Before moving forward with long-term career planning, we need to consider what to think about right now. And act accordingly. For many of us, COVID-19 continues to have a dramatic effect on our job status. As we know, 26 million Americans filed for unemployment wages during just the last month.
High levels of anxiety may not diminish very soon. Why? Because of uncertainty, we may have at least three worries moving forward: (1) Protecting our health and that of our loved ones. (2) Generating sufficient income to address our short-run needs. (3) Maximizing our long-term career potential and earnings to be able to return to normalcy, however that will be defined.
You might find yourself in one of this wide range of situations. From best case to worst case. [Note: Even this detailed list is not exhaustive.]:
- Currently in same job and location as pre-COVID — same pay and benefits.
- Currently in same job, but working remotely as pre-COVID — same pay and benefits.
- While currently in same job as pre-COVID — notified that pay and benefits will be reduced soon. Hopes of returning to full pay and benefits after COVID-19 effects dissipate.
- While currently in same job as pre-COVID — pay and/r benefits have been reduced with uncertainty as to how long. Hopes of returning to full pay and benefits after COVID-19 effects dissipate.
- Job changed to part-time status — large impact on pay, possibly no benefits. Hopes of returning to full-time job after COVID-19 effects dissipate.
- Not working, furloughed by company — dependent on unemployment wages, questionable benefits. Hopes of returning after COVID-19 effects dissipate.
- Formerly a contract (hourly) employee or consultant for a firm — dependent on unemployment wages, questionable benefits. Hopes of returning after COVID-19 effects dissipate.
- Terminated from job, regardless of prior status — no wages or benefits. Must return to the job market with plenty of competitors and questionable permanent, long-term job openings.
If Working: What to Think About Right Now
The biggest opportunity for those in this category is to make yourself as indispensable as possible to your employer. Work extra hours. Take on tasks beyond your usual job activities. Help to plan how your firm will return to full strength in a short time. Be sure your boss is aware of your full value. Make it virtually impossible for your firm to carry on without YOU.
While focusing on the preceding, if you are working now, consider these three issues:
- Are you earning enough to maintain your household/family satisfactorily? With a “no” answer, look into the short-term, part-time jobs available for supply chain work, including delivery services.
- Will your employer decide to make changes adverse to you in the near future, should COVID-19 effects don’t end soon? With a “yes” answer, prepare yourself today for options to pursue.
- Will you have a career-fulfilling position with your company (industry) after the major COVID-19 effects end? With a “no” answer, you must get ready for a job search. Do not wait until later. Start now. For example, the number of pilots will be permanently reduced as the airlines shrink their offerings over the next couple of years.
Be sure to polish up your self-brand to reflect you today. Click the flowchart below to access our detailed coverage of each step. Even with limited time to prepare, you still have the ability to polish up your self-brand.
Not Working: What to Think About Right Now
In this scenario, as painful as it is, we need to set up a plan for getting ourselves back in the workforce with a satisfactory position. When you can stay in the same industry and/or job category, the transition might be easier and quicker than if you cannot. Regardless, fight off your lack of self-confidence and dig in to the job search NOW. Be realistic! And our process described in the flowchart becomes even more important.
Here’s an additional guide:
For this job search, you should determine whether the next job will be transitory or whether it will be career-fulfilling. Switching careers often means starting at a dramatically lower rank and compensation level than before until you acquire additional skills and/or further education/credentials. Try not to get down as you pursue this plan of action. Then, do everything you can to get back your rank and compensation within three to five years.