You’ve worked hard, made sacrifices, and it shows. You finally landed that VP, CEO or other high-level executive position. In the days prior to COVID-19, you knew there was a possibility that your position might change… but few could have predicted that it would be due to a worldwide pandemic caused by a submicroscopic virus.
However, it is important to remember that these current times are not entirely unique. Highly experienced and competent professionals have often found themselves at an unanticipated career crossroad. Once executives reach the highest echelons of corporate America, they are often surprised to learn that their "success" has resulted in increased career uncertainty and vulnerability. Certainly, not the professional and financial payoff they had anticipated and worked towards.
Over the last decade, several industries have been experiencing a slow and painful demise. In addition, publicly traded corporations have become more responsive to the demands of their stockholders and Wall Street. Constant mergers and acquisitions have added to the seemingly endless chaos of today's corporate America. As a result, organizations have taken dramatic cost-cutting measures through organizational restructuring and massive layoffs. And then there is the "A-Word" (ageism.) A very real and painful experience for many of my clients.
So, if this was the “old” normal, what can you do in this “new” normal?
1) Be Adaptable
With companies not knowing what will happen next, you must be adaptable. Don’t get tied to your title, because in today’s world it’s likely to change. Begin to think of your job as a project. If that project is no longer needed, you can start another. This will help you be okay with any change that may come… in your role, title or even employment status.
2) Be Okay with Uncertainty
This is a chance to reinvent yourself. Learn to roll with the punches. Everyone, including you, will be uncomfortable with all the changes happening around us. However, instead of feeling this way, embrace the changes and the uncertainty of things and take ownership of the things that you can control.
Opportunity exists for those professionals who are adaptable and able to see past the current state of affairs. Your current role and previous experience do not have to limit your next step. Many of my clients have discovered career options they never knew existed! A very exciting prospect, don't you think?
Now is the time to take inventory and engage in some self-reflection. What are your goals and expectations moving forward? What are your dreams? Here are just a few examples of the types of questions you should begin to ask yourself:
How would you describe your feelings about your present career?
What do you want more of in your life, personally and professionally?
What do you want less of in your life?
How long will you be employable?
If you knew you couldn’t fail, what career path would you choose?
After clarifying your personal, professional and financial goals, it is time to explore and educate yourself on the options available to you. My advice is to be open to opportunities you may never have thought of before. Maybe that next job isn’t a job at all!
If you need help learning how to adapt or create new options for your career, I am here to help.
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