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Career Planning during the pandemic

Alongside caring responsibilities, worrying about your family and friends – and anxiety at the hardship unfolding across the planet – you may be finding that this lockdown period is causing you to reflect on your career choices and look more closely at career planning.

Whether you are currently furloughed or working from home, if your business has dried up or you are busier than ever, the crisis is causing many of us to ponder how to navigate these uncharted waters.

Erica Sosna is a career coach and the creator of The Career Equation. Her company, Career Matters, has been advising individual professionals and global firms on career navigation for the last 5 years.

Here are some of her top tips and tools to help you focus on career planning during the pandemic and to keep taking action.

In every crisis is an opportunity

Without doubt, some sectors have been very badly hit by the crisis. Travel, leisure, entertainment, the restaurant and hospitality sector… all of these are at a standstill.

However, there are also companies that are coming on leaps and bounds, that provide important things for this time. Independent food delivery, cloud computing, telecoms, supermarkets and healthcare.

If you are concerned about how your role and company will fare in the coming weeks – or you are considering a move; take time to look at how your expertise might transfer over to a role in an industry that has had a significant boost in the last few weeks.

A colleague in a start up that focuses on technology for home working has had a leap in his turnover that he anticipated would have taken 5 years to achieve. Likewise, our local farmer market provider, The Sussex Peasant, has been overwhelmed by demand for their local food, which they sell from the back of a horse truck in various parks around Brighton and Hove.

Similarly, if you are freelance, this might be a chance to consider a pivot or a reposition of your work. I’m working with a number of freelance consultants, speakers and coaches across the leadership, recruitment and learning design spaces, to help them launch their online course, pivot their offer or reposition and discover their niche.

Work can really work

You may be finding that in spite of the quality time you may now have on your hands, you are starting to recognise all the benefits that work brings you.

Apart from financial stability, work provides us with a sense of our own identity, a way to contribute, a social network and a space for learning and interaction.

While it is great that we have begun to master the tech to work remotely, sometimes for the first time, and we have all benefited from fresher air from reduced travel, it maybe that you are getting the feeling that actually it will be rather nice to be at work. Take time to capture these realisations.

Gratitude and appreciation are valuable for mental health and will bring you a renewed vigour when our new normal is restored.

Not everything has stopped – career changes can still be made

It’s easy to assume that everyone is either furloughed or working from home or in the essential services and rushed off their feet in service of our health and safety.

Whilst we all owe a debt of gratitude to the latter group, this is not the whole story. If you are thinking about a career change, you may be interested in taking a role a business that is continuing to run from home.

Perhaps an online retailer or a virtual services company that might deliver cards, flowers, luxury goods, a bit of pampering or a service that continues unhampered such as insurance or online advice.

In my conversations on linked in with both recruiters and professionals, I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the number of people who are still pursuing their career goals and making changes or taking on new roles in this climate.

If your goal for 2020 was to make a career shift, don’t give up – though much has slowed down in the current hiatus, there is still a lot of business taking place… so stay focused with your eyes on the prize.

For more information and advice on career design, check out the Career Matters. They are also offering a number of free web classes for career changers.

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