Dealing with Setbacks at Work

Updated: Aug 10, 2019

So every other week I sit down with my team members and mentees to talk work, life outside of work and anything else on the agenda. Professional development is just as important as the job itself so it's a priority for me to make time for my mentees. Regardless of your career goal, it's difficult to climb that ladder alone. As someone who had the privilege of getting the game from some of the best, I can't stress enough how important it is to get people in your corner who will point you in the right direction, call you out when you're wrong, and advocate for you in those seat-at-the-table meetings. Think of it as your personal "board of directors" which is a whole other conversation to discuss later.

This morning's #careerconvos focused on recovering from a project that flopped. Intentions were good, efforts were made, but it went completely LEFT. My mentee said, "I feel like it's no coming back from this, like I need to start looking for a new job." I broke it down for her in 3 simple steps to take to use that setback as a setup for a comeback. Read on...

My best advice to anyone experiencing a setback at work is to:

  1. Own it – the last thing you want to do is shuffle blame. It’s tough to move forward from something you haven’t yet taken responsibility for.

  2. Talk about it – with your manager, peers and mentors about the situation. More than likely they’ve had similar situations and can share best practices to work through it.

  3. Learn from it – understand what got you to that point. Did you not understand the task? Were there family or other issues that prevented you from being at your best? Or did you just not put forth the 150% that you knew the task required? Whatever the question – be clear on what got you there so you don’t find yourself in the same situation again.

Did that ring a bell with you? Are you dealing with the same issue - wanting to hide under a rock after a flop at work? It's time to have a conversation with your boss. Don't let your brand's value plummet because you're not sure how to move forward!

Use the coupon code #CareerConvos and get 50% off the 1-1 Manager Meeting Template.

I am Nikki Winston, an accounting leader who has not only experienced this a few times myself as a Fortune 500 executive, but I’ve supported many peers and mentees through similar situations. I’m an Atlanta-based consultant to small businesses and entrepreneurs on accounting and leadership development matters and was privileged to have my views on career development featured in this Reader’s Digest article:

Learn more about me at where I provide accounting tips and respond to my audience’s questions about career navigation. Connect with me @NikkWinstonCPA on Instagram and Twitter.

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