What to do when things don’t go your way.


Found this today, and it really fit some issues that have been going on for me. Yesterday I found that three initiatives that I worked hard on, put proposals through for, and worried over for weeks were all turned down in one way or another.

1. Event relocation proposal. We have an annual event that needs a new location due to construction. Have been working on a plan for weeks, put it through – am hearing the answer is no and now the Student Association might need to take it up with the new President.

2. Position request. Temp position needed to be permanent – I also asked for it to be raised from a Program Coordinator to an Assistant Director position. Position is now permanent, but Assistant Director bit – Rejected.

3. Construction project. Was told that they wanted new specs, with more people involved in the process.


I’m sharing these personal items with you to show you how I used the above concepts to work though the disappointment I felt as I went home last night.

1. Step Back/Evaluate.

Tried to breathe and replayed all topics discussed in my head to get everything straight.

2. Vent/Don’t Linger.

Discussed the topics with my Program Coordinator, but as I was sharing – looked for the positives and tried not to linger/drown in the negatives.

3. Others

Reminded myself that other positions are being downgraded and so upgrading a position at this time is probably not feasible.

4. Process Emotions.

I talked about my disappointment briefly with a co-worker, but didn’t talk it out too much and I went home (it was the end of the day) immediately afterwards so I wouldn’t linger. I do a lot of internal processing with myself.

5. Acknowledge Your Thoughts.

I acknowledged to my husband that I was disappointed, and felt like I had no power. That when this many items came up all at one time and were all turned down, it made me feel like I would never get anything approved when it mattered.

6. Give Yourself a Break.

I knew that being with my daughter and focusing on her and being in the moment with her, being present would make everything else seem unimportant. So we had a Girls Night.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about.

Well, it has something to do with the “Old Boys Club”. If you tried to read between the lines here, you might actually be wrong so moving forward…

8. See this as an obstacle.

Now we’re talking. I’m all about solutions and ‘What comes next’. These rejected items just challenge me to move in a different direction.

1. Students will probably now get their first chance of the academic year to use their “voice” to get what they want. They will have to take up relocation with the President if it comes to that.

2. Now I need to worry about going through a hiring process. That in itself will be a challenge considering the amount of events this Spring etc.

3. Construction project will have to move to the back burner for a bit and then we’ll just start over.

9. Analyze/Focus.

See #8. Action items stem from solutions.

10. How it occurred.

1. Miscommunication. We thought we pretty much had this in the bag and that it would be approved, but apparently there was some miscommunication.

2. I didn’t do anything “wrong” here. Tried for an upgrade, but there were other things occurring with the division that I didn’t know about.

3. This process was started by someone else and handed to me. I just filled out the proposal as asked, this time around I need to know more about what’s going on and make sure more folks are included who can back me up.

11. Situation can be worse.

Oh yes it can. I was serving as the Program Coordinator AND the Associate Director for 3 years! I am very glad that this position was temp and now is permanent. I am very thankful.

12. Don’t kill yourself over doing your best.

Quote on my wall “You can do ANYTHING, but not EVERYTHING.”

13. Pick out learning points.

  • I learned how to write up some very important proposals.
  • I learned more than I ever wanted to know about SUNY job descriptions for Student Activities professionals.
  • I will learn more about the renovation project now that I’ll be around for the estimate process.
  • I will be refreshed about the hiring process.

If you’ve made it all the way to the end of this – THANK YOU. I hope that you can take the graphic above and hopefully put it to use for yourself. Feel free to let me be that person you vent to, acknowledge or analyze with. It can certainly help to have someone from “the outside” hear your thoughts.

I wish you luck  – Know that your work is valuable!

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2 thoughts on “What to do when things don’t go your way.

  1. Thanks for your encouragement, Jen! Disappointment, especially at work, can be tough. I can totally relate, friend.

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