Navigating A Successful Career Change During the Pandemic
The global pandemic is forcing many employees to work remotely from their homes. Others have been off work temporarily and many people have lost their jobs entirely. The time spent at home and away from people’s regular routines allowed many professionals to think about and rethink their previous career path.
Maybe you’ve been thinking about a career change for a long time, or at least reconsidering your priorities and preferences. There are a variety of reasons why someone might want a career change. Especially during this time, many people consider making major changes in their life. However, a career change should not be taken lightly – particularly with all the uncertainty the pandemic has created in everyday life and our economy. If you’re wondering whether a career change is really the right step for you at this moment, ask yourself the following questions first:
Do I want to change my entire career or am I simply dissatisfied with my job during this time of the pandemic?
It is very important to think thoroughly about why you feel you need to make a career change right now. Your current dissatisfaction is likely to be related to the reality of the pandemic than to your actual job. Think about how your work has changed during the pandemic and how likely it is that the situation will eventually change to the way it used to be. Do you predict the recent changes to be permanent? Will you be satisfied in your current position as soon as the pandemic is over and everything is back to normal. If you were previously dissatisfied with your career, it is likely that right now these feelings are intensified and lead you to think about a new path.
Am I dissatisfied with my job or my career?
The Covid-19 pandemic has probably already brought a lot of negative aspects of your work to the surface. Maybe you don’t feel valued or undervalued in your company. Perhaps you’ve always had problems with your manager and working from home only exacerbates them. The changes brought about by the pandemic have probably intensified all of those feelings.
However, a bad feeling doesn’t have to mean that you have to make a complete career change. In many cases it can be the specific position, manager or team in the company that lead to your dissatisfaction and all you need is an internal change. Be honest with yourself – do the problems only depend on your current position or would they recur in another area? If you find that you can’t and don’t like your current type of job, or you don’t see a future for the entire industry, you may be looking for a bigger change.
What am I looking for on my new career path?
You shouldn’t focus on what you are running from, but rather on what you are walking towards. Focus on what you would find satisfying and rewarding about the new career instead of looking back at your current job in frustration. Think about what you want to do next and why, not what you will leave behind. For example, you may feel that you are making no difference in your current position. Instead of stopping there and thinking about it, ask yourself what kind of career path will allow you to make a difference .
What is my mental and emotional state like at the moment?
Experiencing a pandemic can affect your emotional wellbeing. Neither of us has ever lived through a time like this. It is quite possible that there are additional feelings, emotions, and thoughts that are weighing heavily on you, and that have nothing to do with the job you are in. Be honest with yourself and try to separate the thoughts and feelings that arise as a result of what is happening in the world from those associated with your role and the industry in which you work. You are making a life decision in the middle of a traumatic event where the emotions are really high. Do you make this decision out of your current emotions or out of rational thinking?
Also, look at your coping mechanisms that could affect your judgment. Are you addicted to alcohol, medication, or toxic relationships? Are you able to think clearly and rationally? Do you panic easily and make impulsive decisions in other aspects of your life? These can all be signs that you should wait and think before taking any further steps.
Am I ready to face two life changing events at the same time?
Getting through a pandemic and rethinking your career path are two major events in your life. Do you really feel ready to take on the stresses and strains of changing jobs while dealing with other stressors that COVID-19 has brought with it? If you switch careers now it can be difficult to find a company that is ready to hire during or after a pandemic.
If you find a new job, you may first work virtually with your boss and the new colleagues and customers for a while. It could be difficult to build new connections and relationships. If you think starting a new career is too difficult or too stressful under normal circumstances, the year of the pandemic might not be the right time to go that route.
Do I have the financial means to support a career change?
You should also think about the financial aspects of changing careers. It can be risky to make such a change during a recession. Do you want to and can you take this risk? Can you adjust your expenses or rely on your savings if you may lose your income for a while or experience a pay cut? If you’re worried about possible layoffs or budget cuts in the new career area, doesn’t it make more sense to wait before making a change?
What are the long-term prospects for my industry?
Some industries are hit harder than others, including retail, transportation, leisure and hospitality. If you predict that your industry will need time to recover, it is better to look for other possibilities to use your knowledge and skills in a meaningful way. Trying to think through all of these questions can be intimidating. It is helpful to write down your responses, review them and see if this generates new thoughts and ideas on how you view your future career. This will give you the opportunity to look at your thoughts more objectively and your feelings more closely.
Once you have answered these questions for yourself, you will better understand the motivation behind your desire to change careers. This might help you gravitate towards staying in your current job or area, or quite possibly make it easier to decide that now is the perfect time to change your career.
If you need help navigating a career change, please get in touch. Our experienced staff can coach you through the process and offer many opportunities, especially in the IT and engineering field.
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