It’s important for professionals who feel “tossed about” on the economic waves right now to know that a detour is not the same as a roadblock. The unplanned job changes that resulted from the pandemic have many people dealing with role shifts, layoffs, and changed perspectives on their careers. So how should career detours be handled?

Perspective is the roadmap when career detours change your plans.

Accept That the Route Isn’t Always Straightforward

Expectations hold many people back from getting something extraordinary because they are stuck waiting for something familiar. For example, a person may feel that it’s not the time to start a new business venture even though they finally have the time to pursue the idea they’ve been talking about for years following a COVID-related layoff. As a result, they channel all of their time to applying to “replica” jobs of the job they’ve just left. While that’s understandable, the reality is that every economic season poses unique challenges and advantages for people starting new businesses. Unfortunately, waiting for perfect conditions leaves a person in a position to be unable to tap into the unique gifts of the moment.

Many people are seeing a lack of promotion as a roadblock to higher pay right now. However, being “stuck” in a current position that doesn’t come with the same responsibilities and time commitments as the role that you’re aspiring to creates an opportunity to “do your own thing” on the side in a way that wouldn’t be possible in the “dream” role. The concept of using a time of stagnation to “bloom where you’re planted” really applies here. It is sometimes necessary to create a new path when a roadblock prevents you from moving up in the anticipated trajectory that you’ve been betting on from the start.

Know When It’s You, Your Industry, or Your Company

Identifying the source of your roadblock is essential when your trajectory is stalled. Doing so requires an honest assessment. Is it you? Perhaps you lack the necessary skills or have not yet articulated the value you would bring to a new endeavor. It could also be a matter of your company not having the ability to recognize your worth based on corporate culture, metrics, or pressing objectives. Lastly, stagnation is sometimes inevitable in industries that aren’t growing at the same pace as other industries. You can’t make a plan for moving forward until you identify the source of the roadblock. Once you know why you’re stuck, you can formulate a plan that may include rising to the occasion, getting noticed by a new company, or evaluating your commitment level to your current industry.

Coping With a Diverted Career Plan

While it’s easy to feel shocked or resentful when a career plan gets snatched from your grasp, clinging to what’s “wrong” with the current scenario isn’t the way forward—Hunt for the opportunity buried in the roadblock. If the roadblock is a layoff, it’s important to begin treating time like the biggest commodity because being swift about pivoting to an emerging opportunity in this unique economy could set you up for something big. Suppose the roadblock is a lack of promotion due to unexpected tumult or restraints. In that case, it’s possible to find the silver lining for today while setting yourself up to be the first one called on once opportunities for promotion become more abundant. One of the best ways to get some clarity when your view is clouded is by working with a transition expert. I can help you discover new routes that are unlocked by roadblocks.

Peter Sherer is a nationally recognized career coach who offers clarity and confidence to mid-career and senior executives in transition. In just two short days, his rigorous assessment tools enable his clients to identify a meaningful assignment that uses all of their skills and experience. Learn more and get in touch with Peter today.