Choosing a career path is an important life choice, but sometimes that road changes as we travel it.  So many factors can have an impact on your career and many of them are unavoidable. Hitting a career setback can make or break us, depending on our outlook and drive.  

Some people may not handle this setback well and blame the system, the company, or others.  The ones who can take the setback and turn it around by figuring out how to improve their situation and make themselves better will be the successful.  And out of this trial by fire is sometimes born a new idea.  

Why continue to plug away for someone else when you can start your own small business?  An idea with a passion and drive to succeed behind it can prosper and become something great.  The first few years could be tough, but if you believe in yourself and your idea, you can make it work.

A new business will take time, commitment, energy, and resources.  Before you commit, make sure your business idea is feasible.  Your business idea should cater to a market demand or need.  Make sure to ask yourself honest, tough questions about whether you can market your idea well enough to entice consumers away from possible competitors.

Think about your ability to solve problems and get past hurdles on your own or with limited resources. These skills will be necessary to keep your business alive.  You may not even turn a profit for the first few years, so you need to be prepared financially as well.

Being your own boss can be exhilarating.  Office politics and hierarchy can be a thing of the past, and you can often make your own schedule.  But remember, you will also be responsible for all the little things and menial tasks that you might not have had to worry about before.

Once you have a great idea and get mentally prepared, you can start making a business plan.  Do research to find out what resources you will need to start your specific business.  Make sure you pick a niche that you can focus on to set you apart from other businesses in your market.  Then document your business’ objectives and goals for the short and long term. Write down your strategies for achieving those goals and which resources you will need to use in the process.  

Figure out an appropriate, but clever name for your business that will let people know what you are offering and make you stand out from the crowd.  Your name can be your best marketing tool.

Once you choose a name, you will be able to take care of important business-related paperwork.  Insurance, licensing, and permits will all require your business information once you get it in order.  

You will also be able to set up a website.  A business website is an excellent and necessary tool for all small businesses now.  It will be a great marketing tool, a way for clients to locate you, and an easy way for them to pass your information on to friends.  You can also set up client appointments and list new products or merchandise via your business website. There are several ways you can go about setting up a website- for help, you can go here.

Starting a business will be hard work, but achieving the goal of working for yourself after a career setback will be ultimately rewarding.  Just do not give up!

Photo via Pixabay by Pixeldimensions

One day, I dream of living in a world where women no longer have to ask the painful question, “How do I deal with sexism in the workplace?” From sexism to sexual discrimination to harassment or event assault, many women are unfortunately experiencing some very negative situations at the hands of their male coworkers.

In the real world, those terrible sexual harassment training courses they make you watch when you start a new job are of unfortunately little help. Meanwhile, sexism is more of a gray area; it is even trickier to define, and difficult to pinpoint or to deal with when it happens. Sexism and sexual harassment might be overt (out in the open) or covert (sneakier, more casual and possibly even more harmful).

If this is happening to you right now, you might be wondering what you can do about it. First, know your rights. Research the local laws in your area. Read your employee handbook. Talk to your human resources department, if you have one. It might also be a good idea to seek support outside of your workplace, whether from a trusted friend or relative, counselor, therapist or even a support group.

Next, you can start by speaking up. If it is safe for you to do so, ask the offender why they treated you that way. This makes them own their behavior. Don’t be afraid to report the incident to your local human resources team, if your company has one. Don’t be embarrassed; this is literally part of their job. It’s what the human resources department is there for.

A third (and crucial) step is to find your allies in the workplace. If you work in a supportive work environment, you will be able to find people who will take your side. If there are other women in your workplace, it is especially important to ask them about their experiences. There is a chance you’re not the only person experiencing sexism or sexual harassment. These conversations might be difficult, but they can be very revealing about the company culture.

In an ideal world, our offices are safe spaces where we spend upwards of 40 hours per week surrounded by a team of people that supports our professional advancement, helps us problem solve, trusts us with decision making, places us in positions of power and change, and provides pay equivalent to that of our male counterparts. Unfortunately, this is simply not a perfect world (far from it). Sadly, many women are experiencing sexism in the workplace first hand – yes, even now.

If this story sounds familiar to you, know that you are not alone. There are things you can do to combat sexism in the workplace. Together, we can build a world where women no longer deal with these painful situations at work – or anywhere else.

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by jamesoladujoye

If you have a disability but are still able to perform work, there are some things you need to know about your rights. Discrimination against individuals with disabilities is prohibited by the Americans with Disabilities Act, yet every year, many Americans find it difficult to find gainful employment due to their disability, and still more individuals face discrimination when it comes to landing a promotion or even keeping their job.

In order to be protected under the ADA, one must have a disability that severely impacts everyday functions, such as speaking, seeing, hearing, walking, or breathing. The individual also must be qualified to maintain their position in the workplace via education or experience, and while an employer can make the decision to let you go if you are not qualified, they cannot fire you for not being able to perform tasks that are unessential to your job description.

Here are some of the best tips on how to become familiar with your rights and what to ask of your employer.

Know what constitutes discrimination

Discrimination can be any of the following:

  • Citing your disability as the reason for firing, not hiring, not giving you a promotion, changing or withholding benefits, and layoffs.
  • Harassment based on your disability.
  • Asking about your current or previous medical conditions.
  • Allowing the workplace to become or stay physically difficult for you to maneuver in.
  • Refusing reasonable accommodations.

Reasonable accommodations

Many individuals with a disability are unsure of what they can ask from their employer regarding accommodations for their needs. As long as these accommodations make it easier for you to get your job done and don’t create a momentous expense for the employer, it’s perfectly acceptable to ask for these changes. These can include:

  • Working out a schedule that accommodates your needs
  • Providing equipment or software that allows you to do your job, such as a phone with large buttons
  • Adjusting training materials for your needs
  • Providing interpreters
  • Health and disability insurance
  • Job protection

Medical needs

An employer cannot interfere with your medical needs–such as requiring an oxygen tank–and they cannot ask you to have a medical examination prior to gaining employment unless that is a condition that all employees must face. If you do have an exam and it shows without a doubt that you can perform the job with no impairment, the employer cannot deny you the job on the basis of that medical exam.


Many individuals with disabilities are afraid of voicing their concerns for fear of retaliation by their employer. However, you have the ADA on your side. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you feel you’re being discriminated against, because you may be helping someone else who is experiencing the same thing.

What to do

If you believe you have been the victim of discrimination due to your disability, it’s important to keep a log of exactly what was said and done and contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission within 180 days. Be thorough and detailed in your notes and, if possible, speak to potential witnesses to see if they would be willing to back you up during an investigation. If the EEOC finds wrongdoing, you could be entitled to backpay, a reinstatement of your job, or payment for your legal fees.

Remember, you have the right to a fair job and a workplace that allows you to do that job in a safe way. If you feel that you have been discriminated against, there are laws in place to protect you and your livelihood. Speak up and make your voice heard; you may be helping someone who can’t use their own voice.

Photo via Pixabay by Unsplash