Career Advancement: Moving past a negative career experience

Career Advancement: Moving past a negative career experience

Amy Simpson | December 2, 2020

Career advancement is full of ups and downs; unique challenges present in every industry and the insurance space is no exception. The unfortunate fact is work environments change–making those companies and organizations incompatible with some of the talented professionals who work there. 

None of us want to go to work every day, in person or remotely, for a business that no longer lines up with our aspirations and career goals. There is nothing wrong with a career move; once you have considered your options, communicated with your leadership and made the decision, it is in your personal and professional interests that you pursue a change.

Career advancement can be and will be a challenge, especially if it isn’t a transition you necessarily planned for, but searching for a new position with an industry expert who knows the landscape, a powerful resource to support and guide you in your search, is a wise first move. 

That being said, because we want you to start this next part of your career path on the right foot, these are a few practices, habits and ways to manage that we have found serve candidates well during a job search. These methods will prevent you from bringing any of the negativity you may have experienced in your previous role into a new hiring process.

Time management

Leaving a job you enjoy under less than ideal circumstances, a position where at some point you felt valued and where the work brought you satisfaction, can cast a shadow over new career advancement efforts, leaving this job search feeling more like a chore than a fresh start.

Luckily, there is a simple fix to mitigate this distraction. Take the time to manage your time. Plan for the weeks and possibly months ahead of you, fully using every minute you can. Make lists of what you need to do and keep the information you need at hand, and make time for practicing your responses to difficult questions, especially those regarding your previous work environment. When you structure your job search preparation, you leave less time to dwell on negative feelings, which are largely an unproductive hindrance to your career development. 

Practice is part of preparation 

We mentioned previously that you need to practice for the hard questions. You need to do this because talking about an unexpected or difficult exit will be uncomfortable and some interviewers will sense this discomfort and want to get to the heart of it, whether because of curiosity or a hostile interview style. 

Plan for this near certainty. If you lost your job because of pandemic circumstances, such as your business closing or getting laid off, keep any answer frank and factual. If you had issues with your leadership structure, leave those feelings out of your responses and focus on what benefits you found in the position, what you enjoyed and what helped you to grow as a professional.

Work with a recruiter who knows your value

A recruiter is a resource because a recruiter’s purpose is to know their industry—its leaders, coming and current trends, and the value of its players, from executive leadership to individual contributors. Basing your current value on the value your previous employer put on you could be a massive mistake. Your potential negotiating position might be much stronger than you expect. 

Larger steps toward substantial career advancement are made possible by being informed. Working with a recruitment professional will give the bird’s-eye view of your potential negotiating position, the company or organization you are interested in working with and the industry overall. A recruiter can provide you with an accurate analysis and will provide guidance on your best course of action. 

In closing, a warning to all those considering a substantial change in their career path. It is always a good idea to maintain your position while looking for the next. As a rule, you are much more marketable to top companies as a passive candidate, active in your market. We want your transition from one professional home to the other to be as smooth as possible.


The James Allen Companies wants to help all of our potential candidates find those companies and organizations that best fit their skills and aspirations, those professional working environments that will enhance their career advancement and their lives.

About the Author

Amy Simpson
Amy has more than a decade of experience successfully recruiting experienced insurance professionals. Her extensive expertise and network of contacts has allowed her to place highly skilled and nearly impossible to find candidates in underwriting, claims, loss control, sales, premium audit, marketing, human resources, IT and beyond. She loves the challenge of looking for someone who seems impossible to find. Amy is committed to exceeding her clients’ expectations and enjoys helping people to enhance their careers. Amy has two young children, Noah and Jonah, with her husband Marc. They love to travel and look forward to planning their next visit to Disney World.
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