Job loss or setback left you feeling defeated? How to pull yourself up

When you face a career challenge, it is common to experience a painful loss of identity — if you aren’t the successful professional you once were, who are you? A loser?

Of course not.

You are still the same successful person you always were — with a new challenge. These challenges do not negate your previous work and success. You have the choice to wallow in your misfortune or find a deeper, human identity.

I find strength and inspiration from the “famous failures” that made unbelievable comebacks. For example, Elvis Presley got a C in high school music class and was told he couldn’t sing. Walt Disney was fired from a newspaper because he “lacked imagination” and “had no original ideas.” Lucille Ball was told to give up on acting because she had “no talent.” And Oprah Winfrey was demoted from her job as an anchorwoman and told she was “not fit for television.”

This list goes on and on. Those superstars prevailed because they took their knocks and fought back. They did not let others define them. They defined themselves.

Don’t let adversity define you. What matters is what you do with it.

Instead of saying, “Nobody wants me; I must suck,” start saying, “I believe in myself. It’ll all work out.”

Here’s how to pull yourself up — and start moving again:

  1. Stop catastrophic thinking

Your mind will make you as crazy as you let it. Learn to recognize when you have slipped into “catastrophic thinking” mode and fight back.

If you are out of work and not finding a job, your mind might put you in this loop: “I’m spending my savings. I am going to run out of money. I’ll never get any job. I’m going through my savings. I’ll probably have to go work at the supermarket. Will the supermarket even hire me? I can’t live on that salary. I can’t feed my family. We will be homeless . . .”

Replace your catastrophic thoughts with more realistic thoughts. Train your mind to say, “Well, this is tough, but I’ll find a way.”

The worry about being homeless and broke is common, especially when we’re forced to start over or reinvent ourselves. Self-doubt feeds on itself and you lose perspective, which makes you lose hope.

You may beat yourself up because you didn’t see this situation coming or you feel you could have done more to prevent it. You may kick yourself for not saving more or failing to network better. You may think that others are laughing at you. Or, maybe you’re just really, really mad. But how are any of those thoughts helping you?

When you’re being pulled under by a nearly crippling brush with adversity, many tips and suggestions on managing worry fall flat.

Your brain will do a number on you if you let it. You can slide into a negative loop that will tell you that you are a worthless, stupid loser, because, for some reason, the brain will let you get away with that kind of self-mutilation.

Instead of saying, “Nobody wants me; I must suck,” start saying, “I believe in myself. It’ll all work out.”

Another thing to say: “What if my greatest success is still ahead of me? I’m not done!” Then say these again. And again. And again and again and again.

  1. Attack worry

I know you are worried right now — that’s because we’re all worried. I think of Linda Cruz, who had a stellar career in the pharmaceutical industry before going through one crucible moment after another until she finally got a job where she was making less than one-third of what she once made. She told me: “You know what you can do, but nobody wants you anymore. It is very lonely. They don’t value what you have.”

For the last two years of his job as an analyst in the insurance industry, Chuck Leonard said he felt humiliated — knowing he wasn’t wanted there — and certain he would be fired. Which he finally was.

“It was humiliating on every level,” he said. “For two years, I was demoralized. Then I had no job, no insurance, no dignity, no hope. I felt like I had failed everybody, and I couldn’t get an interview — no matter how many jobs I applied for. It took me nine months, the longest nine months of my life. I had one company that interviewed me four times, and I thank God they hired me. I’m so grateful.”

There are endless online posts of people venting about what is not working in their careers. I promise you: Read that stuff for 10 minutes and you will feel depressed.

When you’re being pulled under by a nearly crippling brush with adversity, many tips and suggestions on managing worry fall flat. So how do you put worry in its place when your entire life is out of control?

Get some exercise. Research has found that exercise boosts your alertness, concentration and cognitive function while also reducing fatigue. Physical activity produces endorphins and helps us sleep, which definitely cuts stress. Your health will improve, and your anxiety will diminish.

Volunteer. When you feel useless, go be of use! When you help others, you feel better about yourself and the negatives in your head get quieter. It feels good to know that you matter and that you are contributing to a purpose.

Do one thing. When you feel stuck, do one thing that gives you momentum toward fixing your situation. Even if there are 10 things you must do, focusing on one is doable. Instead of focusing on 10 problems, pick one. You may need to focus on all 10, but that is impossible. Better to accomplish something than to paralyze yourself with fear.

  1. Stop complaining with others

There are endless online posts of people venting about what is not working in their careers, how poorly they are being treated, how they can’t find employment anywhere, and how they can’t catch a break. I promise you: Read that stuff for 10 minutes and you will feel depressed.

When things get rough, you can take steps to keep yourself from sliding into the depths.

While you sort out what you are going to do next, don’t forget to live it. You don’t know how much time you have left, so it’s your choice how you use the time you’ve got.

The more you let yourself wallow, the darker things will seem. Don’t talk about your situation endlessly, and don’t let others wallow, either. Don’t keep telling “the story.” If you have a friend who is going through the same thing, decide whether you can keep each other on track to feel better or whether you are bringing each other down.

