Why This Is The Best Time Ever To Reflect On Your Career And How To Take Action
Corona has hit us all… hard! I don’t want to downplay any fears, struggles and existential challenges so many of us are facing right now but what I would like to do with these words is shed some light onto a dark business / career momentum and share my thoughts out of a recruitment / career coaching perspective why you should actually be using this time wisely to reflect on your professional path.
You have time.
Never ever since technology took over did we have so much choice and such few time to actually make use of all the options that are out there. It’s the first and maybe will be the only time that you are actually sitting at home while knowing your family and friends are doing the exactly same thing and you are missing out on… right… NOTHING. Of course, you can spend your whole day scrolling through Social Media, checking the news over and over again or read about the 732829 conspiracy theory but how does this really help you or anybody else at the moment? I totally agree that you should stay informed but to a degree that’s healthy and gives you the space to spend your time otherwise. Never ever in our lives were we given the gift of time without any FOMO (“Fear Of Missing Out”) occurring until now. Yes, it’s sad to not be able to go on vacation, to not hang out with our friends at the bar, to not go to the movies… but fact is we cannot change the situation, so let’s focus on what we can actually influence which is how we spend and make use of this extra time we received.
What you might have thought of as your safe haven has turned out to actually not be that safe.
German people are on average very security-oriented, generally looking for a job that’s safe and are hesitant to change, if they have found one (hello cliché! 😊). Corona actually brought up the universal law that nothing is as safe as constant change… and humans don’t like change. We get scared because we don’t know what will happen. So far we cannot predict the future but we can help to create and shape it especially when it comes to our own personal future. Now that you already know that nothing is safe anyway, why not figure out what you really want to be doing? Accustom yourself to the idea of being okay with change and actually using this momentum to think outside the box and consider some risk taking as lots of you are basically forced into change anyway. As hard as it is, what if life is actually FOR you and is giving you the most incredible possibility for personal and professional growth right now?
Things WILL inevitably change.
You can stand on your head for the next 3 weeks of quarantine and this will still not stop change from inevitably happening big time right now. Again I don’t want to downplay anybody’s feelings of anxiety and fear. But right now it’s about realising exactly these feelings, really feeling them through and use the energy generated by those feelings by transforming them into reflection and creativity. Don’t make yourself miserable because things are transforming and going to be different. Give yourself the time and space to get used to the “new normal” and remember what I wrote before: What if life is actually happening FOR you and not to you or against you? What if this time is a gift for you to learn to move with change and think about what you wanted to change the whole time anyway? It’s not about never swimming against the current but using the inevitable currents of life and their forces right now for yourself instead of losing all your power that could have been used creatively by swimming against it.
Who are you and who do you want to be?
So let’s get started on how to reflect on your career. In everyday busy life we tend to get into the vicious cycle of work, friends, family, hobbies, eat, repeat. Still people have rarely been taking time out of their busy lives to actually sit down and reflect where they are at right now in their live and career. So take a breath, sit down and ask yourself
· Who are you right now – professionally & personally? (This question can go very deep, so maybe answer the others first and then go back to this one.)
· What are your values? What is important to you in life?
· What were you (not) doing so far to live in line with your values?
· To which extend is your current job (not) in line with your values?
· How fulfilled are you with your current professional situation and why?
By asking these questions you can evaluate your personal status quo, getting a deeper sense of what you are happy with and what not to then either keep it that way or take action.
What is it you REALLY want?
This question might take up some time and space to be answered – and your results most likely will change a number of times in your life if you do this reflection on a more regular basis.
To get an actual idea of what you really want, let’s take a look at some underlying questions. IMPORTANT: Try to calm the inner critic who says “That’s not possible!”, “How should I do that?” or “I’ll never be capable of getting there!” and allow yourself to think about it like a child - as if literally ANYTHING was possible.
1) What gets you really excited in life? Think about 3-4 things – without these necessarily having to do anything with your current job. Let your mind wander.
2) Define what you are good at – also not necessarily in your current job but in general.
For that ask yourself
· What do you have experience in?
· What activity / tasks are you confident doing?
· What have you studied? (in general not necessarily only in school)
· What are you naturally gifted at?
· What are you not so good at, but you are extremely willing to learn / practice more?
Just by opening your mind to those questions you are already five steps closer to figuring out your personal career goals.
Move towards what you want!
By now you might have gotten an idea of who you are, where you are at and where you would like to be. But how to get there? Usually we can only see the way the moment we start walking it. The first step to actually step a foot on that way would be by asking yourself:
· What person do you need do become in order to get where you want to be?
· What skills do you need to develop for that?
· What resources do you need to land that dream job?
· Who could potentially be able to help you getting into a particular industry / a particular job?
When you understood what skills you need to develop the path gets clearer and you can start making the most out of this time by taking action through
· Learning whatever you need to learn by reading books, taking online courses (e.g. on Udemy, an online course platform I like to use), signing up for distance studies, etc.
· Talking to your preferred recruiter (of course, I cannot got without a little advertisement here 😉) what options you might have getting into a certain job or certain industry but also make use of your network and get in touch with people who might be doing what you would like to be doing - also get advise on how to optimize your CV or LinkedIn profile to have the best chances to actually be seen by whomever you would like to be seen.
· If what you would like to be doing doesn’t exist in the world so far, start your own damn thing and if it’s not possible right now (because e.g. your dream is to own a Café), start learning about how to run one, learn how to deal with situations like this one in case you ever have to go through a pandemic with your own business when already living the dream, make a business plan, start preperations... Also check out who already did what you would like to be doing. Create your own path but let yourself be helped by peeking at some footprints.
Even if the world is on pause right now: Companies will hire again – if they aren’t already.
You might think in times like these no company is hiring. This is not entirely true. Obviously every crises has its winners and there are a number of industries which are actually booming right now. Also just because there might be a hiring freeze for two or three months doesn’t mean certain companies do not still need particular vacancies to be filled in the near future. Be patient when applying for a job and think long-term. Go into it with an open mind and without setting a specific timeframe. Applying doesn’t mean you change jobs next week – which is honestly quite unlikely anyway at this point. But what if I would tell you your dream job is out there, you just need to grab it and wait 3 to 6 months to start, would you do it? Of course you would.
Don’t focus on what you don’t want, focus on what you want!
I want to end this article with one of my all-time favourite quotes:
“Worrying is a misuse of creative energy.”
I’m highly empathetic if you just lost your job or are fighting with your company for existence. It sucks. I know. I feel you. We are all in the same boat. Which is why I cannot stress this enough: Feel the feelings – anger, stress, sadness, fear, frustration, panic, etc., move through them one at a time but then release them to make space for your imagination. Unfortunately the only way to get to the other side is by going through. The energy that’s generated by moving through a crisis like this though is intensely powerful which is why I really hope this article encourages you to mind your energy and focus it wisely by redirecting it from worries to creativity!