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Trapped - Career Failure

Pertunia Lehoka is a wife and mother of two, based in Pretoria, South Africa. She is a Speaker, a Relationship Coach & a Businesswoman.

SOMETIMES THINGS DON'T GO AS PLANNED IN OUR CAREER

Life is sometimes full of surprises; Several of these are good while others might not be so good. Everything will depend on how you think; why you think the way you do and what you would do to have a positive outlook to make certain that your life continues to move in the right direction, in spite of what you might be grappling with at any stage in your life.

We all have different reasons for following certain career paths, which we might find ourselves either succeeding in or not doing well in. Irrespective of what you might think about the kind of work you do i.e., whether you might believe you’re failing or succeeding, at the end of the day, we all have to account to someone - to either our bosses, ourselves, our families or even our employees and the taxman, particularly if our careers have led us to work for ourselves.

All jobs have got challenges – some more than others, depending on the complexity and responsibility of the job itself and how much of you, it requires that you give. It’s always important to think long and hard about how you wish to handle it all, more so if some of the job specifications go against your principles etc.

It might be a good idea to remain professional about everything nonetheless, bearing in mind that the law does protect all of us. Should your rights as a human being be trampled upon, there is always legal recourse to deal with any issues facing you. While at it, always check your contract before signing on the dotted lines. The prospects of us being employed and earning a salary, possibly the kind of salary that may see us living the type of life we had always wanted to live, can sometimes blind us to the full details and expectations required of us, to successfully execute all tasks without any glitches.

Should we not do well in our careers after having sacrificed so much of ourselves, we tend to feel like failures. Failure does not have to be something that goes on forever though. We all have to deal with it at some time or another – we all fail at something and anyone who might tell you otherwise is truly lying to themselves and this in itself is a travesty of the highest order.

I view failure as something that is not too bad at all. In fact, it’s a good thing because it means we have tried/attempted something but it simply didn’t work or things didn’t work out. It doesn’t mean that we are dim-witted or that there is nothing we might not be able to do at all after failing at that particular thing. Remember that we all have unique gifts, skills, abilities and talents. Never be afraid to utilize any of these to turn around any situation – no matter how challenging or bleak the future might seem, particularly after failing.

Unfortunately, most people tend to view this as if the end of the world is near. This is generally brought about by either worry about what their peers would say and how they would now look at them since they “failed”; or having too many responsibilities and being afraid of how they would meet all their financial obligations, after losing their source(s) of income.

There are going to be issues that we have to work at and deal with as we go along this journey of our careers and failure will always be part of that expedition. Dealing with failure of a career is something that one needs to handle with great care. It is during this uneasy and painful time that we should calm down and take stock of why we might believe we have failed in a particular field. Did we choose a career we were not suitable for in the first place? Did we succumb to peer pressure? Did we put pressure on ourselves as we eagerly wanted to be counted amongst those who work in a field that, according to society is deemed to be more prestigious than any other? How can we establish that? Or has someone or some people made it difficult for us to enjoy our work, such that we ended up leaving our most loved jobs?

Do a thorough introspection of all your reasons for having embarked on this specific career path and do not rob yourself by cutting corners regarding your negative attributes when you do this review. Be as honest as possible and should you be the one who needs a chide, do so but do be kind to yourself as the mind and soul will accept anything you feed it, including negative and harsh words you say to yourself.

If for example, you might feel that you are truly out of your depth in your career despite having studied for it, chances might be that you may be intellectually suited for the said job, however your personality, emotional quotient and in fact your whole being might not necessarily belong in that environment.

We all have places where we belong and we all have soul groups we belong to and workplaces are no different. This can easily be determined by doing a thorough review of where you have been battling for an elongated amount of time, even when you have received countless training to enable you to perform your duties without any hassles. At times, the enthusiasm might no longer be there and the source of this lethargy might not be easily identified, which can easily leave one very despondent and at worst, depressed.

Creative minds generally find themselves easily bored by routine work and would always seek something that requires them to always be on their toes, challenging them or creating something from scratch. They prefer letting their imaginations run wild while thoroughly enjoying their work which, to them might not even feel like work at all.

Should we elect to change jobs, our thoughts might keep us entrapped as we fear encountering similar problems we faced in our previous jobs. At times, this fear might be based on the fact that we might not have adequately dealt with whatever it was that either irked us, made us uncomfortable or made us totally miserable at our previous jobs.

