Has working from home given you a new perspective on the work you do? Some of our clients are starting to think about how their careers will evolve after the pandemic, and many of them enjoy the flexibility of the work-from-home arrangement, to the point where they are considering becoming consultants, switching to part-time work, even or starting their own businesses.
You might have to navigate a few extra obstacles if you want to change jobs during the pandemic. But the shifting business landscape has also created new opportunities if you’re clear on your personal, professional, and financial goals.
Answering these questions will help you determine how a career change could impact your Return on Life.
1. Why? Why? And … Why?
Easy answers rarely address core problems. One way to dig a little deeper and arrive at a more proactive solution is to keep asking yourself, “Why?”
For example, why are you rethinking your career?
Because I don’t like my job.
Why don’t you like your job?
Because I can’t do what I’m interested in.
Why can’t you do what you’re best at?
Because the interesting work isn't being done in my department.
Without that self-reflection, you might have started applying for similar jobs at different companies that would have left you similarly unfulfilled. Now that you realize you want to use your top skills more, you have more options. Maybe you aim big and apply for a dream job at a new firm. Maybe you talk to your supervisor about a different position at your current employer. Or maybe you take the dream job at a new company you create yourself.
2. What do I need to improve?
You’ve probably picked up some valuable new skills during lockdown. Zoom and Slack are your second languages. You’re more comfortable managing projects and collaborating with coworkers remotely. And now that your kitchen table is also your office and your kids’ classroom, you’ve improved your time management.
Take a moment to assess other professional skills that could help you achieve a career change. Have you enjoyed being backup tech support during your company’s digital pivot? Take web design or IT security classes. Would you like to focus on marketing now that so many companies are trying to reintroduce themselves to customers online? Get SEO certification or start a blog or newsletter that will sharpen your writing skills. Is your company trying to expand its European operations? Brushing up your French could put you in line for a leadership position.
3. What will the short and long-term effects be?
Weighing the financial positives and negatives of a career change can get tricky once you move beyond salaries and start comparing benefits packages. But the pandemic environment has created a whole other group of factors for you and your spouse to consider. Will you be able to work from home or will you have to clock in at a socially distanced office? Will your hours be flexible? Can you accomplish key tasks with your current home office setup? Would you need to invest in new technology, or even a larger home with a dedicated office?
Your “Whys” should be part of this conversation as well. For example, if Covid-19 and social justice movements are inspiring your career change, you might be willing to make a horizontal job move to an organization where you’ll be making a bigger impact in your community.
4. Who can help me get where I want to go?
Lockdowns and social distancing might have interrupted your professional networking. Reestablish those key connections with a video chat, an invitation to your company’s next virtual event, or a good old-fashioned phone call or email. Getting some new perspectives on what’s going on in your industry can provide vital intel that will help you plot your next move. You’ll also be front of mind if your contacts hear about any interesting job openings.
Joining social media groups dedicated to career changers or specific skill acquisition can also help. Connect with people in the industry by sharing a common goal, and extend your network with people who are in the same boat as you.
5. How can I help other people?
Especially during rough times, it's important to help those around you. Too many people think "networking" is all about reaching up to people who can get you to that next step. That seems sleazy because it is - if you're always taking and never giving, it will hurt you more than help in the long run. But I am a firm believer that networking is another way to help others by connecting them. As well as reaching up, you should also always be reaching out to people who could use your help:
- Mentor a young intern starting out in your field
- Be a sounding board for a coworker needing support
- Offer to help edit a resume for an unemployed friend
- Use your existing network to help someone else get a job they are a good fit for
It's a lot easier to network when you think of it as broadening the possibilities you have to help others.
I shall pass this way but once; any good that I can do or any kindness I can show to any human being; let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
Finally, we offer many services that can help you navigate this important transition. Make an appointment and we’ll crunch some numbers, reexamine your financial plan, and discuss how making a career change could help you get an even better life with the money you’ll have.