Building your career resilience in a time of crisis
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
As we head back in to a national lockdown, many of us are considering how we can juggle the pressure of home like during a pandemic with our jobs and career. The novelty of working from home has well and truly worn off, and trying to show up and demonstrate your professional ability in this situation is getting harder and harder, and thats for those of us who have kept our jobs.
So how are we going to navigate this going forward? How can we maintain any professional momentum in this unprecedented situation?
I spoke to Claire Vivyan Roberts, the owner of CVR Business Coaching, a careers and communications consultancy offering career/executive coaching, and CV and LinkedIn rewriting packages.
Claire is a Communications Director who has spent time working for some of the biggest brands in the world, Claire uses her 15 years’ of experience in both corporates and in journalism.
Claire helps clients’ rebuild and review their careers, specialising in confidence, resilience, leadership and change, so what better person to advise us on navigating career lockdown.
A funny thing happened to me when lockdown struck. I was solo parenting for much of the week (my partner was still back and forth to the office), overworked (my corporate communications role had never been busier) and I was struggling to draw the line between work and home as they merged in to one homogenous work/life blur.
And yet I felt a strange sensation of relief. Relief at not having to spend 10 hours a day in the office, relief at being able to sleep and rest more, and relief that I could finally see my small children more than I had been able to in years. Lockdown gave me the chance to reassess my professional and my personal life and it gave me clarity about what was truly important to me.
This led me to fulfil a long-held dream of qualifying as a career coach and starting my own consultancy. I’m now incredibly privileged to be working with wonderful clients, all who want to make their own changes in their personal and professional lives.
I know I’ve had a lucky lockdown. But what if you could use this period of time to build something new or make a plan for your next step on the career ladder?
It’s tempting to panic right now. The job market is tough, big corporates are tightening or freezing recruitment and budgets are shrinking amid all of the uncertainty. But this is all out of your control and it’s not helpful to focus on what you cannot change. What can you change? Your mindset. The best thing you can do is challenge your unhelpful thinking and use this time as an opportunity to reset, focusing on what you can change or influence.
Resilience is being able to keep calm and make progress in the face of hardship. We’ve all been resilience building this year! The key to success? One day at a time.
We’re all riding the corona-coaster - some days you will feel optimistic, successful and productive, and some days you will feel like you’re not making any headway on your goals. That’s normal and that’s ok. So keep focused on the present as much as you can and if you’re having a bad day, remember, it’s just a day and nothing more.
However, there’s no harm in focusing on your future. You could focus on plotting and planning for when better times return. What do you want from your work and from your life in the coming 2-3 years? How will this all fit together? And how has the pandemic changed you and your ambitions, if it has at all?
REVITALISE & REEVALUATE
Looking after yourself has never been more important. Your head and your body. Rest, do things you enjoy as much as you can, and try and get outside once a day even if it’s raining. There’s so much amazing advice and help on this topic. The charity MIND is a good place to start.
There’s so much you can do right now to help your career progression. Despite face-to-face being a challenge, there’s never been a better time to build your network online. Make sure your social profiles are up-to-date, and clear about your direction of travel. Who in your chosen industry inspires you? Are you showing up and building a community? Comment and engage with posts you like, reach out to those you want to know more about. All that extra time in front of a screen can be sociable if you want it to be.
Do you have a mentor or a coach? A mentor should be someone who can offer the right advice to take you towards your goals, and I’d advise everyone to have at least one.
A great coach will ask you challenging questions, actively listen to you and empathise with your situation, but will also help you to change your focus and thinking. This is particularly useful if you’re in a rut, stuck or need to make a move to a leadership role or make a career change of another kind. As someone recently said to me ‘it’s cheaper than therapy’ and it’s true that while it’s an investment, you can make progress quickly.
Finally, don’t forget to be prepared for the next opportunity. Make sure your CV reflects your most recent achievements. What outcomes have you driven for your company? What value have you added during the pandemic? How can you quantify and qualify your successes?