04 Jun How Coronavirus May Have Impacted Your Career
A Look At How Coronavirus May Have Impacted Your Career… And What You Can Do About It
There is no doubt about it. Covid-19 has wreaked havoc on more than just our health. Our economies are shrinking. People are divided (social distance or just not bother?). We are just not sure what the future holds for us work wise.
In my own psychology practice I have decided to lean into working with people and their careers as I can see there is massive need for that right now. If you are working, there is no doubt that the Coronavirus may have impacted your career in one way or another.
I’ve worked with many people who are dismayed at what’s been happening. They are worried for their future. People who freelance or own their own business are feeling it too. It’s hard to make sense of it all. In fact, I’m not sure we can. Nevertheless, I want to try. Here are some of the thoughts and feelings my own career coaching clients are having right now. Do you see yourself among them?
Where Has My Career Gone?
People most affected in this category are those who are working in the travel industry. However many newsletters easyJet and the rest of them send out, we are still not sure how the travel industry will bounce back from this. Talks of immunity passports and a 14 day quarantine don’t help. If you are in this position, the big question is should I hang on and see what happens or should I cut my losses and see if I can move into different industry?
My advice, if you find yourself here, is to think about what skills and experience you could take to a different sector – one that hasn’t been affected as much? If you’re at all tech minded, you could think about going further down that route – tech jobs cross into many industries and are a clever choice right now. If you’re in customer service, where can you use those skills to best effect? The track and tracers employed by the NHS would be a good example of a nice interim job.
Why Haven’t I Been Furloughed?
There are plenty of people out there who haven’t been furloughed. They are working away while their colleagues are baking sourdough bread and reading in the garden. There’s a lot of resentment out there.
One of my clients expected to be in the second round of furloughed workers. She thought her organisation would be fair and let someone else take the hit for a while. When she was told that once again she would be working she came to me, annoyed and a little dismayed. Interestingly, she hadn’t seen it as a positive. Why do you think you haven’t been furloughed, I asked her. She then came out with a long list of things she could do that no one else would be able to handle. At the end of it she smiled and said, “I’m pretty indispensable.” And that was it.
She had no need of many more coaching as she had realised that her company needed her. Her job was probably relatively safe for the future. Knowing she was pretty valuable to her employers has given her a confidence boost. Although she still may feel hard done by as she opens her laptop each morning, she can now see the big picture and what it means for her career.
If you haven’t been furloughed then think about what you are doing that is so important? Making yourself indispensable is a great way to build leverage with your organisation, for future requests or salary negotiations. However, don’t back yourself into a corner. If promotion is your ultimate goal you don’t want to be in a position where they won’t promote you because no one else can do what you do.
I’ve Had To Take A Pay Cut
Many of my clients have had to take a pay cut. Contractors, too are finding themselves in the same situation. I think the first thing here is to clarify if everyone is in the same boat. If someone is being treated unfairly then that needs to be dealt with first.
My son was just beginning his working career when Covid-19 hit. He was working for an independent chain of cinemas in central London and had just moved into a flat-share with two friends. it was not a good time to leave home. My worries about him were eased a little when he told me that management were taken a pay cut so that the lesser paid employees (who under normal circumstances might have to be let go), could get paid. I thought this was touching and equitable. This was before the government furlough scheme into place, but was reassuring that people were prepared to do that for him and his work-mates.
Does Being Furloughed Mean My Job Is In Danger?
If not being furloughed means your job is likely safe, you could argue that being furloughed means that it’s not. On the whole, I don’t think you need to be alarmed. Governments are taking unprecedented actions to support their economies and help businesses retain staff. Sadly, however, for some this will be the case, and it’s worrying. The worst is more likely to happen if you’re in an industry that is particularly hard hit. PR, for one, is having problems as it is often seen more as a luxury compared to advertising. The travel industry, of course, is also in trouble.
While the majority of those furloughed will hopefully be okay, I think you have to prepare yourself for the worst. Start prepping your resume and taking a look at what’s going on out there in recruitment. Changed your LinkedIn profile to open. Start thinking about what skills and experience you can offer another sector. Do some research and get ready. Hopefully, you won’t need to act but, if you do, you will be ready.
You can also think about how you could show your employer you are valuable. Can you take a course and get qualified in something industry related while you are off?
What about not putting all your eggs in one basket? Can you take on freelance clients for instance, to boost your confidence and hone your skills. You can’t work for your employer during this time, but you can stay in touch and show them that you are keen.
My Employer Has Let Me Down
Your employer may have acted less that honorably during this time. Did they force you to go to work when you felt your work was non-essential and you should be staying safe? Maybe they refused to let you work from home, or micro-managed you if you did. Perhaps you feel left adrift and without guidance or support?
Some of my clients have realised that while they love what they do, they are not in the right workplace for them. If you can relate to this, get ready to take some action. Just like those under furlough who may be worried, it is wise to be prepared. Another route would be to think about going freelance, setting up on your own. This I what I did when I had a bullying boss in my twenties, and I haven’t looked back since.
Tell Me How Coronavirus May Have Impacted Your Career
I would love you to tell me how Coronavirus may have impacted your career. Please share your story in the comments, or, more confidentially, so feel free to email me here.