How can I build back my confidence and motivate a job search?

I was recently fired from my job due to not fitting in with the culture despite stellar previous performance reports. This has made me question my intelligence, skills, and career path.
Asked by Avery

Based on what I have read, the experience you had from your most previous workplace negatively impacted your level of confidence and motivation. Unpleasant experiences can have that effect. Here are some points to remember to help you move forward in a healthy manner. 

Confidence can come from a sense of mastery and self-efficacy. When you have a goal in mind, including career goals, accomplishing small objectives that progress towards the completion of your goal can build that confidence. Career goals may include advancing your knowledge in the field, sharpening the skills necessary to succeed in the workplace including networking, and formulating certainty about the job position itself. You mentioned having stellar previous performance reports from your most recent job position, which shows you are capable of getting the tasks done. It was the culture clash that led to your termination. Therapy can help you be more specific in identifying what the culture clash looked like for you individually, find the connection between what was identified and the job termination itself, and provide evidence-based recommendations and strategies to practice based on what was discussed. 

If there is a part of you wanting to feel more knowledgeable, take some refresher courses or continued education. These courses are present in many different occupational fields to build competency and allows you to establish objectives to accomplish, thus allowing you to develop that sense of mastery. Depending on the type of career field you are in, many require continued education hours. There may even be conference opportunities, volunteer work, and pro bono to help with networking as well.

Visualize the person that has the confidence you seek in the field – what you describe as having the level of intelligence and skill. Ask yourself what that individual would do? How would they engage; what resources would he or she utilize to maintain a certain level of confidence? When you identify those answers, act on those behaviors yourself. This may mean coming out of your comfort zone, and finding the willingness and openness to try something new. 

Dress for what you want, and practice what you preach. These are two common statements that possess so much power in meaning. Look at the importance your field brings and apply that sense of importance in your own life; do not neglect the part of you that feeds into your work. Additionally, practice self-care and a work/life balance to prevent burnout. 

Journal and reflect upon your strengths and areas of improvement. Notice any unhelpful thoughts that keep you bound and transition those unhelpful thoughts into something more constructive. This is not to encourage any false thinking patterns or distractions. This is for you to perceive your situation, capabilities… your engagement in your career with a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. Knowing and building more awareness with your strengths can help you handle your setbacks more adaptively – to accept these setbacks instead of trying to look away from them because it may bring discomforting emotions.  

I hope this information helps.


(Licensed, Professional, Counselor)