There are few areas of life that haven’t been disrupted by the outbreak of the coronavirus and the resulting social distancing, isolation, and business shut down guidelines given by governments and health authorities. If your career has been put on pause or has changed, now might be a good time to take stock of your job and the industry it supports.
Unexpected events are good at disrupting routines, highlighting what we truly value and what we’ve been tolerating (for reasons that may no longer apply), and pushing us out of our comfort zones. Use these revelations to explore big questions about what you value in your career moving forward—and how the post-pandemic world might have a need you can fill.
Below are five guidelines to use while you analyze your career path post–COVD-19.
Envision multiple possible selves and paths
You should create and explore multiple career paths and plans to get there. Each of these should be a way for you to get to the person you might want to become in your new career. Imagining a diverse set of possible selves, careers, and futures allows you to plot multiple courses to your end goal, increasing your chances of success.
Embrace the liminal
If you haven’t heard the term, “liminality” is the emotional experience of existing between two states of being—past and future, old identity and new identity. While liminality can be an uncomfortable state emotionally, it’s also necessary for change, and it can free up your mind to envision new options and opportunities before committing. It’s prime time for reflection, introspection, mental replenishment, and creative recharging. Use the time that you have between your “past and future selves” to reflect on what you’ve learned about yourself and plan for the future.
Do something on the side
This may be more of a challenge during current economic conditions and health and safety precautions, but part of making the leap to a new career or job is learning new skills, making new connections, fostering relationships, and acquiring knowledge that will open doors for you. Usually, these would be accomplished during nights and weekends around your normal working schedule. While you may not have access to some resources at the moment, you may have more time on your hands. Use this to your advantage however you can.
Share your plan
Sharing your ideas and plans with trusted family and friends helps with accountability and idea exploration. Sometimes simply explaining your reasons for desiring a career change and your plan to do so can reveal blind spots, missing information, or areas for further exploration.
Prepare to wait productively
As the world begins to open back up to business as usual, hiring will likely be on a freeze for a while. However, this next stage of waiting will give you opportunities to understand the new issues facing your chosen industry and how you can help. Work on a plan for how you want to apply lessons learned during COVID to develop a better business model, or a new way of doing things to establish better viability, stability, or opportunities.