When Your Career Takes an Unexpected Turn

What to do when your career hits a bump in the road

Your career could be moving along wonderfully until something happens—and then it’s not.

You could be unexpectedly laid off like thousands of employees at Twitter, Amazon, and Salesforce, along with employees at many other large and small companies.

Your family circumstances could change, making it difficult or even impossible to keep your current job. Or your gut could simply (or complicatedly) be telling you that you don’t want to do this anymore.

Regardless of the circumstances, it can suck. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t turn things around and maybe end up doing something new and better.

Barnes and Noble, Turnarounds, and Love

My friend and colleague, Jen Hubley Luckwaldt, shared a timely and wonderful article with me. I’ve read Ted Gioia’s article “What Can We Learn from Barnes & Noble's Surprising Turnaround?” several times because the message of how important love is to success kept drawing me back in. I think that has sometimes been lost when we look at what’s been happening with business and careers. The people part seems to have gone by the wayside, at least for some companies. This is the part that hit home the most:

“Of course, there’s a lesson here. And it’s not just for books. You could also apply it to music, newspapers, films, and a host of other media. But I almost hate to say it, because the lesson is so simple. If you want to sell music, you must love those songs. If you want to succeed in journalism, you must love those newspapers. If you want to succeed in movies, you must love the cinema.”

Maybe we can’t always do exactly what we want, but if we do it with as much love as we can share, I think it ups our chances of success.

Go Back To the Beginning

On a related note to love, doing what you love is especially important when you’re just starting your career. As your career moves up or along the ladder and life gets in the way, that can get left along the wayside.

When you’re at a point where you need to reboot or reinvent your career, it can be helpful to go back to the beginning and remember who you were when you first started out. Who that person was, and their goals, can help give you insight into what to do next.

20 Things To Do When You Lose Your Job

The practical things are high on the list of what’s important when you’ve lost your job, or you’re about to move on. The quicker you get a job search up and running, the faster you’ll be thinking about your new job instead of the one you lost. Here are 20 things you need to do when you lose your job.

When You’re Ready To Resign

Are you ready to quit your job? Regardless of why you’re thinking of moving on, it pays to plan your departure. Quitting your job the right way can help ease your transition, whether you’re moving on to your dream job, going back to school, or taking some time out of the workforce.

Here’s how to gracefully resign from your job, along with some sample resignation letters and email messages to send to your soon-to-be former employer.

When You Don’t Know What You Don’t Want To Do Next

When you’re not sure what you want to do in the next phase of your career, review advice on how career assessments can help guide your career choices, what the assessments will evaluate, and try free career tests that you can use to learn about jobs that are a good match for your interests and skills.

When you need more help, it can make sense to consider using a career coach to help you explore job options, figure out the skills you need to get hired, and plan a successful job search strategy. If you’re a college student or graduate, check with your career services office. Many offer lifetime services to alumni for free. You can also hire a career coach or counselor to assist. Here’s how to find and select the best career coach.

Do You Need Career Advice?

Do you have a question? Need job search or career assistance? Not sure how to get where you want your career to go? Join our Facebook Career Connections Group for help and advice, and follow Alison on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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