  1. Never surrender

No, you aren’t enjoying this. But have you ever enjoyed those painful moments when someone or something has forced you to pick yourself up and figure out what you are going to do with the rest of your life? What did you do then?

You can do this. YOU. ARE. NOT. DONE.

And, look — by now, some of your family, friends and acquaintances have been hit by a terrible health crisis. One minute, all was well with them. And then it wasn’t. It just changed forever. In an instant.

So even if you are staring down at some serious career challenges, do not forget what you’ve got. You’ve got your life. And while you sort out what you are going to do next, don’t forget to live it. You don’t know how much time you have left, so it’s your choice how you use the time you’ve got.

Excerpted from the new book Coming Back: How to Win the Job You Want When You’ve Lost the Job You Need by Fawn Germer. (Source ideas.ted.com)


The Downsides of Making a Counteroffer to Retain an Employee

During the Great Resignation, many have said “I quit” and moved on from their organisations. As the talent pool shrinks, leaders are prepared to do just about anything to keep good employees from walking out that door. The counteroffer is one retention tool at leaders’ disposal. In fear of losing an employee, a leader may counter with a promotion, a merit increase, a one-time bonus, equity grants, or an opportunity to move to another team. But leaders, beware the perceived power of the counteroffer. Based on her experience leading teams, the author presents a number of downstream consequences you likely haven’t considered if the employee accepts. Here’s why making a counteroffer to an employee who has resigned can do more harm than good.

To read the complete article please click:



5 Questions to Ask When Starting a New Job

The actions you take during your first few months in a new job have a major impact on your success or failure. The biggest challenge leaders face during these periods is staying focused on the right things. So it helps to have a set of questions to guide you. Here are the five most important ones to ask…and to keep on asking on a regular basis: How will I create value? How am I expected to behave? Whose support is critical? How will I get some early wins? What skills do I need to develop to excel in this role? Set aside 30 minutes at the end of each week to reflect on these questions and whether the answers are still clear or have changed in any way.

To read the complete article please click:



Staff wellbeing: ‘The important thing is how people work, not where they work’

“What the last two years have demonstrated is that there is no longer a clear roadmap, and every organisation must spend time understanding the needs of their workforce in a way they never had to do before.” These are the words of Lisa Stevens, an industry veteran of 30 years and now the global chief people officer and head of human capital solutions at professional services firm Aon.

“The more agile and flexible organisations are, the better they’ll be at winning the war for talent,” she says.

Aon employs 50,000 people across 120 countries, including more than 700 in Ireland. Stevens believes a holistic approach to employee wellbeing, which covers people’s emotional, physical and financial health, will play a critical role in helping organisations keep on top of their personnel needs in the future.

To read the complete article please click:



Hybrid and remote working require a shift from managing to leading

One of the things that drives employees crazy is a boss who micromanages them, yet it is still common practice from the C-suite down. Micromanagers parse their role in terms of two main functions, direction and control, and believe they add value by getting involved in everything.

Not so, says Frans Campher, CEO of Integral Leadership Dynamics, who has over 20 years’ experience in executive education, leadership development and as a business coach for senior blue-chip executives. In his view those who hang on to the direct and control model of people management are going to struggle to bring employees with them in a hybrid working environment.

Campher, who is also a visiting fellow and director of the executive education programme at Imperial College business school in London, says companies are only beginning to realise the scope of the challenges posed by hybrid working and that the consequences, good and bad, won’t really become apparent for another two years. In the meantime those that want to thrive will need to transform from organisations that manage people to organisations that lead them.

“What’s not going to work is managers who feel they have to control the heck out of everything, and who see hybrid as a loss of control,” he says.

“I actually find it scary that technology providers are saying we can build programmes so you can monitor your people. This completely misses the fundamental point that if you treat people as adults, they will show up as adults. If you set high expectations and ask for their input into those expectations, they will come to the party and give you discretionary effort.”

Side effect

Campher notes that one of the common side effects of climbing the corporate ladder is selective amnesia.

“Someone lands a promotion and suddenly thinks they have to control everything,” he says. “They forget that when they were being led, they appreciated their freedom and being seen and heard. They also appreciated knowing that their ideas mattered, as did the opportunity to grow and develop.

I think creating the culture and conditions that allow people to do their best work is going to be the biggest challenge of hybrid working, not trying to control their every move.”

At its simplest leading is about being, whereas managing is about doing. The typical focus of managers is the nuts and bolts of daily tasks such as budgeting, planning and organising. By contrast, leaders deal more in strategy, developing the organisational culture and motivating and inspiring those around them to keep the show on the road.

However, the transition demands more than a change of job description. It’s about recognising that now more than ever companies need leadership and organisational agility that’s equal to the growing complexity of the business environment.

Types of leader

An agile leader is someone who can operate on more than one level. In Campher’s view, it demands the ability to operate on three and the skill to combine them. He describes these three levels as expert leader, achiever leader and catalytic leader.

