What to do when nothing's going right

When Pavi and I started The 9to5 MisFits, we had one goal in mind - to get REAL and talk about all the stuff that nobody’s talking about. Of course, we wanted to bring you practical advice too about how to job search, network, structure your day, etc. But the truth is if you’re looking for your dream career or starting a new business and trying to find that one thing you’re destined to do, it’s not an easy process. It’s a journey fraught with disappointment and turmoil.

Don’t get me wrong, the payoff can be great, but there are also times when things get downright unpleasant. Maybe you got your 5th rejection, or maybe you launched a new product after months of hard work, and nobody bought it. So what do you do when you face a major setback and fall into a pit of despair? 

Check out the podcast version here

1. Be Realistic: Whether you’re job searching or an entrepreneur, set realistic goals for yourself. Also, know that there will be times when you just won’t get a lot of traction. Yes, it’s easy to get disheartened and run out of steam, but don’t lose hope. Understand that it’s not permanent. If you can anticipate the slump ahead of time and start building your armor, you won’t be blindsided when it does happen. So how do you build your armor? You plan, of course!

2. Plan for the Emotional BS: And boy, will there be some emotional BS, both internal and external! There are days when you’ll feel really angry, stressed out, or sad, but have a healthy outlet for it. The best way to do this is to schedule in BS hour. You also need a plan for the external factors - the inevitable conflicts that will develop with your spouse or partner. It’s time to have an open and constructive conversation with them and come up with a system together to deal with the negative emotions that are likely to bubble up during this time.

3. Plan for the Practical BS: When it comes to your job search or starting a new business, take the time to develop a realistic strategy and timeline. When I quit my oil & gas job to make a complete 180-degree switch, I gave myself an arbitrary timeline of 3 months to travel, soul search, and find my dream career -- this was based on no research whatsoever. In reality, it took me 9 months to find my next job, but guess what happened after the 3-month mark. I started to panic, lose momentum, and doubt my abilities, not realizing that these things take time.

Along with a solid job search strategy and a realistic timeline, there’s another thing you’ll need to plan for -- your finances. As depressing as it may seem, it’s important to know your financial state, how much money you have, how to save or make an extra income on the side while you build your business or look for your next job. This will also help with that timeline since you’ll know how long you can get by without an income.

So what happens if you do run out of money? What if you don’t get a job or your business doesn’t take off in the allotted time? I know this sounds grim, and I’m not saying that it WILL happen, but the idea here is to NOT be blindsided if it does happen, so plan for the worst-case scenario, whether that’s pivoting to another industry, going back to school, hiring a coach, etc.

4. Don’t be a Victim: When things start to go badly, it’s easy to feel like it’s you against the world. Yes, sometimes people or situations do work against us but start adopting a growth mindset and think about what you could change the next time to get a different outcome. Maybe your interview skills need brushing up, or your resume needs tweaking, or you just need an attitude adjustment. If you shift your mindset, look at your situation and think, ok, this is within my control if I change A, B, or C, you now feel much more hopeful than just sitting back and feeling helpless.

5. Seek Help: Sometimes, the stress of being unemployed, being at a job you hate, or trying to start a new business can have harmful effects like depression or addiction. If that happens to you, don’t be afraid to seek help whether that’s a therapist or counselor, joining a support group or a program like AA, or even turning to that one person in your life who has your back. If you have no one to talk to who understands your situation, get in touch with us -- we can point you in the right direction.

Just remember, you are NOT alone! "You is kind, you is smart, and you is important."