How to Take Care of Your Career During Lockdown
🚀 Make the most of extra time in your day - Issue #157
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It probably feels like the world has turned upside down right now. Many of us have never experienced a global situation like this.
I am not an epidemiologist, physician, politician, or economic expert. I will not join the ranks of the armchair experts on those topics.
However, I do understand how this is impacting people’s jobs and their ability to support themselves and their loved ones. I know that it has already disrupted industries, businesses, professions, and careers.
My goal with this newsletter has not changed. I want to help you take control of your work and life.
I want you to own your career path and future.
I’m here to help you successfully navigate the challenges you may be facing in your job as a result of the unrest caused by the global pandemic.
Here are steps you can take now:
Take care of yourself first
Assess the situation at work
Get everything up to date
Start collecting opportunities
Take care of yourself
First and foremost, take care of yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. We are living in an incredibly stressful time. It’s normal to feel out of sorts, angry, sad, or even depressed. If you need professional help, you can receive it online.
I experience a wide range of emotions every day. I’m staying informed, but I can’t keep refreshing my Twitter feed and news sources. It’s too much!
I spent about a week eating poorly, binging on Netflix, and skipping my workouts. I felt terrible. I had to snap out of it and get back into a healthier routine.
Now, every day I:
wake up in the morning at the same time
make a cup of coffee and catch up on a few emails
work out in my home gym for about an hour
eat a healthy breakfast (ok, maybe I have more coffee too ☕)
shower and get dressed for the day (no pajamas!)
sit down with my laptop and phone
chat with my career community (we keep each other sane)
work with my one-on-one clients
plan my future projects (keeps me focused and hopeful)
spend time with my family
get a good night’s sleep
Assess the situation
How stable do you feel your job is right now? Is your employer in an excellent position to ride out this economic storm?
Some companies are in trouble. The obvious industries are struggling already (e.g., airlines, cruises, tourism, hotels, restaurants).
However, some companies in newer industries are suffering too. For example, Airbnb, Uber, Lyft, Apple, and Microsoft have announced that it will be a rough year. Companies are already freezing their hiring and conducting layoffs.
If you believe that your company will survive — or even thrive — this year, then it would be wise to stay put if you can. If your job is safe, then keep doing great work and stick around.
However, if you are concerned about your company or you are worried that a layoff might impact you, then it’s time to get your Plan B ready. Also, if your company refuses to let you work from home even when it is entirely possible, then it might be time to find a more compassionate employer.
If you follow my writing, then you know that I recommend that you are always interviewing. You should have your eyes open for your next opportunity, even if you are happily employed.
However, most people aren’t in that ready state. Their resumes are outdated. Their LinkedIn profile is stale. Their personal website, portfolio, social media, and online presence are dusty.
If you are on lockdown and working from home, you should have some extra time in your day since you are no longer commuting to an office or outside workplace. Use this time wisely!
Yes, you may already be devoting some valuable time to exercise, reading, and spending more time with your family. Those are all good things.
But you should also take some time to:
Document your achievements
Update your resume
Create a great cover letter template
Update your LinkedIn profile
Update your bios online (e.g., your social media accounts)
Refresh your personal website (you do have one, don’t you?)
Clean up your portfolio and add new projects
Update your interview presentation
Practice your interview Q&A skills
I’ll leave it to you to manage your personal relationships with friends, family, and loved ones. I’m talking about taking care of your relationships with colleagues and people in your professional network.
Everyone is feeling at least some amount of anxiety and stress. Reach out to your coworkers and see how they are doing.
Connect with people in your company that you may not work with regularly. Build new relationships higher up and across organizations.
You might be surprised to learn that “dormant ties” in your network can be even more valuable than your current connections. Reconnect with old friends and colleagues with whom you had a strong link in the past (e.g., you worked closely together, you were classmates during college), but you haven’t been in touch for years.
They’ve had new experiences, their network has grown, and their careers have advanced. A strong dormant tie beats a new weak relationship every time.
Strengthening relationships is always a good thing. However, this exercise can also open up potential opportunities for growth within your company and new opportunities outside of the company (if that becomes necessary later).
Being aware of opportunities does not mean that you have to act on them. But, in this time of economic unrest, it would be a good idea to track potential job opportunities at stable companies.
As mentioned above, some industries and companies are vulnerable and negatively impacted by people staying home. Focus on businesses that are well-positioned to survive and thrive.
For example, companies that:
were already remote-first (e.g., Zapier)
have a globally-distributed workforce (e.g., Automattic)
have easily transitioned into employees working remote during this crisis (e.g., Google)
provide a solution that helps everyone stay connected and work remotely (e.g., Zoom)
have goods and services that are in demand (e.g., grocery chains, pharmacies, hospitals, emergency services)
Prepare your wish list of potential employers and jobs. Make sure your resume, cover letter, presentation, and interview skills are good to go. If you suddenly find yourself unemployed, you’ll be ahead of the game.
We’ll get through this!
We will get through this trying time. I want us all to come out of it with greater strength, resilience, and a commitment to living a wonderful life.
We always say that life is short, and our time is precious. But, that now hits close to home.
You deserve an amazing life and a career that enables you to live it fully. Don’t settle for anything less.
💬 Join me tonight on the website on this post for a live Q&A session. I’ll be online from 5 PM to 6 PM PST and will answer as many questions as I can in the comments.
Feel free to share this with your friends and loved ones. This economic setback is affecting so many of us.