The spread of coronavirus has created a disruption that is unprecedented. It is causing us to stay home, reduce spending and rethink our priorities. For April, economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal predict that unemployment will reach the highest rate on record at 16.1%. During times like these, the natural human reaction is risk aversion. Morgan Housel, the author of The Psychology of Money, told CNBC, “When you’ve suddenly woken up to the reality that the world is much more fragile than you once believed, you just have a much lower appetite to take risks about the future than you’ve had before.” So, the question becomes, is this the right time to reinvent your career? And the answer is, absolutely.
The new normal has created a certain flexibility for many of us that didn’t previously exist. Instead of spending an hour or two a day commuting to the office, we’re able to roll out of bed and join our co-workers on Zoom for our weekly staff meeting. Even happy hours are going virtual in order to lessen feelings of social isolation. You may finally find yourself in a “groove” in terms of working remotely. With more control over your schedule, you have more time to dedicate to other areas of your life. Use this moment to take a step back and reinvent your career. Explore multiple options. Connect with people in fields that you’ve been fascinated by but never had the time to investigate. Update your resume and LinkedIn profile. Work on your personal brand. Have you always wanted to write a book? Now may be a good time to start putting an outline together and reaching out to potential publishers. Most importantly, keep an open mind and embrace the possibilities.
The pandemic has allowed many workers to learn new skills. For example, maybe you’ve had to learn how to manage a remote team or present virtually. If you’ve just lost your job, this is an opportunity to change your way of thinking. As author Marianne Williamson said, “You must learn a new way to think before you can master a new way to be.” Maybe you don’t need to work for a Fortune 500 company or drive a Lamborghini to feel successful. Or perhaps you’re a Marketing VP, but your dream has always been to start your own business. Maybe you work in advertising, but you’ve been thinking for years about becoming a life coach. You may even decide to go back to school to obtain accreditations or certifications to pursue an entirely new field. Whatever the case may be, consider different options and evaluate which fit best with your goals, values and priorities. What are your natural strengths, gifts and talents? This could be the perfect opportunity to put those into practice.
Before coronavirus, it was widely acknowledged that careers were no longer linear. One study by LinkedIn found that Millennials change jobs four times in their first decade out of college. This rate is nearly double that of the generation before. Now with the pandemic, it is even more acceptable to reinvent your career. Previously, anytime you made a major career change, a potential employer would likely question it. Now, probably close to 16% of the US population is unemployed, and many will have no choice but to make a career pivot. This makes career change the new normal.
It’s never too late to hit the reset button and reinvent your career. Look at self-made millionaire Barbara Corcoran. After achieving her goal of becoming the “queen of New York real estate” and selling her company for $66 million in 2001, Corcoran is now a TV personality, business expert and judge on ABC’s Shark Tank. Then there’s J.K. Rowling. For years she worked as a teacher, at the Chamber of Commerce and as a bilingual secretary and researcher at Amnesty International. Then, on a train ride in 1990, she suddenly came up with a story about a young boy Wizard and his friends—and the rest was history.
With crisis comes opportunity. Give yourself permission to pursue the life you have always wanted. Approach your career with a renewed enthusiasm. Your authentic self will thank you for it!