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Bouncing back from career setbacks in 2023

Throughout their lifetime, the average employee will take 94 days off sick, be late 141 times, and make an estimated 29,328 cups of tea. That is a lot of tea. But also a lot of time at work. In fact, estimates reveal that the average person will spend 90,000 hours at work.

It is hardly surprising that during this time you will face a setback or two in your career. After all, the same survey also found that 46% will quit and retrain completely after deciding their career isn't for them.

During an average working career, it is also likely you will rack up 9,024 hours of unpaid overtime and work for six different employers. At least these are figures from a 2015 poll commissioned by the AAT (Association of Accounting Technicians).

Our professional lives see many ups and downs as we move up the ladder, deal with new challenges, or change jobs. The traditional 'job for life' is a thing of the past.

How do you bounce back from an almost inevitable career setback? Whether it is redundancy, restructuring, or missing out on a promotion, here's our advice.

Bouncing back from redundancy

Being laid off is not a reflection of your skill set; it’s a reflection of a company’s lack of planning or its change in business strategy. Redundancy can be a time to think about your future, so take stock of your skills and experience. You have skills, knowledge, and experience. You can find a new job or change careers.

Career coaches advise that the first step is to take time to process the news, and focus on the things you can control. On LinkedIn, professionals often share their experiences, how they came back from redundancy, and advice.

Losing a job is never easy. It is likely to present people with internal and external challenges. If you’re established in your career, today’s workplace might look very different from when 40- to 50-year-olds were entering the workplace. Advancements in tech mean that roles have evolved. This means that an element of upskilling might be needed. Online training enables you to complete training from home.

Bouncing back from a restructure

Restructuring does not necessarily result in dismissals; it can involve adding new tasks to the existing employees' responsibilities. A company restructure enables you to explore  different opportunities and ask yourself what you want to change in your career.

You could take time to make yourself stand out in the job market by focusing on continuous professional development (CPD). You can take a range of online courses or distance MBAs, as well as webinars and conferences, from the comfort of your own home.

While a restructure takes place, it's useful to accept things you can’t control and focus on things you can. Update your CV or reach out to old contacts.

Bouncing back from a missed promotion

It is difficult to handle a situation where you apply for an internal promotion but don’t land the role. Being passed over for a promotion—especially when you feel like you deserve it or if someone less qualified receives one instead—can be demotivating. The reason you weren't promoted may not be about you. Other factors often impact whether an employee gets a promotion.

  • Ask the hiring manager for feedback
  • Stay professional
  • Plan your career strategy
  • Consider whether it's time to move on
  • Talk to Meraki Talent. Weekly, we help skilled professionals find new positions.

Before you decide to stay or quit, take the time to learn about the process and the decision. Consider whether there will be future opportunities for advancement with your employer. If there is, establish a time frame.

The scene today

In a tough economic environment, layoffs are common. The recession has seen tech companies such as Meta, Twitter, Microsoft and Amazon cut jobs. With each recession, new companies are started. Companies that do not have enough work for specialists may hire contract workers.

The recent wave of job losses has as much to do with seizing the opportunity for a reshuffle as it has to do with the economy. According to ONS data, 1.2% of ‘information and communication’ companies plan to make their workforce redundant over the next three months. This is lower than the average across all businesses (1.5%), suggesting that the recent layoffs are not indicative of the situation in the wider industry.

In 2023, some businesses are undergoing a course correction after a period of over-hiring and endless optimism about market conditions. The prospect of an economic downturn provides cover for companies to restructure. And the emergence of tools like artificial intelligence (AI) has sparked companies to question the skill sets of workers.

Moving forward

Getting into the right mindset is important when starting your job search. If you have received a settlement agreement or an enhanced redundancy package, you may take some time out before looking for a new role. Whether you decide to look for a new employer immediately or take some time out, do:

  • Write down your accomplishments; this can boost your confidence and prepare you for future interviews.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile, and this can help improve your chances of being headhunted.
  • Make a list of keywords that appear in the job ads you're considering and include them in your CV.
  • Talk to the team here at Meraki Talent. Weekly, we help skilled professionals find new positions.
  • Take some time out to focus on your wellbeing. Mediate, read, do yoga, cook, play golf, or do whatever it is you do to unwind.

Finally, in our working lives, we never know what is around the next corner. People should always take advantage of training opportunities and keep their skills current in case they need to change jobs.

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