COVID-19 has turned lives upside down with jobs and careers either temporarily lost or perhaps permanently rejiggered. Many have seen their hours cut back, furloughed or turned to the gig economy to make ends meet. In Canada three million jobs were lost in March and April and two and a half million more faced having to do with reduced hours. A Toronto Star article highlighted several cases.
I have had multiple talks with friends, acquaintances and former colleagues about the situation recently who are in the sales and management field. It may be time to think why a career in your most recent role may not be worth going back to. Let’s face it. To take our aforementioned examples, many salespeople do not hit their quotas and hate the targets to begin with. Many have been dragged into the career by winds of reflex and are not inspired by selling. Others may simply dislike the volatile nature of earnings or dislike travel if it is normally required. Unless your religion tells you otherwise, you are not going to be reborn and this is your one chance to live your life the way you want it to be lived. I spoke with Nissar Ahamed the founder of CareerMetis.com who did just that in 2019. He purposefully left a career in technology as a director of marketing to focus on CareerMetis, work on his vision to offer a resource for job-seekers, including this relevant article, and fulfil his dream of travelling as a digital nomad. His thoughts are, “You are never ready. Too many of us often delay the most important decisions of our lives (moving to a new city, asking for a raise, quitting your job, starting a business) until the ‘right time’. Here’s the truth. It’s never the ‘right time’ or the ‘optimal time’. The fear of making a mistake holds us back and this waiting for an opportune or auspicious time delays the pursuit of our goals. You will never be ready. As the Nike slogan says ‘Just Do it’.”
Whatever the circumstance, and this may be insensitive, but there may be a silver lining to being laid off from a job and arena that was not what the heart desires. One study from 2013 suggests 47 percent of college graduates do not find jobs in their fields of study.
If that is the case it may be a good time to walk away and not look back. If you are looking for a career shift consider the following points.
- Firstly, do not panic and become desperate. It simply does not help.
- Secondly, start planning and be resolute. COVID-19 has handed you a lemon? Make lemonade and do not dilute your dreams. What do you really want to do and what does it take? Are you missing courses? Online courses are a good option. These are also available for those who are in sales and wish to improve themselves. Does your resume highlight relevant experiences or skills that could be leveraged in your coveted job? If you agree that you only live once and if you believe that those who enjoy doing something do it well then march forward. That is the type of conversation I have been having with a few people who have called after undergoing turbulence. It is a combination of comparing professional notes and discussing philosophy.
- Thirdly, conduct a no-bias audit of your personal finances and understand where you are, where you will be next month and so forth. There are many free online, free community, low or no-cost governmental and paid professional services to help. Have you availed yourself of those services seriously and methodically? Research is important. Having a plan is important. Reviewing the plan with a professional and trusted source is important and implies you have created a strategy including understanding the deficit in resources and skills you need to overcome. Take account of your transferrable skills.
- Finally, don’t forget to shift into a career and environment that inspires. Do not just drift into another job like flotsam and jetsam.
Ahamed adds, “The right time is now. You will make mistakes, sometimes fail miserably. But, you will only know that once you have launched. You will realize that there is always something new to learn. You will course-correct once you launch. So don’t wait. Just launch. Just do it. The right time is now.”
The bad news if you have lost your job is that keeping one foot in and one foot out of the door as you build, or reclaim, your career is not an option. The good news is that the situation should lead to more resolute actions and decisions. Remember, resiliency is one option. It is not the only option.
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