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Getting laid off from your job can be one of the more jarring experiences in your career. When it happens to you twice, how can you bounce back? And how can a career setback help you clarify and redefine what’s important to you? In this week’s Career Relaunch podcast episode, automotive industry professional Ana Wagner explains how she dealt with being laid off when she was eight months pregnant and once again during the Great Recession of the late 2000s.

We’ll talk about a range of topics including how to avoid being defined by your job and why career detours can give you an opportunity to reevaluate your priorities and gain some healthy perspective. During the Mental Fuel segment, I address a listener’s question from Japan about how long you should hold onto a job you don’t like.

Key Career Insights

  1. You have the freedom to NOT define yourself by the title you have or the company you work for, as tempting and natural as that may feel.
  2. While you may not like every aspect of your job, you need to enjoy the majority of the work you do for a living. Otherwise, it’s miserable.
  3. Being laid-off doesn’t necessarily hurt you in the long run, and in fact, can be a blessing in disguise. Similarly, taking a step down in role and/or salary can actually serve you in many, less obvious ways.

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Listener Challenge

During this episode’s Mental Fuel segment, I addressed a listener’s question from Tokyo about what to do if you don’t like your job and aren’t sure how long you should stick things out. If you’re stacking up the opinions others have of your career against your own desires, I’d challenge you to take a step that honors who you are and how you want your life to look.

I don’t think it’s easy to completely disregard what others think of you, but I’m just encouraging you to take one step that will move you closer to what YOU want, even if it creates some temporary upheaval or turbulence in your life with the people around you. Because sometimes, you have to prioritize your own happiness, which will hopefully allow the people in your life to eventually feel happier for you too.


About Ana Wagner, Global Segment Director at PPG Industries

Ana WagnerAna Wagner is a mom to two teenagers, wife, and proud native Colombian, currently working as Global Segment Director at PPG, where she is responsible for driving global alignment and defining long term strategic direction for the automotive parts segment. Ana has spent most of her career in the automotive and chemical industries in positions ranging from engineering to market development to marketing strategy.

Ana has a Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Engineering form Xavier University in Bogota, Colombia, and an MBA from the University of Michigan, Dearborn.

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About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu is dedicated to helping people relaunch their careers and have more meaningful careers. As a public speaker, career consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch podcast, he shares insights from relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals to more effectively marketing their personal brands.

About Joseph Liu

Joseph Liu helps aspiring professionals relaunch their careers to do work that matters. As a keynote speaker, career & personal branding consultant, and host of the Career Relaunch podcast, his passion is helping people gain the clarity, confidence, and courage to pursue truly meaningful careers. Having gone through three major career changes himself, he now shares insights from building & relaunching global consumer brands to empower professionals and business owners to build & relaunch their personal brands.