Jobs: 10 tips to navigate your career during a pandemic
2021-08-10 | By ACCESS Trainers Network
1. Discover what you want and need from a career at this stage in your life. Revisit tools you’ve used successfully before.
Hannah Behrens, shares that now more than ever, we are forced to reckon with new technologies, protocols and platforms that must concur with our changing world.
“During the first few months of the pandemic- I felt my mood sliding downward. Feeling lost, distracted, disconnected and ungrounded from my purpose. Looking for a thread of unifying thought toward meaning, connection, purpose and trying to make plans or make meaningful content and services in the midst of all the uncertainty I have returned to the activities of A Career in your Suitcase to renew my sense of purpose in the world. What I have wanted and needed during the pandemic is to remain connected with the people I love, and people that are searching for creative inspiration. In this time of unprecedented disconnectedness there is a wave of new beginnings, a wave of coming together in unique and creative ways.”
Hannah Behrens is a Freelance Writer, Editor, Poet and Writing Coach. Check out Hannah’s blog and Creative Writing Meetup in Amsterdam via Weeds & Wilderness. Hannah is currently working towards her PhD in Expressive Arts Therapy.
2. Assess your skills, talents, strengths and uniqueness. Think differently and creatively about how to use your skills.
Rawia Liverpool discovered that being a pharmacist was not as mobile a career as she needed when life necessitated that she travel around the world to accompany her husband at the time.
“By the time I arrived in the Netherlands 21 years ago I was already entertaining thoughts of changing careers. Reading A Career In Your Suitcase in 2013 helped me focus on my skills rather than just my qualification. I was able to then see that my skills are transferable and this opened up the possibility for me of seeking other jobs totally unrelated to pharmacy. As a coach now I am still able to use those skills I acquired through the many years I worked as a pharmacist.
This pandemic is showing us that now it is more important than ever to think outside the box and look at our skills and talents and see how we can apply them elsewhere, in a different location or a different job altogether.”
Rawia Liverpool is a Behavioural Change Coach, a Master Practitioner of NLP, Hypnosis and Time Line Therapy and is currently following significant training in Transactional Analysis (TA) counselling. www.recipes4change.com.
3. Find your passions, values, mission and meaning.
Veena Joseph, moved to the Netherlands in 2012 with her husband and a young daughter and plunged right back into her career. But then:
“Feeling restless I took a period of self-discovery, volunteering as a mentor and following seminars and workshops to reassess my career direction. I decided to train in counselling and coaching and worked in this area. In 2018 I went through another reassessment period when my husband’s assignment in the Netherlands ended. A Career in Your Suitcase helped me answer the question What’s next?, using my experiences in the Netherlands to identify my passion for supporting people, my values and most importantly make a meaningful contribution in the world. Asking ourselves these weighted questions during the pandemic can bring out a new way of living and contributing to the world in an authentic and meaningful way.
Veena Joseph helps business and people transform to their best version, connecting with their purpose and living their best life through Forerunners Consulting and Coaching. Veena works with one-year Culture Exchange students and young adults providing them emotional and practical support for the whole experience.
4. Brainstorm the perfect career for you.
Natália Leal, has changed professional careers at least 3 times and is familiar with the frustration and the fears that come along with it. Natalia says:
“to brainstorm well, be truly open to exploring all options; don’t allow your previous job(s) to limit what you can do next. I found an online tool can help brainstorm and bring out options I could have not considered by myself. The Career Explorer test helped me come out with the 3 main professional paths/areas that could work for me (yes, we all have more than one!) and I then chose which one to try out first. I took time to explore options before committing to one.
Another way to brainstorm is to ask others what they think are your strongest points. I got some rather unexpected – yet in hindsight obvious – responses when I did this; it helped me become aware of how unique some of my qualities are. During this pandemic, I used my ‘technical aptitude’ and desire to learn new things to repurpose existing plans, designing my very first online courses.” Read more
Natália Leal is a Life and Career Coach offering coaching paths for open-minded internationals – including expats and their partners, executives and those looking for professional and/or personal development. www.natalia-leal.com
5. Adjust your career to fit your current location and the opportunities it holds.
Ute Limacher-Riebold, shares she was pursuing a career in academia when her husband accepted a new job in the Netherlands.
