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Rediscovering Meaningful Work after Setbacks and Loss

By any measure, it’s been an incredibly difficult year for many people, both personally and professionally. The social and economic impact of the pandemic has also been compounded by illnesses as well as individual challenges. 

If you experienced personal setbacks and losses, it can be especially hard to find how to start over. Fortunately, there are resources and a roadmap to help you move forward in your personal life and career. A recent episode of the Transform Talent podcast discussed just how to take those next steps. 

Focus on your abilities 
After losing her job when she had colon cancer, Isabelle Lebrocquy decided to focus not on her illness –– but on what she can do for herself and others. She set up oPuce, a social enterprise, helping recovered cancer survivors finding work. “My dream is about impact, it's about not looking at the disease but looking at the talent,” she said on the podcast. “It's about changing the way society looks at cancer, and taking away the stigma. Look at the talent, and don’t look at the disease.” 

Connect with others 
The collective hardship from the pandemic means that many others have or are going through the same thing you are facing. Reach out for support and offer it to others as you can. “We believe that we can be strong and we proved to be strong together,” said Jeffrey van Meerkerk, Director of Strategic Relations, Sustainability and CSR at ManpowerGroup.  

Reflect on your resiliency 
After a year of challenges, reflecting on how you have endured can reframe the challenges as resiliency and strength. Isabelle Lebrocquy realized that after surviving cancer. “What I also would like to stress is that cancer made us stronger,” she said. “I believe that especially in these times we are in now, that cancer survivors can be of great added value because we know how to deal with crisis, how to stay calm in challenging times, and I think that's really one of our talents in what is happening at this moment.” 

All of us –– no matter job or health status –– have faced difficulties during the past year. Finally, be proud of how far you’ve gone, and what you have accomplished simply by making it to this point.