Career Mistakes: Learning To Let Go

Are past career decisions still haunting you?

I clearly remember the level of frustration and despair in client’s voice over old career decisions that still haunted her years later.

Whether its accepting a lower-paying position, making a sudden career change or transitioning to a new industry, we can all look back with regret over some career choices.

The challenge is learning how to “shake” it off, find the hidden gems in those learning experiences and re-focus your energies on activities for optimal career growth. Sounds logical and practical, but it’s a lot harder to execute in reality.

However, instead of complaining and throwing in the towel, consider these career rebounding techniques to get back on track:

1) Release Yourself Emotionally

Take a deep breath and begin to forgive yourself. For more than a decade of providing executive career services, I have not met any client with a perfect career background, some with unique career challenges and non-traditional career paths, none with a perfect score.

Move past the regrets and embrace a more positive mindset before making critical career decisions; one approach is to minimize that “hard-to-explain” job content to one or two bullets your executive resume and other career marketing documents.

2) Be In The Storm And Shine Anyway

Many executives who are stuck in unfulfilling job situations feel trapped in this economy as new, higher-paying jobs are hard to find and very competitive among candidates. Is your current position really a total loss?

  • explore your options for getting re-assigned to more challenging roles
  • evaluate your career growth to date and determine where your are in terms of your career goals
  • compete for internal leadership opportunities even if it is in a different function
  • make an overall commitment to do and give your very best until you can change jobs

Don’t underestimate how a powerful testimony or referral can support you when it’s time to get back on your feet.

3) Advance Your Professional Training

Is there a new certification or degree program that you want to complete, but never had the time? Keep yourself challenged and motivated by enrolling in evening classes or online programs. Leverage this time and take full advantage of the opportunity to enhance your competencies and marketability.

4) Look For Leadership Opportunities

Anticipate your career story and start building your selling points – seek out leadership roles within your community, professional/local associations and even alumni groups. Be proactive in filling the “gap” in your career path because once you start an aggressive job search, you will need strong achievements and S.T.A.R. stories to overcome your career shortcomings.

5) Develop A Focused But Aggressive Job Search

If your work situation feels too unbearable, focus your energies and efforts on landing a better position if it’s possible. Get your executive resume updated and execute a highly focused and strategic job search; keep in mind that career glitches and hiccups make challenge you along the way, so your efforts have to be consistent, time and time again.

Are you ready to let go?