“Our move from Italy meant I became a stay at home mum after having been the sole breadwinner for 3 years. I re-trained as a coach and counsellor and volunteered at my children’s school, organising and giving talks for internationals. By combining my skills, qualifications and what I was interested in and passionate about, I defined a new career for the Netherlands. My interests in intercultural communication, resilience, expat life, Third Culture Kids, linguistics, raising children with multiple languages, language development and my passion for languages, all came together when I started my own business where I love to connect and communicate in all my languages with my clients and community, supporting international families.
Thanks to the pandemic, I’ve adapted again bringing all my services online, reaching even more people all over the world, creating ways to connect and communicate, to share experiences and support each other. To paraphrase Friedrich Nietzsche, ‘When life throws stones in your path, you can either stumble, or take them as stepping stones.’ – I prefer the second option.”
Ute Limacher-Riebold PhD is a multilingual Language Consultant and Intercultural Communication Trainer. www.UtesInternationalLounge.com.
6. Do the research and learning you need to prepare for transition and your chosen career.
Colleen Reichrath-Smith shares that managing expectations is a big part of navigating your life and career transitions with resilience.
“When I moved to the Netherlands (for love) a friend informed me that research shows it takes immigrants 7 years to go through the career backswing and achieve the level in their career that they enjoyed before immigrating. This, alongside an understanding of the transition process, helped me be much more realistic about what I was undertaking. The more informed your choices are, the better you will be able to set realistic expectations and navigate setbacks more readily. To inform your expectations,
- find out as much as you can about your options by researching online,
- speak to others doing what you are interested in and who have embarked upon the adventure you are considering, and
- conduct experiments to try it out before you commit to it.
7. Create the marketing materials you need (CV, website, LinkedIn and other social media pages).
Knowing your market – the people or businesses you want to serve – will inform your choice of marketing materials, communication style and mediums. The process of creating these can also be a concrete way to clarify your:-
- why (purpose or ikigai),
- skills or product offer and
- market or ideal employer/contract provider
8. Network to meet the people you will need as they become your clients, employers, role models and support team.
A career is really simply about creating purposeful connecting points with other people and participating in meaningful activities over time to contribute to the change you want to be part of in the world. To network effectively,
- be curious about people and their journeys,
- invite people to connect with you in an area of shared interest, and
- share what you know freely in these interactions.
The more your share, the more people will see what you have to offer and how it fits opportunities they have or may know of.
9. Consider hiring a Career Development Professional to join you on your journey at any or all stages of the process.
The ACCESS Trainers Network of helping professionals, many of whom have shared part of their stories above, can support you to move from surviving to thriving here in the Netherlands.
10. Make it happen by setting goals, staying motivated and developing the self-belief and confidence you need.
Small everyday actions add up together and create the momentum to carry you forward. Here are some actions you can use to get started:
- SET GOALS: Use Gabrielle Oetingen’s research-based powerful WOOP (4:30 minute video) approach to set some goals for yourself.
- STAY MOTIVATED: Reach out and ask someone to be your accountability partner so you can keep each other taking the one (little) WOOP step after the other that will keep you moving in the direction you want.
- DEVELOP SELF-BELIEF & CONFIDENCE: Repeat the stories of how you have gotten through challenging, shaping moments in your life before. Remember how you have achieved what you’ve achieved so far and create an archive/portfolio of these to help you keep believing that you have what it takes, that you can and will achieve and accomplish and get through your current challenges.”
Colleen Reichrath-Smith, GCDF, HNCP is a member of the ACCESS Trainers Network, international career consultant and co-author of A Career in Your Suitcase.
If you like what you see here, please take a further look at this resource used by people like you to reinvent and navigate their careers for over 23 years.