“As an expert leader, I’m very good at command, control, directing, planning and organising. I have one-to-one relationships with the people I work with but I don’t create a cohesive team,” he says. “An achiever leader is one who starts to work through others and builds a team.

“An expert leader will look at the next two to three months and will deal with the urgent things in front of them. An achiever leader probably has a one year horizon, they use the team more effectively and have some organisational mission and purpose. The next level up is the catalytic leader, whose job is no longer to command and control in the short- term but to totally embrace the enterprise view of the business.”

The majority of leaders fall into the expert or achiever categories, with catalytic leaders, who know how to influence, work with stakeholders and lead change, much thinner on the ground. What Campher tries to do through coaching and executive education is help people lose their direct and control mentality and see the bigger picture.

He calls it filling the “expansion gap” and he doesn’t underestimate the shift in identity this requires, pointing out that when you ask someone who has spent their career micromanaging to stop doing so, they often panic because they don’t know what to do instead.


“It’s asking people to accept that they are no longer the expert driving their particular function, but someone who catalyses the whole culture of an organisation,” he says. “However, you often have leaders that don’t understand this third piece. It’s not that they only hang out there. Rather they have the range to be an expert, an achiever and a catalyst and can shift up and down depending on what’s required.”

To make it easier to understand the process of moving from managing to leading, Campher draws on the work of Benjamin Zander, orchestral conductor and author of the Art of Possibility.

“Zander has a TED talk on the transformative passion of music and he talks about leaders needing to make the shift from playing an instrument to becoming the conductor,” he says. “The job of the conductor is to create shiny eyes in the orchestra so that there are shiny eyes in the audience. That’s a wonderful metaphor to use for leaders too: I need to become a ‘conductor’ who creates shiny eyes in my people.”

(Source: The Irish Times)


Don’t Underestimate the Power of Self-Reflection

Research shows the habit of reflection can separate extraordinary professionals from mediocre ones. But how do you sort which experiences are most significant for your development?

  • To answer this questions, the authors asked 442 executives to reflect on which experiences most advanced their professional development and had the most impact on making them better leaders.
  • Three distinct themes arose through their analysis: surprise, frustration, and failure. Reflections that involved one or more or of these sentiments proved to be the most valuable in helping the leaders grow.
  • Surprise, frustration, and failure. Cognitive, emotional, and behavioural. These parts of you are constantly in motion and if you don’t give them time to rest and reflect upon what you learned from them, you will surely fatigue.

To read the complete article please click:



Congratulations Rebecca Aspell on your promotion to Recruitment Partner

At Clark we make a firm investment in our people and their careers, providing growth and learning opportunities. We provide a defined career development plan so that they can accomplish their professional career goals. We offer the opportunity to avail of continued education and training programs, participation in professional organisations, improved job performance and promotion to leadership roles.
We are delighted to announce the promotion of our colleague Rebecca Aspell to the position of Recruitment Partner in our Temporary division in recognition of her continued success and contribution to the Recruitment business at Clark. Rebecca will specialise in the recruitment of temporary staff within the areas of Accounting & Finance and Sales & Marketing. Congratulations Rebecca!
Check out our currently available opportunities at www.clark.ie
You can contact Rebecca on 045 881888 or email rebecca@clark.ie

The Great Resignation Didn’t Start with the Pandemic

Covid-19 spurred on the Great Resignation of 2021, during which record numbers of employees voluntarily quit their jobs. But what we are living through is not just short-term turbulence provoked by the pandemic. Instead, it’s the continuation of a trend of rising quit rates that began more than a decade ago. Five main factors are at play in this trend: retirement, relocation, reconsideration, reshuffling, and reluctance. All of these factors, the authors argue, are here to stay. They explore each in turn and encourage leaders to examine which of them are contributing most to turnover in their organisations, so that they can adapt appropriately as they move into the future.

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Onboarding Can Make or Break a New Hire’s Experience

Poor onboarding can leave your employees with lower confidence in their new roles, worsened levels of engagement, and an increased risk of jumping ship when they see a new, more exciting position elsewhere. On the other hand, companies that implement a formal onboarding program could see 50% greater employee retention among new recruits and 62% greater productivity within the same group. Given that how you onboard your employees will determine their experience, managers can take the following steps to ensure they set their new hires up for success: 1) set clear goals and measures for success, 2) create a multi-departmental onboarding team, and 3) provide support throughout the onboarding journey.

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Support for Ukraine

Ireland has joined other EU countries offering refuge to Ukrainian people fleeing the conflict in their country. Government ministers say they expect between 80,000 and 100,000 people to arrive here, with about a third likely to be children.

When you are ready to look for a job then we are here to help. You can search for the latest temporary and permanent jobs along the M7 corridor on our website www.clark.ie.

We will provide a complementary CV Service to help you begin your job hunt and we will help you identify the jobs that are a good fit for your skills and experience.

We’ve a complementary Job Seekers Toolkit section on our website, where you can download CV templates, Interview preparation guides, coaching information and more. You’ll find it at: https://clark.ie/downloads/

You can call our Recruitment team on 045 881888. We’re here to help.