaustive):
Hopefully, you will never fall in your career, but if you do - stay in the race!
Great advice, Don. Learn something. Get perspective. Keep on moving.
Reminds me of this song :-)
LOL - this is on point!
As one who has been there (twice!), this advice is right on target. In both of my cases, they were higher leadership positions and "challenging the process" was the source of concern at a higher political level. I chose to take the higher road, stay positive and maximize my new position and contributions to my organization. As a result, I earned trust and respect throughout my agency and from external stakeholders that continues to this day. I also took the time to reflect honestly about why this happened, what part of it I "owned", and made adjustments. Not to say I am responsible for all--insecurity can cause others to act badly. Although difficult, I also am very open to others about what happened and why to encourage others to "stay positive".
Appreciate your comment - Cathy
Your article is truly a gift! It came at the right time and I am very appreciative. Thank you!
My pleasure - Sharon. I'm glad it could be of help ...
Victoria - great analogy!