As we enter a new year in 2021, we also enter another lockdown here in the UK. After all the optimism that the end of 2020 started to bring us, and after what has quite frankly been one of the most tumultuous years in history, it feels like we’ve been slapped in the face and brought abruptly back to ground zero.
Really? We’re going there again?
Well I guess that’s the choice we now face. When the first lockdown happened back in March last year I remember clearly thinking, this is it, bye bye business, no one will want to even think about looking at their career now. You might as well just sit back and give up.
That thought lasted all of about a day though when I quickly realised that (a) I don’t do giving up and (b) human beings don’t just change overnight. We are still intrinsically aligned to the work that we do, to give us fulfilment, pleasure and a sense of who we are. And if any of those happen to be your main driver for work then that feeling doesn’t just go away when we’re told we can’t leave our homes any time soon.
As things panned out I was right. The world kept on turning. People not only had to re-think their jobs and career because of enforced change happening all around the world, but I actually saw that people were actively reflecting on their lot and wanting to make changes.
All sorts of possibility opened up, jobs were still getting advertised and filled and the world continued to value the skills that those in careers bring.
So as we go into 2021 and we now face this same scenario, a physical stop on the movement of people, should it also mark a time to sit steady in your job or career and ride out the storm?
Well, no. Not in my opinion anyway. In fact it could be the best time to start delving deep and making plans.
As a Career Coach who specialises in supporting women to find fulfilling work that fits around their family life, one of the things I have noticed most are the constraints a lot of people are feeling around having to fit work in around their family. The situation we’ve all been through has been a real eye opener for so many of us. Giving us a real understanding of what’s important to us and how we actually want our life to look like.
And for me, as a woman, it all starts with our careers. I believe that career lies at the core of our personal power as women and for many career women when it doesn’t feel right then it impacts so much of the rest of our lives.
So why should 2021 be any different? Could it actually be the year you get hold of your career and make the changes you’ve been pondering throughout 2020?
Here are 4 good reasons why:
1. We’ve learnt how resilient we are
We’ve been through the mill and out the other side. We’re stronger, wiser and pretty much ready to deal with anything that now comes our way. Career change? A breeze. Pitching for a new job? A cinch. Starting a new business? Super exciting. All those things that may have seemed big and scary seem totally doable once you’ve faced a global pandemic in the eye.
2. We’ve had time to reflect
Not rushing around all over the place playing social butterflies has given us a new sense of space to think. Spending our days mostly working and being with our immediate nearest and dearest has really shed light on what’s important to us. Maybe its time to start listening to the bits that haven’t felt quite right. If you have an itch around your career area, why not finally scratch it?
3. We have a brilliant ability to pivot
How many of us have had a massive re-think about how we worked when we entered the first lockdown? So many of us had to quickly adapt to home working and find a way that not only worked for us but also around homeschooling and childcare. Businesses small and large had to undertake massive u turns and look at how they delivered their products and services in a bid to survive the changing environment. And guess what? We did it. Many more not only just did it they thrived and as a result actually performed better because of the changes they made. So if you are are currently thinking that you might flounder in the current turbulent environment, perhaps think again and see what the evidence actually suggests.
4. We have a more flexible approach to work
We have seen all the ways that the world of work can work now. Things that we were told were impossible before have now become very much a reality. It’s going to be hard to forget that or think like that again. Subsequently this could be the best time to pitch that role redesign you’ve been thinking about at work, or to pitch externally for a job that you’d rather be doing that currently doesn’t exist. It’s a great time to be bold and push the boundaries because the boundaries no longer exist. It’s time to take the leap and see where it takes us.
So as we start 2021, we are far from over this thing. But what’s different now is that we’ve already done the hard work – mentally, physically and emotionally. We have seen people and businesses suffer while others have prospered. I have been amazed at how so many of us have turned things around and found novel ways to work, innovate and continue to make changes.
As we look to the future I don’t think there’s ever an ultimate right time to get hold of your life and take control to get the things you really want. That always has to come from you and your desire to do it, when you are ready. But if you have that desire bubbling up inside of you as you read this, all I would say is that now is as good a time as any. If you’ve thought things through, thoroughly and with clarity, then all the signs are there to suggest it might just be just about ideal.
Career and Life Vision Coach
Helping career-focused women aim high, build a fulfilling career and lead a balanced life.
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