The disruption caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic may bring about positive change, says Dr. Christian Jarrett. Jarrett suggests that the imposed slowness and the exposed fragility of human lives force people to reflect on their lives and develop into the person they want to be.
Before the pandemic, many people’s lives were on autopilot. Now, the global health crisis has paused your life, including your career. That pause may be the opportunity you need to ensure you are headed in the right direction and reaching your career goals. Take advantage of this slow down to reflect and ensure that your career stays on course by doing these three things:
1. Identify what you like and don’t like about your work.
No job is perfect. With every role, you will find some aspects you like and others, not so much. Take advantage of the down time during this pandemic to reflect on your role and your career. Do you hate data entry? Do you love editing? Do you enjoy managing a team? Evaluate what you like and dislike about your current role, as well as past roles. Think about what you want to do more of in the future.
Don’t let your career drive you. Take hold of your career, and drive it in the direction you want. Identifying your preferences will make your path clearer.
2. Clarify your career goals.
Once you know what you want and don’t want to do, you can establish your goals. For example, if you love to edit, ask yourself whether you want to steer your career more towards communications work. If you hate managing people, maybe you want to consider a sole contributor role. If you are finding that you are not passionate about the organization’s work, consider focusing your job search on companies that align with your values and mission. You have to have a vision or a sense of where you want to be in order to start taking the steps in the direction you want to go.
3. Shape the future you want.
When you can envision what you want and how you want your career to look, break your goals into manageable and actionable chunks. Each step should be realistic. If you identify an action item that seems to be a stretch, break that step into smaller steps. Each step should be achievable. If you feel at the start of a step that you cannot achieve it, defeatism may set in and you may never start or finish the step.
Your goal, for instance, may be that you want to work for a socially conscious company by the beginning of next year. One of the steps you may write down is to better communicate the causes that you care about. What does this look like? Write down a more specific step, identifying ways in which you can communicate what you care about. You might post on LinkedIn an article related to a cause you care about on a weekly basis, for example. By doing this, your professional network will see your passions on a regular basis and come to associate you with those causes.
For those fortunate to have the opportunity to reflect during this pandemic, take advantage of the time. Identify your likes and dislikes, be clear on your career ambitions and shape your future.