Unforeseen life events often make us unaware and displace us from our comfort zones. It makes us think of things that matter and those that don’t. That’s the reason why the coronavirus pandemic has left a majority of people wondering whether they are in the right careers or not.
But is this really the time to think about changing your career? Whether you are lucky enough not to have gotten sick, taking care of your loved one, or lost your job for one reason or the other – this pandemic has made life very unpredictable.
The whole situation caught most of us off-guard in many ways – both financially, socially, and psychologically. The situation has left many people threatened and according to psychologists, human beings are prompted to act conservatively by threatening situations.
So how can people balance the most pressing needs to guarantee survival? The lessons we have learned from this pandemic have prompted many people to think beyond tomorrow. They are trying to come up with solutions for uncertain circumstances.
We have been researching career change for the past 20 years – a period that has seen significant technological changes. Many countries have also experienced major financial difficulties and the major highlight for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Throughout that period, we have learned a lot when it comes to dealing with difficult situations. There are a few principles that can be beneficial for people trying to reinvent their careers.
Create many possible selves
When you are not sure of what the future holds or when the direction you thought was the perfect one turns out to be contrary, it makes more sense to have a diverse portfolio. You don’t have to keep pushing things that seem not to move.
However, it is important to not easy to change careers, especially if you have entered what is known as a comfort zone. Career change is a messy but necessary journey that everybody must travel. But you have to ensure that you do it right in order to come out successful.
Possible shelves refer to ideas that most of us have with regard to what we would want to become. Some are well-established while others are vague and imaginary. Some are appealing while some are boring. You need to find a way of settling on several shelves that will stand the test of time.
Accept the “liminal” period
The epitome of a career-change process is an emotional experience known as “liminality”. This means being caught up between a long-gone past and an unpredictable future. Liminality is often an unpleasant emotional experience.
Anyone passing through this stage usually feels unmoored, loses focus, and becomes stuck between letting go and holding on. In other words, it is a state of confusion where people are not able to make clear decisions.
The situation caused by the current pandemic has put many of us in this situation. This is because no one is certain when the pandemic will come to an end.
Neurologists suggest that we should take advantage of this stage to do things that we have always wished to instead of fussing and panicking.
Get going with projects
The most common thing in career reinvention is getting involved in something outside your normal operations. This means engaging in knowledge acquisition, learning different skills, building relationships until you develop new legs to walk on a new career path.
Don’t just focus on getting a well-paying job because you can easily get frustrated and lose focus. Starts small and even do volunteer work if possible. Remember the objective is to put yourself in a situation that will help you move in a different direction than you were before.
It is true that the current situation in Dallas and many other parts of the country, where there are movement restrictions can limit possibilities. But this should not be an excuse for anyone. Technology has made it easy for people to look for jobs and work from anywhere.
The role of networking in a career-change process cannot be overemphasized. You are probably wondering how anyone on earth can network in his error of lockdowns. Whether it is speaking to someone at Dallas IT staffing or calling a long-time friend, you need to do something.
But the thumb rule of networking when it comes to career change is to marshal your week ties. This means reaching out to people you have never met and those that you rarely interact with.
Talk it out
In the midst of the confusion that is often brought by career change, many people tend to think that introspection will perform a miracle and give us the peace we want. As much as that may be true, introspection can be dangerous in the sense that it can keep you stuck in the world of daydreams.