7 Tips for Self-Management During an Unexpected Career Disruption 

by Stephanie Edwards

A woman walks in a sunlit wooded area.
Photo by Emma Simpson on Unsplash

When we least expect it, we can be hit with something that disrupts our career. It may be getting let go from a job, losing a major client, or any number of events that can result in a significant bump to our career. Despite our best intentions, it’s often something we are not ready for but must nevertheless overcome. As writers or editors, we may feel this shift when companies eliminate our roles to reduce spending, or when clients decide to go in a different direction.

These types of events alter schedules, disturb financial security, and change our thoughts about the future. This can leave some of us feeling depressed, lost, and anxious about what’s to come. But it does not have to stop us. Instead, we can use this new-found free time for reflection and redirection. 

Here are seven tips for self-management during an unexpected career bump:

Take the time to reflect

No matter the situation or how the message is relayed, this type of news can have a significant effect on us. Take the time to rest, recover, and reflect on how you are feeling during the initial stage of loss. This is the time to assess your feelings and ask yourself the following questions: “Did I like the job I was doing or the services I was providing?” and “In the future, what type of changes do I need to make?” Reflection can lead to clarity, and clarity can lead to acceptance of what has happened. Once you’ve accepted the outcome, you will be better able to move forward.

Redirect your focus

Now that you have accepted the changes, it’s time to redirect your focus and set new goals. These goals may include finding a new job, obtaining new clients, or educating yourself further. Here are a few redirection ideas:

  • Upgrade your skills by taking a course
  • Prepare to conduct new job or client searches
  • Join webinars of interest
  • Read books in a field you want to explore


Many people cringe at the idea of networking. However, it doesn’t have to mean forcing yourself to talk to or meet people. Networking will come naturally if you are engaging with colleagues in your industry. If you’ve become a member of a professional association, you’ve already taken an important step in networking. Follow through by signing up for volunteer opportunities, attending events, and participating in meetings. Networking can even be as simple as calling someone you trust to discuss your goals and passions.

Get involved

Before the changes occurred, you had hobbies and interests that you may not have been able to fit into your previously busy schedule. Well, now you can. The list of activities to get involved with is endless, but here are a few to consider during your new, but hopefully temporary, freedom:

  • Start a passion project
  • Exercise or take up a sport
  • Meditate or try yoga
  • See a stage show
  • Volunteer in your community
  • Try a new recipe
  • Host a gathering for your friends and family
  • Get started on a do-it-yourself (DIY) home improvement project

Connect with your loved ones

You’d be surprised how connecting with your loved ones can lift your spirits. They help you do the recovery work you could not complete on your own. They help you remember who you are and allow you to breathe fresh, positive air. You’ll realize how meaningful these connections are when you are not feeling your best.

Take breaks

It’s easy to burn out when trying to remain productive and show your value during this time. You will be more valuable to yourself and others if you take breaks and rest, or go for a walk when you need to.

There is a strategy called the Pomodoro (tomato) Technique. It allows for a five-minute rest after spending 25 minutes focused on a task. It is helpful to incorporate this technique while doing something that requires long periods of concentration, such as a job or client search.

Be persistent

Don’t be discouraged if you do not see the results of your labour right away. It’s easy to feel like giving up. Be persistent in your efforts to reach your goals. When one door closes, it may take some time, but another door will open.

As painful as it may be to experience an unexpected career bump, it’s helpful to remember that nothing lasts forever. If you’ve never experienced this type of transition before, remember that you are not alone. Many have gone through it. It is tough to take and hard to go through, but you must continue to move forward. Sometimes, things come to shake us up to shake better things into place. Following any or all these tips can help you on your way through the healing, recovery, and moving forward stages.

These tips do not need to be followed in this order. Everyone’s path and journey will be different, but they do provide a roadmap for self-management during such times. Remember that someone or some position still needs you, your time, skills, talents, and abilities.

Stephanie Edwards, owner of the blog Fitness and Fluff Stuff, specializes in content creation and design. When she is not working or working out, she is somewhere singing. She enjoys reading, writing, and hanging out with her loved ones.

This article was copy edited by Nada Mostafa, a freelance editor and translator who specializes in ESL academic research. She enjoys reading and learning new languages.

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