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Let’s say 2019 has not been a very good year for you, career-wise. Maybe you couldn’t get that long-promised promotion; maybe you quit a job due to unbearable circumstances; maybe you were fired in an unforeseen scenario; or perhaps you just stayed unemployed most part of the year due to other indescribable reasons. Whatever the situation has been, if you were not able to make any solid progress in your career this year, it is time to come out of the depression and change your mindset for good as we head towards 2020.

Contrary to the mainstream view, a glitch in career is not always bad for you. Yes of course, it might give you temporary sufferings in terms of lack of finances to pay your monthly bills, or even worse if you are the sole breadwinner in your family. But the approach you adopt to handle the situation makes the whole difference. You can either choose to stay where you are, or delve deep down into your heart and figure out how you can create a positive impact in your career and your life by gaining inspiration from whatever you have been going through in the recent past.

Sometimes, we really need a break from our routine to sort out the noise in our own minds. In the process, we could potentially come to few very crucial realisations about ourselves. When we’re so busy in our job, we tend to neglect the urges rising in our minds, which could potentially direct us towards a better career path. We just don’t get the time to listen to ourselves, to be able to redirect our goals and dreams. Sooner or later, if you’re lucky I would say, these hints from our subconscious mind lead to an incident that blows off the whole situation, and you are either left with no job, or forced to keep the job but live in utter disappointment just to get the paycheques at the end of every month.

Let me pause here for a minute to clarify that I’m neither promoting the concept of resigning from your job, nor encouraging you to keep on jumping jobs. Both of these are generally not good things to do. All we’re doing here is giving a positive outlook to a situation where something has already ‘blown out of proportion’, leaving you jobless (or at times, just lifeless) and pretty much hopeless as well.

Things always happen for a reason. We don’t control our destiny, but we can adopt a proactive approach in building it up. There are many extremely successful people in the world who have been able to bring about a fantastic change in their lives (and in their income too, of course), after going through totally unexpected and drastically negative experiences — and since we’re talking about career here, when I say negative, I mean it primarily in the financial sense.

Let’s take a look at 5 ways in which you can convert a glitch in career into a fabulous turning point in your life.

Streamline your career goals

If you have been changing jobs too frequently, getting almost negligible or no increment every time, you might be one of those who get caught in a career wheel.

A career wheel is a sticky wheel that glues you to it in a way that you’re able to keep it rolling (and feeling that you’re making progress), but in reality, it doesn’t let you move forward even by an inch, as it’s raised slightly higher from the ground. No matter how much or how hard you roll a career wheel, it won’t cover any distance in real space, because it’s hinged onto something and hanging in the air, (kind of like a treadmill where you keep walking but remain in the same area).

If you can identify yourself stuck on a career wheel, ask yourself if you’ve been going in the wrong direction the whole time. Is it that you keep applying for jobs in a specific field (probably because that’s what you ‘majored’ in during your studies), but your passion lies in a completely different niche? If yes, now is the time to streamline your career goals. Ask yourself what is it that you really want to pursue, and go for that direction right from the start, i.e. right from the point where you start filtering out job postings to apply for, instead of scamming your resume over a variety of job scopes, out of desperation to land any job faster. Having the right focus is the key to get to where you actually want to be.

Ken Rogers, a professional web developer and freelance copywriter, once write, “One thing I’ve realized over the past few years of working like crazy but actually accomplishing very few of my goals is that without the ability to focus, we won’t get very far, if anywhere.”

Explore freelancing opportunities

The world of freelancing, which was seen as nothing more than doing small part-time work tasks from home to get a few extra bucks about a decade ago, has now developed into a full-fledged community, whereby you can offer services in various fields and making tons of money that can, if you’re successful, even earn you more than your monthly salary and eventually let you quit your day job. In other words, freelancing has become more like entrepreneurship nowadays.

Dave Schools, co-founder of Hopin and a writer at heart, stated that if you work full-time in one company, “You’re also putting all your income eggs in one basket, you could be let go at any time, it’s outside of your control, and it’s ultimately fragile.”

So if you’ve recently been let go by your ex-employer, it’s a good time for you to identify the skills you’re good, at and look for freelance opportunities to offer your services and earn money from home, at least until you get another full-time employment opportunity.

Organise your finances

The transition phase between any two jobs is the best time to reorganize your finances. Maybe you’ve been spending too much on one activity and too little on something more productive. Maybe you’ve been wasting money on stuff you don’t really need or don’t even enjoy, just because that stuff or activity has become ‘tradition’. It could also be that you have a small and payable debt that you’ve been avoiding just because you didn’t have the time to look into the details when you were employed. Perhaps you’ve been saving up but haven’t checked on your bank balance in a very long time to see how much you’ve been able to pile up so far.

Along with refreshing your mind, a glitch in career could also be a good time to de-clutter other things. Looking into your finances could be a way to reshape the way you spend money, based on your current situation and needs.

Now, I do understand that this is not an enjoyable task to do. But it is better to do this while we have the time, than to keep on juggling with our budget, expenses and debts while working for years.

As mentioned by Qbera in one of their articles, “Budgeting is not easy and certainly not the most interesting of tasks.”

Connect back with your family

It goes without saying that if you’re unemployed, a freelancer, or a startup entrepreneur, you get way more time to spend at home and with your family than when you’re working under full-time employment in a company, or when your own business begins to take off.

A very good way to utilise the time when you’re facing a glitch in your career is to spend quality time with your family members. A healthy family unit is the greatest means for motivation, personal satisfaction and overall wellbeing. No matter how much we try to maintain a work-life balance during our jobs, the weight is usually heavier on the work side, as we strive to meet deadlines and achieve the assigned targets.

According to Niklas Göke, a passionate writer, “Life consists entirely of tradeoffs.”

Who knows spending more time with family helps you gain valuable insights into your own self, enabling you to come up with some awesome opportunity to explore for yourself?

Start your own business

Okay, here’s a big one. Start your own business. Before you start screaming that you’re not a businessman, you cannot do this, you were not made to do this, you don’t have the funds, or you really just need a job for a steady source of income at this point of time, let’s all take a deep breath.

Done? Okay, now let me say it again. Start your own business! Oops!

It’s true that businesses take time to take off. But it has gotten easier now than ever before, as more and more people are looking for financial freedom.

Camilla Kristiansen, a mentor and author of many Amazon books, states, “No one is an overnight success.”

The initial costs of starting a business have significantly reduced in today’s day and age. Instead of renting an expensive office space, spending hefty amounts on billboard or television advertisements, and hiring too many full-time employees, a more cost-effective way to get a business started is to begin work from home, hire skilled freelancers to allocate tasks, and use digital platforms to promote your services. In other words, you’re basically starting a freelance business.

Once you are able to establish a sustainable stream of income, you can gradually move on to having a proper office, hiring people on permanent employment contracts, and expanding your advertisements to the more costly media.

Let me wrap this up for now, and I’ll be back with more later. The point is, whatever life throws at you, there’s a way to turn it into a productive outcome. So if your career hasn’t been too good in 2019, let’s enter 2020 with the mindset that whatever happened was actually to give you a chance to make things better for yourself now than ever before.