When Covid-19 was first declared a pandemic, many were worried about losing their jobs. At the time, those who weren’t laid off seemed singularly focused on keeping their current job.
However, more than a year on, even as the pandemic continues, surveys show that many are thinking about quitting.
So what’s changed?
The pandemic seems to have made many reevaluate their career choices. Some are disillusioned by the way their companies and leaders are handling the crisis and are looking for jobs in companies that are more aligned with their values. Others are in search of employers that support Work from Home arrangements beyond the pandemic. Then there are those for whom this challenging period has resulted in deep reflection, making them realise that they would prefer to do more meaningful and purposeful work instead of slugging it out in the corporate rat race.
In fact, crisis or no crisis, we encourage taking stock of your career regularly. This would allow you to reflect on your interests, explore options that could make you happier and also hone your existing skills or pick up new ones.
During a period of uncertainty and rapid change, here are some steps you can take to reinvent your career for the better:
1. Be Open to a Range of Options
The crisis has shown us the future is unpredictable. Sticking to a single plan would be foolish. It would make more sense to be open to a range of options.
Identify several career options that you could excel in and be open to experimenting and testing. This would allow you to learn more about your strengths, weaknesses and interests. With this knowledge you could make more informed choices.
Careers are rarely linear. Today, more than ever before, your path will likely be circuitous and you should learn to embrace this.
2. Work on Several Possibilities Simultaneously
If you’re currently employed, explore side hustles (if your employers allow it) or cultivate knowledge and new skills on the side.
Many take part-time courses, do pro-bono or advisory work, and develop business ideas after work and on weekends. As you work on several projects simultaneously, you’ll be able to identify which ones are worth pursuing further.
Doing so could even raise existential questions such as: With my skills and interests, where can I best contribute? How do I really want to spend my time?
The answers to these questions will provide you with greater clarity as you decide what to do next.
3. Build a New Personal Brand
As you reinvent your career, you’ll need to ensure that others know what you have to offer.
You must be able to give people a full picture of your value. What do you do? Why do you do it? How do you do it differently? How do you do it better than others?
Ensure that your online profile reflects all of this and reach out to your network to let them know about your transition.
4. Reconnect and Network
Networking beyond your circle of friends, family and close colleagues is an absolute must. As a result of frequent interactions, you’re probably already familiar with your closest circle’s knowledge and experience. Often, the people you know less well have the most to teach you.
Don’t be afraid to reach out and connect with them for a casual chat. Think of it as a chance to catch up and get their advice on a project you’re working on or on how you can gain more knowledge and experience in a field they’re familiar with.
However, people who know you less well may not easily make time for you. As such, experts advise reconnecting with people you were once close to, but have not been in contact with recently. They are more likely to be motivated to help you.