Owning your Career even in a Crises

There is no one living on earth currently whose world has not been upended one way or another (unless you literally live under a rock) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A few months ago, who would have thought that you would have time, no scratch that, too much time on your hands?

Remember at the beginning of the shutdown you talked endlessly about how the shutdown was necessary for the survival of the whole world, your mental health and how it would even give you some time to strategize, plan out your career path and become the success you always knew you were.

Fast forward to today, you are working from home (hopefully, that is if you have not lost your job), and you seem to have a steady supply of increasingly alarming pandemic related messages come in. So where is that burst of inspiration, those plans and strategies you were so sure you could develop if only you had the time?

Sure, the lockdown might seem to go on forever, but if you do not want to look back and have it seemed like a blur of never-ending panic, you have to ignore the crisis and stir up productivity.

Now guess what, productivity without any pressure to perform can help keep the panic away. Most people have a list of things in their heads that they would do if only they had the time. Go through yours and write down things you’d like to accomplish in the coming days. If you do not have any, here are some ideas.

1 Freelancing: Pursuing freelance, project-based, contract opportunities in your area of strength zone and innate skills, this would help you brush up on your skills, expose you to new industry perspectives and could get you recommendations too, so pitch yourself, volunteer if possible (for the first project) then gain entry into the system and soon your services might be sought out more often.

2 Share your expertise online: If you love your job or you simply want to increase your level of visibility, sharing your expertise online through webinars or even uploading relevant content would boost your professional credibility and demonstrate your competence which would go a long way in improving your network and landing you more opportunities, so it’s a win-win idea.

3 Start a passion project: Not everyone is lucky enough to call their career or job their passion, but everyone has a passion. Utilize this time to build on your passion and create marketing materials to introduce your ideas to the world. Maybe you wanted to be a fitness trainer but auditing did not give you time, put on those gym shoes, and start training.

4 Learn a new skill: While it can be very difficult to learn something new while you’re trying to meet deadlines at work, once there is a will there is a way. There are lots of ways to teach yourself, with blogs, apps, and online courses at your fingertips. If you learn a useful skill while away from the office, you will return to what may be a difficult job market with an advantage that may come in handy.

5 Build your Network: You might think this is something you can sit down and do in one day, I am sorry to break it to you, it’s not. You see, that time and data you spend languishing on social media, watching all the COVID-19 news and generally working yourself up to a heart attack, utilize it by optimizing your LinkedIn, getting recommendations, even hitting up with old colleagues and find ways you can be of value to them.

6 Build your professional development strategy: Settle down and strategically plan your career path. You can work with a career transition strategist like myself to help you on objectively accessing your skills and lucrative career paths you can chart for yourself, update your resume and LinkedIn profile, do mock interview sessions, research and map out the companies that you would love to apply in, do everything within your power to prepare to show that you are of unique value to whatever company you apply to.

7 Be kind: While it can be easy to become selfish and look out for only yourself. Practice kindness on a daily basis, home alone, or not. Check-in on your family, friends, neighbours, and co-workers. We are advised to ‘socially-distance’ not ’emotionally distance’.

Most assuredly life after COVID-19 will come and we will come out better not bitter

This article was contributed by: Ijeoma Nkwonta