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Getting Beyond Career Failure

By: Victoria L. Rayner
Posted: June 26, 2008, from the July 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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Several years ago, when Janet, an attractive, blemish-free facial therapist in her late 30s from Burlingame, California, hit her 40s, she began to experience massive facial breakouts. “Nothing I tried seemed to work. Everyone told me that my adult acne would kill my career. By the time I got my skin problem under control, I was badly scarred,” explains Janet. She knew she would need skin resurfacing procedures, but she just couldn’t afford all the treatments required to remedy the situation. Janet took a class on camouflage makeup and restored her career by becoming a cosmetic rehabilitation therapist.

“Not only was changing direction a wise career decision, but it also allowed me to explore an entirely different aspect of esthetic work the I never would have considered,” she says. “The key for me was that I found a way to turn my career adversity into a professional advantage. Now I am able to get all the treatments I need for free at work, and I can show others how they can benefit from the same medical therapies.”

Coming back

“I just thought of what I was doing as a job,” admits John, a product supplier who, one day, en route to a salon he worked with, was involved in a brutal car collision that almost took his life. John spent months in physical rehabilitation therapy, which played havoc with his career.

“Being incapacitated gave me time to step back and think,” recalls John. “I started to take myself and my work more seriously, and was committed to increasing the revenues of the salons in my region. I started to read up on marketing and retail management. I enjoyed studying it so much that I even took an evening course at a local college and some classes I found online.” He began to offer tips and advice, which gave him an entirely new perspective of himself professionally. Before he knew it, John was given a promotion and an increase in his salary. “One thing led to another and I ended up an operations manager,” he says. Today, John owns a portion of the company after having negotiated a sweat equity arrangement—something he says would never have occurred if not for his career setback.

Go above and beyond

There are literally hundreds of stories of people right now in the spa industry who are currently in the process of making career turnarounds after enduring professional setbacks. One of the most important details for success is a person’s capacity to believe in themselves and to hold onto their sense of self-respect. Think of career failures as nothing more than interruptions, and acknowledge that they have no power to make you an unfortunate victim. Every setback is an invitation to go above and beyond where you had previously been in life.