Surviving and thriving when a job goes wrong..

Sometimes you take on a job and it simply just doesn’t work out. That might be due to things you could control, it might be due to financial and other things way out of your control. Whatever the reasons, it can be devastating finding yourself unexpectedly looking for work and trying to pick yourself up to find a new job, often when you are feeling rubbish about yourself and your confidence is shattered. Most people, particularly in television have that gig they took that just didn’t work out, the key is being able to move forward and not let a bad experience define them. Easier said than done but here are a few tips to get you back on track.

Own it 

When faced with redundancy or a contract not being extended or simply the conversation of “is this the right job for you” can instantly cause panic and fear. That rug of stability is being pulled out from under you and the future seems very uncertain. At this time you can make rash decisions, act inappropriately or literally want to shout and scream. All of that is understandable but take a deep breath, hold your nerve and remember to ask the right questions and keep it about the work not about you as a person. Sometimes these decisions can not be about your work, but a commission falling through or a cost saving exercise but ask the questions as to why this is happening. Ask about the process if that’s appropriate and ask about next stages. If you are being made redundant, what is the timescale for this, what are you entitled too, can you get a glowing reference, on what criteria is the decision being made. Often in the shock of it all we forget to ask these questions. Take notes and make sure you have a comprehensive understanding about the process. 

If your boss gives you a list of things that you haven’t done then honestly look at yourself and ask “is that true”. If it’s not true ask if you can have a right to reply about these issues and if needs be include a union rep or additional person in the meeting. Try not to throw other people under the bus at this stage and maintain your dignity and if your boss throws in comments about your personality rather than your skills then you are well within your rights to question the relevance and focus on the questions of whether the tasks are done or not.  


If you are getting a redundancy payment then you may want to take a bit of time out to reflect and plan your next move. This if you can do it can be healthy and give you some perspective. Be careful though as if you have too much time on your hands then you can wallow and be consumed by what’s gone on and the security blanket of the redundancy payment can enable you to do that. It’s what works best for you. The danger often is to jump into something straight away because you need a job and will take any job. Now I know that can be unavoidable sometimes but keep asking yourself is this really what I want to be doing right now. This can be a great opportunity for you to look at what you really want to do, analyse your strengths and think about the types of roles and companies that will showcase your skills.

Was it the wrong job?

In those times of reflection ask yourself was it the wrong job? Sometimes it can be not about the job rather about the wrong team, the wrong company and just not right for you for where you currently are in your life. Acknowledging that is important and you will pick up these cues and red flags when interviewing for your next role. If you look at the type of company, boss and team then hopefully you will see a pattern of why that didn’t work. This can make decisions about your next job more rational and considered.

How do I market myself now 

Redundancy and jobs not working out are more common than you might think. It only becomes alarming to a recruiter if there is a pattern of this with each job. It’s fine to say in an interview I took redundancy as the company were downsizing, changing structure and I felt like it was the right time to move. It’s also fine to say actually that role wasn’t for me and what I’ve learnt is that my strengths lie in …. that is why I want this job at this company. Be careful not to bad mouth the previous company or employer and phrase things in a sense of what you want to do now rather than what you didn’t like about the previous role. Sometimes acknowledging the problem can be useful but you don’t want to undersell yourself leaving the interviewer thinking you are a bit rubbish. If your contract simply ended when it did and it wasn’t a great experience then don’t tell that to the new employer, talk about challenges and how you overcame them rather than how awful the role was. Every job is a learning experience. Sometimes new employers may know your previous bad bosses and they may try and well intentionally collude you to bad mouth them but don’t fall into that trap, keep it positive and professional. It can be a small world and people may know people you have worked with before.

If you feel you were unjustly treated go through the proper channels 

If you feel that you were unjustly treated then know your rights. Speak to a union or an independent legal or HR professional and follow that process accordingly. Fighting for unfair dismissal can be costly and take a long time but if you feel that is the right thing for you to do then do your research and know what’s involved. Make sure you have note, dates and preferably emails and details of why you feel this decision was unjust.

Keep it off social media 

If you feel the need to rant or rave and slag off the company or boss that did you wrong then go to the pub with a trusted friend, preferably someone who didn’t work at the company and rant to your hearts content. The worst thing you can do is play out a tale of revenge on social media.. people remember these things.. TV is also a small world and this can really hamper your chances of another job. What you are saying may be true but think as you should always do on social media about how you are coming across. 

Stop replaying scenarios of what if

This is the hardest thing, you think if only i had done this or that then I would still be in that job.. well the truth is you’ll never know if that is true. Take that what if attitude and switch it around to thoughts of what am I going to do differently in my next job. Also remember your new job won’t be the same as your old job. So take that as face value and don’t predict that your new boss and colleagues will behave in the same way. 

The best revenge is success 

Angry and hurt you will probably play Hollywood esque revenge scenarios on your old boss and company. As fun as this might be it’s counter productive to moving forward. Always remember the best revenge is success. It might be gratifying to throw a glass of wine Dynasty style at an old boss in a showdown in your head but  the best revenge is for you to be happy and successful.. enough time will pass where you just don’t care anymore. So learn from the past but don’t be defined by it.