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3 Ways To Keep Advancing Your Career Despite Economic Concerns

Posted by | April 20, 2020 | Advice, Career

Via Forbes : 3 Ways To Keep Advancing Your Career Despite Economic Concerns

It’s easy to become paralyzed by job loss fears during times of economic uncertainty. Worrying about your company’s future could cause you to second-guess or outright dismiss your desire for career growth.

These concerns are real. Many people are already losing critical sources of income from business closures, layoffs and furloughs.

Protecting your livelihood as the world deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic should indeed be your top priority. While it’s a blessing to keep getting paid, working from home and dealing with new family dynamics will drain your energy and attention further.

But despite these massive disruptions to your way of life, you don’t have to stop your attempts to advance your career altogether. You may even have a unique opportunity to accelerate your efforts.

For most people, now is not the best time to launch a job search or ask for a promotion. However, changing the direction of your career could simply mean that you need to be more proactive in your current role. Here are three tips to help you get started and channel your fears into something productive.

1. Lean into chaos

Many people began 2020 struggling with a lack of engagement and motivation at work. Jobs (even good ones) can become stale over time and it’s common to get bored with roles that aren’t helping you grow.

Fast forward a few months and almost all workers have found themselves dealing with an unprecedented level of issues to address, including keeping employees safe, managing newly remote teams and maintaining client support even with significant personal and family demands.

There are a lot of workplace problems you may be dealing with right now, but an inability to be challenged is probably not one of them. To truly use this as an opportunity to advance your career, you’ll have to lean into the chaos even more.

You are sure to grow your business capabilities if you continue to look for opportunities to put yourself on the front line of contingency planning and problem-solving. Depending on what you do, leaning into the chaos can take many different forms. You may need to volunteer to help with dynamic scheduling issues or to address unique customer needs. You could be called upon to assist in forecasting, resourcing, and finding ways to operate more efficiently or simply serve as a stable and calming force within your organization.

Whenever possible, show initiative and be proactive in adding value where you can. There is no question that your company currently needs and will continue to need your assistance and support in the days to come. The present business environment is difficult to say the least, but you will emerge as a stronger leader because of your response in these challenging times.

2. Fill social gaps with passion projects

Think about that dream you plan to pursue someday: to write a book, build a business, go back to school or launch a nonprofit. These are the plans that pass through your mind frequently but you never seem to have the time to pay enough attention to them.

Now that your calendar is freed by cancelled travel, event and activity plans, this may be a unique opportunity to get started and shift your career in a different direction.

Begin by building a list of small but tangible actions you can immediately take toward your goal. Remember: the smaller the better. Avoid chunking together several tasks into large goals like writing a business plan or finishing a first draft. These actions can be broken down much further to include the many micro-steps it takes to work toward those outcomes.

For example, before you can draft a business plan, you’ll need to conduct market research. Before you can write a first draft of a book, you’ll need an outline.

Create a task list that is as granular as possible so that you can start the work and keep making progress without becoming overwhelmed by the longer commitment needed to complete your project.

Remember that you don’t have to launch or finish anything in the next few weeks. Your only goal is to use this rare moment of social isolation to your benefit. Work hard at creating this silver lining of greater career growth despite all that you are otherwise having to endure.

3. Care for your network

No single thing impacts your career trajectory more than the size and strength of your network. Now is the time to invest in it.

Social distancing efforts dictate that face-to-face networking be put on hold. However, simply caring enough to check in on the people you value most is an easy way to remotely enhance your relationships.

For email and text check-ins, make sure each message is personal and thoughtful. Do not copy and paste or send blast emails. Individual messages take more time, but they also help you connect on a deeper level. Make sure any message you send contains a personal reference to the recipient that would be completely out of place if you sent it to another person.

Social media gets a bad reputation, but it’s a great way to stay connected during these hard times. If you haven’t been active on any one social platform, you should make it a goal to spend ten minutes a day writing meaningful comments on the posts of friends and colleagues.

While liking a friend’s post is certainly appreciated, it will not leave the kind of impression that writing just a few short sentences will. Always opt for the higher yield on your networking efforts and take the time to say just a little more. Now more than ever, people are craving genuine connection.

It’s also a good time to give your social profiles a makeover. Update your profile picture and start posting meaningful content at least once a week. People are looking for distractions right now and will welcome an influx of positive and interesting perspectives.

Any time you attempt to advance your career, you will be challenged to learn to ride a wave of uncertainty while remaining calm and focused. This is a skill you’ve surely been practicing lately so you have an advantage already. With a little extra focus over the next few months, you could find yourself headed into the second half of the year much better off than you are right now.

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