Whether your hours have been reduced, you’ve been “furloughed” or officially laid off, or are worried your current position is in jeopardy, you’re FAR from alone… 22 million people in the United States have lost their jobs over the past month, putting the unemployment rate at close to, if not over, 20%.
To say that a great many of us have been forced to deal with a large amount of career uncertainty, anguish, or grief these past few weeks is a massive understatement…
But the current situation also offers us an excellent opportunity to reassess our priorities and re-evaluate our career paths.
And there is a lot you can do to improve your chances of finding or creating the career you desire, even now… in fact, especially now!
There are a TON of online career resources available that can help you learn new skills and even switch industries or start your own business.
So, if you were unhappy in your previous position, then an extended furlough or job loss might even be seen as a blessing in disguise.
Now, I know it may sound a bit crazy to consider switching careers or starting a new business right now… but doing these things takes time, and getting started today can put you on a much better footing once the current crisis abates.
Where should you start?
- Take One or More Career Assessment Tests – If you’ve been dissatisfied in your current position or industry but don’t know what you’re looking for, where to turn, what’s most meaningful and important to you, what you value most, or what you REALLY want to do, then taking one or more career assessment tests can be a great place to start looking for some answers, and many can be found for free online. However, it’s important to remember that these tests only serve as a starting point. Your best bet is to find a career counselor or career coach who can help you not only understand the results of your assessment tests, but then help you use that information to develop a career plan that accounts for your personal and professional needs and goals.
- Develop Your Skills – Once you know your goals, it’s time to make sure you have the skills necessary to achieve them. This is true whether you simply want to improve your current résumé or CV, or switch industries or start your own business. Websites such as Skillshare, Udemy, Lynda, and many others offer millions of courses at the click of a mouse – not to mention the thousands upon thousands of webinars and master classes that are held online each and every day – and many of them are free or are being offered at steep discounts during the current pandemic. Even better, you can take webinars and courses one step further by getting certified once you’re done. And, if you’re having trouble managing your time and staying focused, “virtual co-working” with a friend or colleague can help you keep one another on task and accountable while working on your respective projects.
- Keep Networking – Just because we’re all being forced to self-isolate and practice “physical distancing” this doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself socially. In fact, there are numerous ways to remain connected to people and even network professionally without ever having to leave your home. For example, many events are now available regardless of your location or budget, such as the Adobe Summit and Salesforce Connections, both of which are not only being held virtually but for free! And, of course, there is no shortage of professional groups and virtual meetings you can join via social media sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook. The key to making the most out of each of these is to treat them as if they were in-person events. Don’t hide behind your screen. Plan ahead, take notes, connect with attendees before, during, and afterwards, and share helpful information and advice on social media.
And please don’t forget your own personal development and self-care!
The current crisis is providing all of us an opportunity to acknowledge and prioritize the things that are most important in our lives. While our careers are definitely one of those things, they are not our only priority.
So, be sure to take this time to look inward, too…
Are you taking care of yourself, eating right, getting enough sleep and exercise? What are your relationship patterns and how are they holding up during this crisis? How has your mindset helped and hindered you in the past and how is it affecting you now? Where and how are you feeling stuck?
If you’re looking for more hands-on help with these questions, there are online classes that address these topics, too. And of course, a career coach, counselor, or licensed psychotherapist can help.
Things may look a bit bleak right now, but this doesn’t mean we can’t turn the current situation to our advantage, both personally and professionally.
You don’t have to like that any of this is happening in order to accept the current reality, and acceptance is the key when it comes to remaining in control and taking positive steps towards a richer, more rewarding future.
It’s just like the 12-Step “Serenity Prayer” says:
God grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and the Wisdom to know the difference.
So, take some time to evaluate those things you can control and change…
Use this time to review and evaluate your dreams and goals, explore what’s most meaningful to you and what you most want to create in your career and in your life, and then use any extra time you have to learn the skills and make the connections you need online… By doing so, you’ll not only be able to stay focused and more optimistic right now, but you’ll be far better off as we come out the other side of this crisis!
And don’t forget, I’m here to help! If you have any questions regarding your career options, where you should start, or if I may be of any other assistance, please don’t hesitate to contact me at (510) 486-1188 or firstname.lastname@example.org. I look forward to helping in any way I can!
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