Top tips to manage your career during COVID-19
At some point everyone questions whether they are in the right job – or simply wants a change for change sake, for a promotion or because their circumstances have changed. Most people want fulfilment from their job, even those at the top of their game. Having worked in recruitment and coaching now for over 15 years, I know that most people rarely just move jobs for more money.
During the past 12 months, what I have found interesting is that more individuals are reflecting inward and finding they want more purposeful, meaningful careers. Many clients want to change jobs or set up their own business but feel that now is not the right time.
Is that you? During the past 12 months, have you felt that your job is fulfilling? Has remote working worked for you? Is your employer “remote-working” friendly? As a leader, do you feel happy? (or question if you're meant to be happy?)
I believe most organisations are doing the best they can to adjust to these ongoing uncertain times. Some are, in fact, also recruiting. And those of us working from home with all of the demands, challenges and stresses that this brings, are similarly doing our best. Let’s face it though, it is not always easy.
Here are some of the difficulties or challenges I am hearing about:
- home schooling different aged and ability children whilst working
- interruptions – personal and environmental such as Wi-Fi/network issues
- remotely managing and motivating a team
- inability to create work/life boundaries
- procrastination, lack of organisation
- unhealthy eating
- navigating job responsibilities with food shopping, different lunch times or other domestic responsibilities
- anxiety and worry for extended family members
- stress about covid-10, the lockdown and the future
- fear about job security
- worries about having to let staff go
Can you resonate with any of these? How does it make you feel?
Right now, we have to ensure we are aware of what we can control and focus on that. It is challenging in some ways but we are also prone to put pressure on ourselves to perform to some arbitrary definition of “perfect”. You cannot control home schooling requirements but you are in control, for example, of creating the environment that best serves that in your particular home. You are able to, for example, learn stress management techniques which in turn support your family, or your colleagues.
Transitions are not always easy but that can nevertheless be beneficial.
Employers, on balance, understand that we have all experienced a unique 12 months. As employees, it is helpful to acknowledge that leaders too have worries: about you, their role, the business, the future. We are all in this together, even though at times it may not feel like that.
So what can you do if you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious or just fed up?
Look at what you can do. You are smart, whoever you are. Utilise this time to reflect on your job and what you sense as your purpose.
2. Set goals
You may call them objectives or aspirations. For life or for work. When this is over, what do you ideally want to be doing? What can you put in place to help you towards your aspirations? The easier path is to say it is too challenging but, with small steps each day, with a daily mantra to create focus on your aspirations, you can be ready for the change you seek when we all come out of this period of COVID-19 restrictions.
3. Get to know yourself better
Identify your skills, responsibilities and development so far. Raising your self-awareness will build confidence and help you to identify any areas you want to grow in.
Research courses that you can complete online, perhaps in groups, to upskill and be ready for the next chapter of your life.
5. Find mentors
Talk to colleagues or experts more senior to yourself. Ask them about their career or financial progress, their history and what they like about their job. Make friends with them. Could they be your mentor? Stretch outside your comfort zone. In my experience, most people are generous.
Spend some time learning more about your organisation or the career you want. Get ahead with knowledge especially if your organisation has transparent criteria for progression. If you are a CEO or Director, what do you need to take your purpose and passion to the next level? Will it be somewhere new? I know senior executives aged 40 plus who have changed direction having never thought it possible.
The key is your mindset. Almost a year on from the first lockdown, I understand how hard life is. With an agile mindset, with hope for the future, you can decide to put in place actions that will help you to springboard into the role you want in a post COVID-19 world. And we will get there.
For more about how your mindset is the first step in engineering the future you want, try coaching.