By: Cynthia Hayward
The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a variety of crises across various sectors of business. Perhaps most notably, unemployment is at an all-time high and has continued to rise throughout the pandemic.
But this crisis could present an opportunity: Now may be the perfect time to look at your career, assess your happiness and pivot to something new. Of course, like all career changes, this transition should be done with purpose and preparedness -- do your research, evaluate what you are good at, and pursue your next role with intention.
Take advantage of the time
With over 40 million Americans having filed for unemployment, the pandemic has created a unique opportunity to change careers that will not be second guessed by hiring managers, even if you decide to switch from one industry to another. In a normal year, a major career change can be met with skepticism by a new employer and bring about questions regarding the cause of the move or the stability of the individual. Today’s record unemployment numbers parallel another recent crisis – the unprecedented number of foreclosures during the Great Recession. Nearly 10 million homeowners lost their homes to foreclosure, 3.1 million in 2008 alone. It affected so many people that, one year later, lenders were willing to make concessions for borrowers, despite low credit scores and foreclosures on their records.
The good news is, those who are unemployed may have time to really think about this new pivot. With stay at home orders even those still employed but working from home, walking a few feet to their desks instead of a long, daily commute -- may find themselves with more time to reflect upon their career and determine if they are exactly where they want to be. If you’re feeling tired, less motivated, bored or are highly stressed, it may be time to think about changing jobs.
Conduct some inner-self research
Most career changes come from a deep longing to carve a new path in life. Take advantage of this time for self-reflection, asking yourself some basic questions: Why am I in the career I’m in now? Why do I like or dislike it? What am I good at? What do I really want to do and how can I make money doing it?
This could be the perfect time to put into practice your natural skills and talents that may not be used in your current path. Think about your long-term goals, values and priorities so you can approach the career change with intention. This change may bring out more of an authentic self, giving you a chance to approach a new career with more genuine enthusiasm.
Don’t go it alone
Now that you’ve inventoried your interests, skills, and potential new industries, consider hiring a career coach to make a smooth transition. A coach can help identify your strengths and weaknesses, translate your skills to the new industry and seek out any areas that need to be addressed, whether it’s through more education or basic training. A coach can also help evaluate the industry -- who the key players are, who may be hiring and what positions are available based on your skill set.
While COVID-19 has presented a tough situation, crisis is often the catalyst for change. In times like these, it is natural to pause and reflect – evaluating what is important and why it is important. This opportunity may not come around again. Now is the time to do some soul searching, research new industries and make a career change -- hopefully, for the better.