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The Young Professional’s Guide to Surviving Tough Spots in Your Career

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The most efficient, progressive companies are full of innovative, driven employees. Many times, you’ll find yourself part of that solution.

But at certain points in your job, you feel drained. You stop enjoying Mondays. Your mood changes.

You find yourself less optimistic. You can stare at the computer for hours with nearly zero productivity. You become your harshest critic.

The most simple tasks seem impossible. Depression kicks in. You’ve hit a crossroads. You can either step up to the plate or risk future success.

Every career has ups and downs. The trick is to enjoy the ups, then to get creative and remain resilient and disciplined during the downs.

The ups are easy to enjoy. Motivation seems to come easily. But how do you endure the downs in a career? Here are a few ways:

1. Forget the statement “It can’t be done”

Regardless of hurdles, there are always ways you can do better. The more creative you become in your job, the further you can go.

At times, it’ll seem as if you’ve hit a brick wall. Sometimes, that wall will appear much more challenging than others.

Focus on possible solutions. Look at the problem differently. Whatever you do, don’t let the hurdle render you ineffective.

2. Keep moving forward

Henry Ford said, “You have got to keeping doing and going.”

In business, change is inevitable. Change in yourself becomes just as essential.

Some core ideologies are permanent, like great customer service. But how you arrive at superior customer service may drastically change throughout a career.

Despite environmental changes in your job, always be in motion. When work seems hopeless, you’re probably also wasting time.

There are few instances in your career when learning and creativity can’t cure the most arduous problems.

3. Try not to take the downs personally

Stay level-headed. The most effective business professionals make decisions based on logic, not emotion.

Everyone goes through difficult times at work. Whether it’s having to deal with a bad manager or changes in the industry, few professions are immune to it. In fact, the more creative a job is, the more difficulty you can encounter. It’s part of the game.

When you convince yourself to enjoy the journey, you’ll do better at your job.

4. Remember: you’re not alone

Employees go through highly turbulent times in their career. Some come out of their slump with renewed energy and vigor. Others personalize their problems and don’t quite make it.

If you look at some of the most effective business tycoons in US history, you’ll see one thing in common: all share some sort of highly complex hurdle they had to overcome. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Andrew Carnegie all saw sufficient career fluctuations. Their resiliency is what proved to be the determining factor between success and failure.

They stayed motivated even during times of crisis. They forced themselves to keep moving forward. You can do the same to stay motivated at work.

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement Recruitment and a writer for Forbes. Among other places, Ken has appeared on MTV and Fox Business News.

Brazen powers real-time, online events for leading organizations around the world. Our lifestyle and career blog, Brazen Life, offers fun and edgy ideas for ambitious professionals navigating the changing world of work.

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  • Steven Austin

    It’s so much easier to say this stuff than to remember it when you need to! lol

    • Ken Sundheim

      Well said. I always find it easier to keep revisiting. Thanks for reading!

  • Rick

    This is such a horsesh-t piece. And coming from a CEO, no less.

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  • Exam Bird

    Getting the contract at all necessitated working hard for two months beforehand, so when your company snags it, your boss tells you to go ahead and add the hours you worked before getting the contract to the future billing cycle. That means the company will be reimbursed for your time – despite the fact that it’s illegal to do so. Gunsalus says to ask yourself the following question: Would it be better to be fired for not adding your hours in, or arrested for doing so?

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