The pandemic has had a huge impact on the job market, especially the travel and hospitality industry as well as the retail industry. Maybe you’ve been laid off or perhaps furloughed and in no-man’s land. In either case it can be a struggle to think positively about the future.
However, with unfortunate surprises like this comes an opportunity to reevaluate things. Exploring options for new types of careers could mean you end up in a better position than before, where you’re happier.
For my partner and I who are both entrepreneurs the pandemic hit us hard, especially as my partner works as a Food Consultant. His client base disappeared overnight as all the restaurants shut down. He could not work for months because of the lockdown, and when things reopened, restaurant owners did not have the budget to hire a Food Consultant.
We had to rely on my income only, plus having a 5 year old daughter and another one on the way, it was an anxious time for us. Although it has been a tough time, this situation helped us, and especially me, to learn how to stay calm in difficult situations and adapt to change.
We don’t know what the future holds, and we cannot control what is happening. However what we can control is our mindset, how we react to changes around us, and find what makes us happy.
Take a deep breath, pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.Unknown
Start from calm
Before doing any kind of future planning, it’s a good idea to get into a calm state and settle the turmoil that your mind may be experiencing.
Take time to reconnect with yourself.
What helped me the most during the lockdown was to take 10 minutes each day, in a quiet place, in silence. If that was not possible I would go out and take a walk; no kids, no partner, no music – just me and focusing on one thing (I sometimes came back from that break with new ideas for my business).
When you are ready, re-examine your pathway and embrace it as an opportunity to find your next exciting role.
Here are some creative ways to help you do that. It’s time to get the colouring pencils out!
1 – Mindmapping
You may have heard of mind mapping as a way of organising information or taking notes. More than that, it’s a way of connecting large and small ideas, using creative thinking and problem solving at the same time.
Mindmapping creates a visual that’s unique and logical to you, using your brain’s natural way of thinking.
It’s a fun and creative way of untangling all the ideas in your head, and getting them out onto paper where you can take inspiration.
How to do it
Using single words in circles, start with the central topic in the middle of the page.
From the central circle, you create branches of sub topics, and from the sub topics more branches and more sub topics.
It’s important to let your mind do what it feels is right, this is your mind map unique to the way you think.
Example: The central circle is you (put your name in the middle of the page and draw a circle around it). Then create branches out from there with ‘things you do brilliantly’ in circles, and from there ‘things you love to do’.
Use colour coding, add doodles and drawings. Make it fun! Here are some examples.
During or after this process, you may have an a-ha moment or see the bigger picture which previously eluded you.
Card sorting is well-established in the web and software design industry as a way of understanding and categorising information. It can be used in any situation really, especially when your mind is overwhelmed. Card sorting can be a simple way to make sense of your thoughts and get inspiration.
How it works: Write each idea (usually single or few words, no sentences) on a card, small piece of paper or post-it note. Using post-it notes means you can do the exercise on a wall, using more space to see everything much clearer.
Example: Write down every idea you have related to finding a job, one answer per card or note:
- Things you’re good at
- Things you love to do
- Things you’d like to try
- Specific job titles
- Your interests and curiosities
- Past experiences
- Proudest career moments
- Organisations or industries
- Types of people you want to work with
- Work lifestyle or location
- What you want out of your career
There are no wrong answers, this is the brainstorming part to get every single thought out of your head and onto paper.
Then, start mixing and matching them. Sort them into groups and hierarchies. For example, pick out the most desirable job roles and then match skills and experiences to each one.
Use your curiosity to match different elements with each other or create clusters. The idea is to do this from various different starting points, for example you could start with ‘what you want out of your career’ and create groupings around that.
Then take a break – when you come back to it, what do you see? What ideas have emerged?
3 – Create a mock advertisement
If you had to create your own company built around you, what would that look like? Or if you were the product, how would you sell it?
- What features would you have?
- What qualities would you need?
- Who would you serve?
Imagine the advertisement in a magazine. What would it say?
Use an online tool for this such as Canva or just use Word or Google Slides. Whatever makes it fun and interesting for you.
Put a photo of yourself in the middle. Create a headline, list your best features and selling points, and give someone a reason to respond to the ad.
Get a partner, friend or family member to chip in with ideas.
You can do this over and over with different roles or industry or business types. This is a chance to try on your fantasy job… you don’t have one? Well now’s the time!
Trust the process!
If you find this difficult, talk to someone that can help you move forward, it could be a close friend, a coach, someone you can trust and who can guide you.
I believe when you have faith, a strong desire and you believe in yourself, you can achieve anything. Wherever you are in your life right now, you can change your life.
Resilience is knowing that you are the only one that has the power and the responsibility to pick yourself up.Mary Holloway