You Can Still Rebuild Your Career After These Common Tragedies Occur
Many let these common events hold back their careers. Here’s how to use them to redefine your career.
He was the envy of 40,000 employees.
You’d see his face on the company intranet. He won all the career awards. He got a fully paid trip to an exotic location each year as part of the star performer program. The Chiefs were grooming him to take over the finance industry. One afternoon I came to the office.
“Hey, he hasn’t been around for a few days. Where did he go?” I said.
“Oh, he got demoted and moved to a regional office out in the sticks.”
I didn’t see him for a year.
The public demotion was the talk of the office. Everybody laughed at him. They wanted him to fail because of his perfect career record.
A year or so later he reappears in our office. He joined my team. It felt strange because he used to be a “Head of” and now he was a frontline pleb like me. We were the rats that dealt with the customer. We got paid peanuts while our bosses sipped lattes and did Facetime calls with their kids in private schools.
I liked the guy. What happened in the past rarely came up in conversation. He got on with the job. He knew there were judging eyes everywhere. Yet he stayed strong and wowed his little patch of customers.
After several years of slaving away he disappeared again.
“Where did he go this time?”
“Oh, the black and yellow logo snapped him up. They promoted him up three levels and gave him a massive pay increase.”
It turned out I wasn’t the only one watching. One of the more quiet managers had seen what I’d seen: a resilient son of a gun. That manager changed employers, and took the effort to recruit him.
None of my colleagues were laughing anymore at his demotion. He went from hero to zero and back to his rightful place.
A public demotion is a career tragedy that you can come back from with the right mindset.