As uncertainty and chaos take over the world due to the Coronavirus pandemic, unemployment has skyrocketed globally. If you take a quick look at the unemployment statistics, you’d know the health risk is not the only deadly threat during COVID-19- the rapidly increasing unemployment rate is just as fatal.
Amid the crumbling economy, it is not difficult to succumb to despair. The world seems upside down, and it looks like a horrible time to start your career. But in reality, it may be the best chance for you to find opportunities among difficulties. What do we know, maybe these unexpected circumstances will pave the way for new opportunities for you.
So, how can one manage to keep their career afloat in such a situation? You will find all your answers in this article. So, without wasting any more time, let’s get into it!
1. Embrace the Change
As we all know, we are living in a time of great uncertainty. We have faced big events in life before in the form of war, terrorism, and whatnot, but the world is now seeing a pandemic after long. The first step to rise above this situation is to embrace the change in our lives.
Change may be beautiful, or it may not be, but whatever the circumstances are, you have to embrace the new normal and the fact that things may not be the same for some time. In the career-change process, the time between what-was and what-will-be is challenging for most people. Although frustrating, it can be a great time to adjust to the change and gather motivation for work.
By now, we all know that the Coronavirus may never go away; WHO has said that humans must learn to live with the virus and adapt to the new normal. That can only be done once we accept the new reality and start planning our next step according to it. It’s true for career management as well; instead of restarting your career when the pandemic is over, take steps to start it now in this new reality.
2. Stay Positive & Focused
Let’s be honest; it’s quite easy to give in to negativity during this end-of-the-world situation. So to manage your career in a pandemic, you have to keep your energy and vibe positive. In tough times like these, everyone wants to work with an energetic individual.
A study found out that optimistic people perform better at work and have greater work satisfaction. Moreover, people with greater energy and optimism have also proven to be less stressed. So, before you get started on work with full motivation, give yourself permission to process this unprecedented situation, and then move forward positively.
The world is in shambles right now, and the only way to not fall into chaos is to look for reliable facts and data. To see the updates about COVID-19, you can rely on the data from the World Health Organization (WHO). Research on the pandemic personally will bring you closer to getting a global perspective and decreasing stress so that you can get a grip on your career.
4. Set New Targets & Goals
Once you have embraced the change and have enough knowledge of what is happening in the world, it is time to get started with your career. First things first, you need to set your goals in life. See what you expected previously before the outbreak began, and examine your current position to set new goals.
Identify your fears from the pandemic and your current standing. Are you looking to switch your job, are you insecure about your current financial status, do you fear that you will lose your job – find an answer to all these questions before moving forward.
Setting goals will help you keep your composure during the situation. Your clear goals and direction will also be a source of inspiration for your coworkers and bosses. Lastly, an active mindset also helps you on your way to the top of leadership roles.
5. Learn the Art of Working Remotely
The art of working remotely is something that is suddenly everyone’s need, all thanks to the lockdowns and self-quarantine. Learning how to work online may be a need for many people, but it is a great investment of time for anyone in normal circumstances. The Coronavirus has already changed the world in many ways, so it’s reasonable to expect that jobs will probably shift remotely post COVID-19 as well.
Working from home is not as easy as it sounds and can be challenging due to lack of an appropriate mindset, distractions, connection problems, and whatnot. But don’t worry, you can take care of these problems, some more easily than others.
To ensure a good internet connection, use an internet service provider that uses Coaxial Cable or fiber optics for transmission. These connections are stable and fast, making sure that you don’t face any connectivity problems.
For other challenges, these two steps will ensure how you can work remotely and shape a routine.
Implement a Routine
Working from home has a different set of challenges than working from an office. There are countless distractions, and the lack of communication between team members also creates misunderstandings. So, it’s crucial to establish a routine and then stick to it strictly.
Set specific hours to answer emails, make calls, write reports, take rest, and have food. Moreover, it also helps to create a designated workspace at your home and get into the work mode, so you are not tempted to do anything else.
As a manager, it may be a new experience to manage your team remotely, but it does not have to be a painful experience. Managers need to encourage collaboration and activities that drive team performance.
We have mentioned several tools above that help you track projects and the activity of your staff. Schedule Zoom meetings or Microsoft Team meetings with your employees at different instances as well, so they don’t feel disconnected.