Because there might still be that void which we would need to fill in our next job, our whole gamut of emotions might keep us in perpetual misery, thereby leading us to joblessness, which might in turn diminish our chances of getting back into the swing of things on time. This in itself, will definitely affect the quality of our lives, particularly if we have dependants.

Remember that time waits for no man, as it truly is a jungle out there. While still pondering on whether to apply for your next job, you always need to make sure that you do not starve so it is important to always leave any job you no longer want or any company you no longer wish to be associated with, with your dignity intact.

Remember that the global village has become very small and people change jobs often. Never seek to insult or speak ill about your previous boss or manager either to his/her face or by smearing his/her name to colleagues or anyone for that matter. Take everything in like a combatant – unless of course what you were faced with, was harassment or abuse of some kind or something which necessitated that you involve law enforcement. The truth will always defend itself out there. You will not have to spice it up with exaggerations or lies. Say only what transpired and how you might have perceived what happened to you and how you felt about it, despite many attempts to get authority to deal with that matter that might have made your stay in that company uncomfortable or unbearable.

Even though the job market is saturated and some jobs are truly scarce, it is still advisable for one to take good care of oneself first, prior to embarking on another search for employment or before attending to the tainted ego or confidence. The idea is to thwart any negativity that might still be lingering in your heart after either dismissal or resignation. This would likely hinder your chances of landing your next gig anyway. Clear your whole being of previous work debris and once you are certain that you no longer possess a negative mind about work and colleagues, can you then be on your way to seeking employment. Who knows? You might even attract a whole new career stream as you keep an open mind.

Making all of your career dreams come true is something that you must work hard at no matter what – this should not hinge on anyone else’s dream about you doing a particular job. You are solely responsible for every decision you make. Let us remember that every decision we make today, can and will always determine how the rest of our lives would be like or turn out. Therefore, let us make wise decisions about our lives and seek not to dwell in others’ shadow and also refuse to be under anyone’s shadow because, we do not know what lies ahead. Life is unpredictable and very short.

What I’m doing today career-wise, personally as well as spiritually, came as a result of a decision or decisions I made years ago. I might have made some of these decisions without thinking clearly but jumped head on first. I however still believe that some coincidences are engineered by powers beyond human comprehension. I also strongly believe that, in the world we live in, everyone’s life path has been set out for them, even though we might believe otherwise most of the time. This includes even the undesirable situations we might occasionally find ourselves being confronted with. Any hindrance to our chosen fields might be the exact challenge we have to go through after sending messages to the universe, without even realising that we might have been doing so.

Having said the above though, let us take note that there are ways that you can change the failure that you might experience in your life. You might elect to either supplement your current qualification(s) by enrolling for a post-graduate course that might complement whatever you already have currently, in order to improve on skills and knowledge.

This might lead you to a promotion or landing the job that you initially wanted but was unable to get, as you lacked certain skills that were required at the time. This achievement of another qualification, would also help you to adequately deal with the now embedded imprint in your mind that you have failed at something and afford you new confidence to face the world again – this time around, wiser and armed with more skills.

Changing the way you think will also be a great advantage to your career and even your personal life. It can make you a better and stronger person that can handle the failures that come your way.

The way we make our living should make us happy and not miserable. We need to always bear in mind that we spend most of our time in a day at work and should we not be happy and unfulfilled there, we are likely to infect those close to us with our moods and negative energy. This will definitely extend to our families, our colleagues, everyone we meet on the road as we drive and everyone else we might come into contact with – hair dressers included.

We all make bad decisions and choices once in a while about what we want to do for a living. We also sometimes make bad investment decisions as well and lose money in the process. However, if we decide to do something about it, then we are well on our way to make a difference in our lives and in the lives of those close to us. Using our skills to change the way we live can also be a rewarding experience overall. Using what we have learned about ourselves and everything else can help us deal with any type of failure in our career or with life in general. It is during the most trying times in our lives that we tend to learn a lot about ourselves anyway – how strong we can be and how tenacious we can be and what it is we can tolerate or are able to tolerate, that sort of thing.

Everything in life can be fixed with the right type of mindset and patience. There hardly is ever any situation that is so hopeless such that nothing can be done about it. Also, no situation is ever permanent, particularly if our intentions are to change the status quo.

Let us bear in mind that life is too short to focus on anything that makes us miserable. Any painful experience we might have had, particularly at work, is supposed to toughen us up and dwelling on it can only live us constantly discontented and full of negativity. Learn to move on and avoid returning to that place of pain often, thus making yourself unhappy as a result. Remember that nobody is responsible for your happiness but you and you alone.

This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2021 Pertunia Lehoka

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