It felt so good this past Saturday to eat in a restaurant again after two months of quarantine. To sit down at a table, face-to-face with a friend not contained inside a square on my computer screen. To have someone else cook for me, wait on me, and clean up after me. I made sure to leave a generous tip for the waitstaff who’ve gone two months with no pay.
The restaurant was only at 50% capacity, so it wasn’t a full move back to the old normal. But it was a nice change from the new normal of shelter-at-home life.
However, in experiencing a return of some freedom, I still sensed some fear and hesitation in the air. Any kind of change can cause feelings of fear and hesitation. This is true for career change.
But change can also be good, even in the most uncertain of times. This is also true for career change. I know this from personal experience when I left my full-time job with benefits to start my own business in 2008, right around the time of a recession.
Some people may think this is not the time to make a career change. They assume if they still have a job in the midst of everything happening, they should hold onto it. This may be true.
Or it may not. Instead it may actually be the best time to consider a career change. This could include changing jobs within your industry, changing industries all together, or starting your own thing. Let’s explore which is true for you.
Is it a good time for a career change for you?
A career change within your industry
Are you currently in an industry that’s booming due to the current state of the world? For instance, are you currently in healthcare? Or are you in an industry that manufactures, markets, or sells high-demand products like cleaning agents? In other words, does your industry meet a need now, and will it likely continue to meet a need once things settle down?
If this is the case, you probably want to stay within your industry but do something different. This could mean making a lateral move to a different department, or advancing to a higher level in your current area. It could mean shifting from one function to another, like moving from HR to management, sales to market research, or vice versa.
Make a list of the results you’ve accomplished in your current role for the company. Use this as leverage to help you advance, or to show how your skills can bring new perspective to another area of the company. Don’t be afraid to have a conversation with your supervisor and with other department heads about your desire to continue contributing to the company in other ways.
A career change to another industry
Perhaps you’re in an industry that’s struggling right now. But you have the transferable skills to change to an industry in need of more employees due to the current crisis. For instance, you may currently be in HR in the travel and hospitality industry. But, your skills may be more needed in the HR department of a grocery store chain.
Start doing as much research as you can about the industries you’re interested in. Make a list of your transferable skills and add them to your resume and LinkedIn profile. Start connecting with people in those industries via LinkedIn, email, and phone.
Starting your own thing
Perhaps you’ve been thinking for a while about starting your own thing. Could now be the time to do so? Maybe, especially if you’ve been laid off due to COVID and can’t seem to find another job working for someone else. Or you may have some extra time on your hands because you’re currently working from home.
Spend your extra time writing down your skills, along with some current needs you’re noticing. Look to see how your skills match up with the needs. Then brainstorm some ways you can deliver a solution to those needs. You may also want to use your time to read the book, Will It Fly? How to Test Your Next Business Idea So You Don’t Waste Your Time or Money, by Pat Flynn.
Don’t let the current market make you fearful or hesitant when considering a career change. And don’t let bad news or ominous predictions keep you stuck where you are. Instead, pay attention to the needs around you. Then, ask yourself how and where your skills and talents fulfill those needs.
This process may not be easy to do on your own, but paNASH can help! Get started by completing the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.