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Recovering From Setbacks At Work

2020 Setbacks At Work Blog

Setbacks are a normal part of the path to success and often there will be obstacles and things in your way on the way up the ladder. But that doesn’t meant that it gets any easier when you face a setback.

No one likes to dwell on their failures and often we want to brush them aside and move on as quickly as possible. When it comes to your career it can be sometimes hard to hide failures especially when applying for new roles. Whether it is a gap in employment history, a project failure or something else, a new employer may be eager to know about your setbacks.

Even the superstars have setbacks along their careers, so it does happen to everyone.

In dealing with a setback you could find other valuable strengths that will help you in your career going forward, as long as you manage it well. When you’re applying for your new role, the secret is getting the right balance between what they need to know and what isn’t important by keeping to relevant facts and using lessons learnt to show how you have grown.

How can you show that you’ve learnt and moved on?

  • Show you understand what went wrong – this lets the recruiter know that you have the ability to review what happened and pick out key areas of weakness.
  • Show you understand what other choices you could have made – this shows that you are able to keep an open mind to your actions.
  • Show that you take responsibility for your part of the process – blaming other people will show that you lack the ability to take responsibility. No one wants people on their team who will turn on their peers when the chips are down. Whether you were reliant on other people or not, there is often more you could have done – with the benefit of hindsight.
  • Show what steps you took to make a bad situation good – by showing you dealt with a situation and formulated a new plan to right any damages shows your ability to re-evaluate.
  • And most importantly, show that in the same situation you can use your knowledge to avoid the setback in the future – this shows you have learned and gives the employer the confidence that past mistakes will not be repeated.

The above will help you with when speaking to a new recruiter however how you can personally work through a setback and use it for your advantage?

Acknowledge it.

Coming to terms with setbacks and acknowledging and owning them is half the battle won. Pushing situations to one side and pretending that they haven’t happened will not be beneficial or make the situation go away! Acting in haste could have repercussions, so be careful.

Change your mindset.

The way that you process the situation and how things could have gone differently can come down to the way you are thinking about it. Lessons learned through life can help you in future events and setbacks. Try to find a positive way of working through the situation and use past experience to make it a learning curve rather than a bad setback.

Be Strategic.

Work through a plan of how you can use what has happened to get in the fast lane of recovery and to move forward with the career plans that you have. Use resources already at your disposal and tap into friends or peers who may have been through similar situations. Receiving feedback from others often helps in establishing a new plan of action and to get your mind back into career focus.


Always learn from any setback that you have been through. Once you have got yourself back on track, take some time to learn from it. What have you experienced through the situation and what will you take with you to ensure it doesn’t happen again? There’s no point in blaming or having negative thoughts, take charge of where you are now and where you want go next.

If you’re in the automotive industry and have gone through times of hardship or setbacks, we’d be happy to discuss your options going forward and to help in the process of your job search. Get in touch for an information chat.