Losing a job can be devastating amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Not only is it a blow to self-confidence but, in this tough job market, it could take months, if not years, to find work. Plus the news is filled with grim statistics about the unemployment rate and foreclosures, fueling fear and hopelessness. As a result, it’s natural to think that being unemployed is a negative situation; however, it can be a time of unexpected positive change.
How often do people get a chance to step back and really look at their career and job choices? A job loss can be a time to do this, a time for people to think about how happy they are in their career, to soul search, and re-energize. Once people evaluate where they have been and where they want to go, life can be taken by the reigns and made better instead of mindlessly applying for the same old job.
Change expert Ariane de Bonvoisin in her book, The First 30 Days: Your Guide to Any Change [HarperOne, 2008] says, “Every change has a gift associated with it. While it’s natural to find change hard, it’s important to remember that there are two sides to every coin and that something positive will always come.”
While there is no doubt a job loss is a difficult change to navigate, there can be a silver lining that may not be apparent right away. These ways below can help to uncover job opportunities, which can lead to positive change.
Career Planning by Assessing Skills, Talents and Passions
Take some time to think about what brings joy and excitement to life and career. One great question to ask is, “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?” The answer could be to write a book, open a bed and breakfast, become a teacher or an actor, run an internet business – whatever the passion is, it’s important that it not be ignored because passions equals happiness.
Next, write down skills, experience, talents, strengths and weaknesses, which also help to uncover a potential opportunity or choice that perhaps was not thought of before. Sometimes people have trouble thinking about what they excel at, in this case, they can ask for the opinion of family and friends.
Passions, combined with skills, experience, talents, and strengths, give clues to what careers and jobs are most suitable and enjoyable and prevent people from repeating exactly what they don’t want.
Repackage or Reinvent Yourself
Because people are having a hard time finding a job similar to the one they had, or want a change, reinventing oneself is quite popular. If a marketing person decides that he or she would be happier and better suited to be a teacher, then there are necessary steps to make this happen. Perhaps going back to school or additional training is required, or enhancing public speaking skills. Many people are going into business for themselves, either consulting or in a whole new field. A job loss can be a time to make a transition, especially in a tough job market.
Repackaging oneself can simply mean to tweak a cover letter and resume to reflect a new kind of position. Job experience, skills and accomplishments can be presented in a way that fits the desired job. Perhaps a hair, makeup and wardrobe makeover is in order for a more updated appearance. People need to look at all ways that they can bring out their best self for the next job.
Hire a Career Coach
With so many people out of work, career coaching is a growing profession. A career coach can provide value to people, not only in finding work, but finding work they love. Whether a person wants to transition to an entirely new career, or simply needs help with writing a resume that gets attention, a career coach can help.
Specifically, a career coach can help a person to:
- Gain clarity and focus on what is desired in a career and job
- Identify and explore a career suitable for a person’s skills, talents and passions
- Set goals along with action steps that will help land a job
- Provide tools to help move past fears
- Most importantly, a good coach provides support, encouragement, acknowledgment, and accountability with the goal of a person reaching his or her desired goals.
Mindset Makes All the Difference
How a person views a job loss is critical to success because a positive outlook withstands rejection and helps he or she to persevere. Looking at struggles with a fresh eye to see where there is hope, hidden opportunities, and what there is to be grateful for, in spite of the setback, lessens the pain and increases the chance for positive outcomes. But know, most of all, that better days are ahead, positive change is inevitable, and life is full of surprises, good and bad. Remember to place more attention on the good.