Who would have thought that Arianna Grande would be teaching me a career lesson, but she did. It happened in Bogota, Colombia when I was listening to her song “Thank U, Next” during a business trip. Arianna’s song is about moving on after bad break ups, what she’s learned from each relationship and how she’s getting stronger and growing as a result.
I had just gotten the call from a friend who lost her job due to a bad fit with her boss. She was a rockstar too, but the career type. A successful, bright and accomplished Marketing Executive who is really good at what she does. After a 20+ year career in Human Resources as a leader sourcing talent, I know what a rockstar looks like and I can spot it from a mile away.
I get these type of calls from women often. A friend or friend of a friend who lost her job, needs to find her way to leave her job or is paralyzed in fear unable to navigate a tough situation. Maybe partly because of my HR background, but I’ve been told it’s because of my ability to make an instant connection with women and calmly triage the situation to make them feel confident about their next steps. I will always drop everything to help, because I passionately care to help women figure it out like so many who have helped me.
Many times, it’s a bad boss, unfortunate or unfair circumstances that are out of your control. All too often we start out by blaming ourselves. We instantly flush our hard-earned confidence down the toilet and slip into the fear that we will never recover from the situation and that our reputation is ruined. I know because I’ve been there too. It will happen to most of us at some point in our careers and it’s hard to bounce back.
My coaching always starts with navigating the next steps to make the transition as smooth as possible. I help women to plan out how they will deal with the circumstances to get the best outcome. I encourage them to write out their plan as it’s always helpful to see things in black and white to start the process of moving on. I show compassion, but I always suggest things for them to think about or do to move on, because I am a determined optimist and I believe that there is no choice but to figure it out.
Most importantly, I remind them to take care of themselves while they work through it and tap into the right people to support them and practice self-care. Do the work to get to the other side because it’s worth it when you get there. Don’t let anyone else write your story, it’s yours to create and nobody including a bad boss or company can take that away from you.
While you may have thought you would end up at a certain company or in a certain role, in time you will realize that it really wasn’t a match and it was good to move on. Some mistakes that you made and thought were such a big deal really didn’t matter and now you can sit back and laugh about it. And when you finally get that career defining boss or role, you’re so thankful because you learned so much. In reflection, there are people who you wish you could go back and thank because they were an angel and helped you when you didn’t even realize it.
Each person and situation teaches you different things and you will succeed and fail forward along the way. What matters most is not what happened, but how you move on, believe in yourself and become more confident as a result. Be grateful because challenges have their purpose too, if you use them to help you grow. Realize what these things have taught you and your future successes will be greater than your last.
I called my friend and told her to listen to Arianna’s song and then read this article. Ari, thanks for putting yourself out there to help other women and to each of you who’ve gone through a bad boss or company break up, I hope you can someday say “Thank U Next.”