6. Maintain a Good Work-Life Balance
One of the drawbacks of working from home is a tendency to chip away at your personal life at any given time. You spend half your time finding the motivation to work, and the other half feeling guilty about overworking yourself. Overworking yourself will also impact your productivity; therefore, it is essential to set clear working hours and take breaks in between to keep your sanity in check.
7. Learn New Technology
Asana, Slack, Zoom – you probably have not heard about this software before, but if you are working from home, it’s time to take full advantage of these useful applications. A mistake a lot of people make is approach work-from-home without the technologies making it easier for teamwork.
To work effectively, you have to master these new technologies and advance your communication with your clients, employees, and team members. They also help you organize the workflow and keep track of the projects and their deliverables.
8. Learn New Skills
The lockdown may be financially damaging to many people, but it is also the period where you have a little more time to invest in learning new skills. If you had planned to learn new skills, this is the perfect time to do so. According to an article by Forbes, here are some of the skills you must learn during this Quarantine to prepare for a post-COVID-19 job market.
Data is one of the best assets for any company after the Industrial Revolution. Using the right data, companies can forecast the impact of future disruptions and can serve the customers better. However, data is useless without data literacy – people with skills to understand the data and use it to make decisions. Currently, people with data literacy have an edge in the job market over those who have no knowledge of it. It’s a good idea to obtain this skill, you can easily do it online!
Coding & Digital Skills
Because of Coronavirus, the digital world instantly became our primary method of communication, work, and business. Anyone with digital and coding skills such as web development is now even more important than they were before COVID-19. People who can code and keep businesses running will now thrive during the economic downturn. So the opportunities for people with excellent coding skills are countless.
Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is closely linked to leadership and is a much-needed skill, especially in such trying times. It is the ability to express and control your emotions. Your coworkers and employees may be uncertain about their jobs right now, so it’s important to connect with them emotionally and make sure their productivity does not decrease. So people with strong EQ will be in demand by organizations of all industries.
To prepare for a post-COVID-19 world, you need to acquire technical skills. With a fast digital transformation, tech-savviness is a much-needed skill. Technologies such as Big Data, Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality help make businesses more resilient towards future outbreaks so anyone with an excellent grasp of all this will be in a great position to work once the pandemic is over and normal life resumes.
9. Become a Team Player
People are usually not at their best when under pressure. They have anxiety, less patience, and less perspective on what others are saying. As we are going through a trying time, it’s important to show others that you are a team player. Find new ways to prove yourself as the best colleague and show empathy to your coworkers.
Help your teammates with their work if they are struggling with something. Provide technical expertise, emotional support, and be a good sport. Your attitude will not only help you, but it will also create a good environment for those around you.
10. Be Flexible
You can have your preferences, but during this crisis, learn to say yes to opportunities that you may think are not good enough. Be willing and flexible to try out new things and step outside your lane to take responsibilities. Take these as an opportunity to grow more and build your skills. It is also a great thing you can do for your career.
11. Endure the Challenges
It’s essential to endure everything and keep going. The pandemic has impacted just about everyone, and everyone is handling it differently. Some people are still hiring, others have cut down hiring and laying off employees. Whatever the case may be, you must learn to endure it all.
As someone said, it’s a marathon and not a sprint, so focus on your long term goals and demonstrate high determination in the face of hardships – for yourself and your career.
12. Grow Your Network
Networking is one of the most crucial things you need for your career. It may be difficult in the lockdown, but there are countless digital platforms you can use to build your network online. To maximize your chances of learning new things, you need to start by strengthening your weak ties as in the relationship with people you don’t see very often.
Seek like-minded professionals online and join virtual events to grow your network. Moreover, there are several professional groups on Facebook & LinkedIn that you can use to connect with people and grow your network.
13. Use this Time to Reflect
In difficult times, people often jump to the first opportunity they see without searching what it is that they want to achieve in life and what they want to do next. With the market slowing down now, you can get clarity on where you want to work next and the type of job role you are seeking.
You can also create a flowchart of your target industry, a particular company, and the job title you are looking for. Moreover, it goes without saying that you need to apply for every opportunity you see with matching criteria but, at the same time, think of the job roles more broadly and pivot when there is a need.
Managing your career right now may seem a little overwhelming as everything is uncertain, and your work is in flux, but all you need to do right now is find an opportunity in all this and take new initiatives. It may seem difficult right now, given the circumstances, but it will pay off for your career in the long run. In the end, remember: the time to get started is NOW!