FORCES OF NATURE How To Weather 9 Career Storms
By Jessica Sitomer

When Ben Holmes’ plane had an accident, a hurricane, and other forces of nature challenged his desire to get to Savannah for his wedding. While he hit obstacle after obstacle, even temporarily losing sight of his goal, he never stopped taking action and moving forward. Finally he found himself exactly where he wanted to be.

You probably have a good idea of what success will look like to you when you reach it.  Yet, sometimes you must weather obstacles along the way; getting fired, working with a ‘Screamer,’ being out of work, making a mistake on the job. These are just a few examples of storms that interrupt the smooth sailing of building your career.

Here are 9 “career forces of nature” and how to weather them:

1.    Earthquake. The unexpected shake-up that leads to you losing your job. OR being fired. Either way it’s awful. How do you weather it? You remember that people you admire who are extremely successful at what you want to do, have been fired too. Why does that matter? Because, since it happens to almost everybody, there is no reason to wear your termination like a scarlet letter. Too many people I’ve coached have told me stories about being in an interview and talking about being fired from their last job (or in some cases a job from years before). They couldn’t let go of the shame. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead focus on your plan for getting the next job.

2.    Tornado. You know, the people who cause damage to anyone in their path? The difficult people. The mean people. The awful people. How do you weather the storm? You can either create a plan for getting a new job away from the horrible people, or find something so valuable in what you’re receiving from the work that you are able to rise above and possibly block out the horridness that surrounds you. Keep in mind that the later is hazardous to your health, so I would still keep the former in mind.  

3.    Drought. No work for months. How do you weather a drought? You plan for it. You are realistic about the nature of our industry and you make financial plans for droughts. Then when one hits, instead of feeling desperate you are able to appreciate the time off, knowing you will work again. You also use that time to deepen your relationships and do the ‘business work’ that I teach, which will lead to your next job.  

4.    Hurricane. Losing power in a hurricane is the equivalent to losing your sense of power and faith to pursue your dream. How do you weather the storm? You can wait for someone else to come along and restore the power or you can get back in touch with why you wanted to do what you do, for whom you do it, and how what you do not only affects people’s lives, it can also create really positive change in the world. What if you just changed one person’s life through your gift? You can turn the power back on anytime you choose.

5.    Volcano. You’ve made a mistake at work that has erupted. How do you weather the ash that covers the explosive situation? You take responsibility and have the confidence to say that because you’ve now made it, it will not happen again. Whereas firing you and replacing you can create the same situation all over again. Everyone makes mistakes. Some people’s mistakes have even turned into career makers!  

6.    Snowstorm. A snowstorm covers everything in a blanket of cold white, causing the inability to see the path. How do you trek through the snow? You ask for help. When the path you’re on obscures and you can’t see clearly, it’s time for another set of eyes. Be sure to ask someone who is always ‘sunny.’

7.    Thunder. When the roar of your family and friends about what you’re doing with your life gets to be a little too loud, it’s time to get out of the storm. How do you drown out the roll of thunder? You find new people to talk to; people who inspire and support you. Your family roars because they worry about you, so it’s difficult to completely get out of the storm. As long as you have other supportive people to turn to, you can weather this storm.  

8.   Lightning. The great job that strikes, but because you didn’t market yourself properly, nothing has come from it. How do you bounce back from lightning NOT striking twice? You either start all over, letting go of ‘what could have been’ or you find a way to breathe life back into your story about the great job. Hollywood does it all the time. The Lion King is being re-released, this time in 3-D. Same story, new way to see it.

9.   Flood. Too many offers at once. May not sound like a bad problem to have, unless you’re in it and you have to choose between a client who has loyally hired you non-union for years and the opportunity to work on a big union project that could take you to the next level but has no guarantee. How do you wade through these waters? You do a lot of soul searching. You master the art of decision making and taking risks. If you go with the safe job, you let go of any future regret. If you take the risk, you create a marketing strategy so that whatever happens with the job, it will propel you to the next level.

Ben was at a crossroads with a huge decision to make. In the end he weathered the storm and will always have that trip as something to look back on and learn from.

And Action!

1. Evaluate which of the storms affect your career path.    

2. Create a ‘weather preparation kit’ in case a storm hits.

Mother Nature didn’t intentionally sabotage, but Ben could have taken his experience and sabotaged himself. If you prepare for a disaster it won’t be as disastrous as it could’ve been.