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How To Take Off In Your Career Despite Resistance

Written by: Dr. Helen Ofosu, Executive Contributor

Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.


I've been on countless flights over the years, but somehow, I'd never really thought about the fact that planes take off facing into the wind. The fact that planes take off against the wind is an appropriate and valuable metaphor for many life events.

Male Manager Shaking Hands With Female Applicant

Getting and starting a new job, launching a major project, or making a meaningful change often feels difficult to navigate. Sometimes it feels like a treacherous road; and it can be as unsettling as turbulence. It's as though some hidden obstacles and pressures keep pushing us back and making it harder to accomplish our goals. The gravity of how hard this is can keep many people down and unable to find the means to take off in their professional lives and other endeavors. Clinical Psychologists help people manage "emotional turbulence." As an Organizational Psychologist who offers coaching, I help people navigate around workplace obstacles, help to direct the take-off of their careers, and, more importantly, to make those transitions as smooth as possible to ensure that my clients land safely in the right work roles.

Five Times to Overcome Workplace Obstacles, Despite Resistance

1. Overcoming Underemployment

When we have been underemployed or overqualified for too long, we can adopt a mindset that makes it feel like our circumstances are permanent. We can falsely believe that our jobs are what we deserve and all that we can accomplish. Moreover, getting others to see us in a different light can be hard when we've been pigeonholed for a while.

2. Bouncing Back After Termination or Being a Scapegoat When we have been a workplace scapegoat or even fired, our confidence is often at an all-time low. To make matters even more complicated, finding suitable job references that will enable us to get our next position can be awkward and challenging. These circumstances can feel very hard to overcome. But it is possible with some strategic and creative thinking combined with hard work. These setbacks are in the big leagues, so some support from experienced professionals (e.g., an employment lawyer, career advisor, and a therapist to help you recover) will be helpful.

3. Getting Away from a Toxic or Difficult Work Environment

When we are worn down from ongoing harassment or bullying at work, it is usually difficult to have the emotional energy to find a new job. Moreover, when our circumstances deplete us, we may not show up as the best version of ourselves while interviewing for a new job. In my experience, one solution is working with someone like me who understands the key issues and will help you – and future employers – see your value. This is especially impactful when my clients are skilled and experienced but have been treated as though they are poor performers. I work with my clients to ensure that their job applications and answers to interview questions demonstrate that they have made worthwhile contributions in the past and can continue to do so in the future.

4. How to Climb Back up After Falling Over a Glass Cliff The glass cliff is a specific type of career setback that typically happens to women or minorities/racialized people. It is complicated because it often happens in high-visibility situations. Depending on your role, you may benefit from career coaching and other integrated services to help repair your reputation. In some cases, even legal action is a smart way to quietly get the support that you deserve to move on with dignity. 5. Self-Doubt and/or Fear of Failure. No pun intended, but many clients say that taking off or switching directions in their careers comes with a real fear of crashing. No one wants their livelihood threatened or to experience a failure to launch. This is often the biggest obstacle: the resistance created by our own doubts and the internal pressure we place on ourselves. This can be offset by adopting certain mindsets and tackling the impostor syndrome.

These five common workplace obstacles feel significant and can make it seem like there's no way forward to a better work situation. In reality, however, just as a plane can take off against the wind, motivated people with the right tools, systems, and support in place can safely launch or relaunch their careers.

If you enjoyed this article, visit my website to find out more ways to become more resilient in your career.

Follow me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and visit my website to find more ways to become more resilient in your career.


Dr. Helen Ofosu, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine

Dr. Helen Ofosu has been practising Industrial / Organizational Psychology (also known as Work or Business Psychology) in the public and private sectors for almost 20 years. In addition to Career and Executive Coaching, her specialties include the assessment and development of leadership skills, and navigating the complex issues of workplace bullying, harassment, diversity and inclusion. Dr. Ofosu is one of the founding officers of the Section on Black Psychology, Canadian Psychological Association and she’s thrilled to have written a new book “How to be Resilient in Your Career: Facing Up to Barriers at Work” that will be published by Routledge in February 2023.



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