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Coping with disappointments in your career

Disappointments and losses happen on the job.  It could be a promotion you didn’t get, the raise or bonus that was not as expected, losing an important sale,  a client terminating the relationship. There are other negative things that can happen. 

It may seem that nothing good can come from these losses but often something good does comes from it. The trauma of being fired from a job may at first be devastating. Then you find another job that is better and a bad situation turns into something good. 

As a manager you may be disappointed in a disgruntled or low-performing employee until you counsel with him/her and find out what the issues are. The result turns out to be consideration for a different position and the employee flourishes  and is happy. 

Whether you are the CEO or an entry level employee, being passed over hurts. You can determine to turn the loss into an opportunity. 

Following are some suggestions for dealing with disappointments and/or loss.

1. Don’t be overly critical of yourself. Don’t let the failures or disappointments become all-encompassing. Analyze the situation and make plans to improve.

2. Remind yourself that this is only a set back, not the end of the world. As time passes the impact will decrease.

3. Set new goals. Focusing on a new project will help you move forward and prepare for the next opportunity. 

4. Pay attention to the impact on yourself and others. Don’t deny, rationalize or minimize it. Don’t drown in your sorrow but get involved in something positive. 

5. Put it behind you. Push back any thoughts of the impulse to fight back or feelings of hurt and anger. Avoid wallowing in the setback.

6. Avoid being resentful of others who receive a promotion,  get selected for a new project or are recognized in some way.  Don’t be jealous or resentful but instead congratulate them. This may be hard to do but it is something that will show your maturity and team spirit.

7. Ask for help. You can’t be the best at everything. Recognize and play on your strengths. Cooperate with other team members who have expertise and you will complement each other.

Disappointments and losses are painful. Leaders can set the example in the way they handle failures.  They can be turned  into stepping stones for future success. What may appear as a dead end can become a new pathway to greater success and happiness.

Becky Vaughn-Furlow retired from Trustmark Bank as executive vice president and human resources director. She can be contacted by emailing bvaughnfurlow@gmail.com.