What to Do When Life Throws Your Career a Curve Ball

Updated: May 3, 2020

"It is easy to be a good employee when the economy is good and things are in your favor, but you can only be a great employee by displaying value when times are tough."

We are in uncharted waters. For many of us, the world feels like it has been flipped upside-down in a matter of days and all our 2020 career plans now seem like a silly fantasy. Forget that promotion you were dreaming of; now you are praying you can keep your job.

Though the idea of hunkering down in your home with 6 months’ worth of toilet paper and binge-watching Netflix is tempting, think of this as a time to show what you are truly made of.

A professional person I admire said today that “this may be a lesson for us all to slow down.” She might have a point. We can all use this time for reflection and focus. Here are some ways to deal with uncertainty with grit and grace.

1. Do NOT Panic

This can be incredibly hard to do, especially during a global crisis. Resist the urge to be influenced by outside stresses and focus on what you can control. Restrict negative news and other information to an as needed basis. Choose the news station that gives you reliable information and tune in once a day to stay updated. Stay informed, but do not keep CNN or Fox News blasting in your ear all day long.

Remember that many great generations before us faced trying times and those who remained calm and fought fearlessly came out on top. Think of the “Greatest Generation,” who grew up during The Great Depression and won WWII.

2. Move with the Change

Two days ago, I impulsively published a post about the importance of networking. Seriously. It even came with a picture of about 50 people mingling with drinks and with the caption, “Spend Five Minutes with Everyone you Can.” Truthfully, I spent a lot of time writing that post on New Year’s Eve and was incredibly excited to share it. However, five minutes after posting it, I realized how insensitive it seemed. These tips are meant to help other professionals, and networking is currently of little importance for anyone.

That is an example of how quickly life can change. There are things we just cannot plan for and moving with the change is the best thing you can do for your career. Embrace the change and you will continue to stay relevant and useful to others.

3. Slow Down and Reflect

Take time to regain focus and think about how you want to come out of this situation. How can you be valuable right now? There are stories of college kids who are using their indefinite spring break to bring groceries to the elderly who are quarantined. I bet any money that some of those kids will turn these selfless acts into a profitable business someday.

Think about what the world needs and how you can use your strengths to help others today. Think about the present, with the future always in mind.

4. Try Something New

If there is ever a time to take an online course, start a blog, write that book, update your resume, or polish your online profiles, this is it. Again, do not waste this time. It is precious, will end eventually, and may never come around again in your lifetime.

Spend your time like Warren Buffet does and READ. Some great self-development books include: How Successful People Think, You Are a Badass, Sell or Be Sold, The 10X Rule, Women LEAD!, and How to Win Friends and Influence People (an oldy but goody).

5. Show Your Worth

If your boss asks you to go above and beyond normal expectations, you do it. Volunteer for anything you can. Show your worth. It is easy to be a good employee when the economy is good and things are in your favor, but you can only be a great employee by displaying value when times are tough. Be a ride or die. That’s what employers want to see and that is what you will show if you are committed to your company’s cause.

In the end, we are all in this together. We are lucky to live in an era where there are alternative ways to work, serve, and be creative. Use your time wisely and remember that there is always someone out there who can benefit from the gifts you have to offer. Hone these strengths and they may open new doors for you once this storm has passed.

Inspiration of the Day : “Start today creating a vision for yourself, your life, and your career. Bounce back from adversity and create what you want, rebuild and re-brand. Tell yourself it's possible along the way, have patience, and maintain peace with yourself during the process.”

― Germany Kent

Shannon Slack helps her clients craft irresistible resumes and establish career paths. For more tips or if you would like to work with me click below:

#career #business #careergirl #resume #resumewriting #careertips #careeradvices #moonlightingmotivation

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