How To Keep Your Career On Track

How can you weather the inevitable storms of life and keep your career on track– and dare we say, even thrive? In “Steady as She Goes: Keeping Your Career on Track Through Personal Crisis” panelists advised attendees, through testimonials, how to navigate personal challenges.

[Related: How to Solve the Sponsorship Gap in Your Career]

The panel, moderated by Tomya Ryans, vice president of talent acquisition for Memorial Sloan Kettering, included: Tamara Franklin, executive vice president, Digital for Scripps Networks Interactive; Hon. Joyce Beatty, U.S. House of Representatives, 3rd District of Ohio; and Tiffany Hunt, vice president, operational excellence, business transformation office for Nationwide.

From bouncing back from a serious health condition to divorce and dealing with a spouse’s untimely death, all women reiterated five key points:

1. Believe in yourself.

Beatty, who suffered a brain stroke and fully recovered, says, “In life there will be a lot of hurdles, jump over them. There will be a lot of bumps in the road. Drive over them. You have to be comfortable with yourself. Believe in yourself. That’s the first step.”

2. It’s important to have a support system.

After her divorce, Hunt moved to Columbus, Ohio, with her daughter to begin a new career at Nationwide. “Mine is a story of faith. I was just trying to make a lateral move; not trying to get a promotional opportunity. I didn’t know a soul, didn’t know where I would live; didn’t know anyone, but I knew what was in front of me was much better than what was behind me.”

3. Prepare, prepare, prepare.

“Life is inherently tough, and you have to prepare yourself for these things,” says Franklin, who dealt with the declining health and eventual death of her supportive husband. “You have to have your act in order. Save money. Plan. I didn’t have to wonder what his dying wishes were. They were in his own words.”

4. Positivity works.

No matter your crisis, there are some things you can’t control,” says Beatty. “Some things you can’t change, and you have to make the best of it. It’s not about being angry, it’s about being proud no matter the conditions.”

5. Stay determined and focused.

Franklin shares, “I was lobbying very hard for a position I had in mind. I proactively went to HR to let them know the doors were still open for business. This step was going to help with the plan my husband and I envisioned for our lives. That’s how I can honor my husband.”