Frustrated with unemployment and wondering how to make some financial progress during the coronavirus pandemic? You are not alone. Forbes reports that approximately 30 million Americans are receiving unemployment benefits – about 1 in 5 workers. A recent survey conducted during the week of August 26 by Ipsos shows that 51% of respondents said it’s likely they or someone they know might lose their job in the next six months. In the midst of these statistics and sentiments, finding a new career can seem daunting – especially if you’re exiting an industry that’s been punished by the pandemic (travel, tourism, hospitality and retail, to name a few). Yet there are those who will be able to transition, to position themselves for new career opportunities, even in these difficult times. Is it time to change careers? If you want to make progress, drop these two lies so that you can move forward in your job search.
The first one is a common motivational phrase, which sounds good when you first hear it – because it looks like a call for personal responsibility. Are you familiar with this one?
“If it’s going to be, it’s up to me.”
On the one hand, trying to make things happen is a good approach to life. But here’s what I’ve discovered: it’s never just up to me. In fact, anything of any value involves other people. That’s true, but only 100% of the time. Do you think I made my marriage happen? Or how about creating a new business venture: was that all me? Think that there are no editors at Forbes looking over this post?
Let’s get real, and drop the motivational parsley for a minute. Because nobody likes parsley – it’s only there for decoration.
Life is about the effort of many, as well circumstances, good fortune and other factors that neither you nor I can control or, in many cases, influence. Everywhere in my life, just like you in yours, I showed up and I put effort in. But it was never all up to me – no matter how much I’d like to take the credit (or dismiss the blame?) for the way my career shook out. Can you relate?
You see, it’s never just up to you. All around us there are forces that we don’t see that bring things to be. Like the workers that made the shirt you’re wearing, or the engineers who designed the electronic device where you are reading these words. Or how about that thing that’s turning acorns into oak trees and making waves crash against the shore? Is that you?
The truth is: You are not alone. It’s never just up to you.
I’m not saying you should wait for life to happen to you. Don’t deny all sense of responsibility and go back to bed. I’m saying: put one foot in front of the other, as you move towards what’s next. Just drop the lie that you have to do it all on your own.
And lose this second lie while you’re at it:
“There aren’t any opportunities right now.”
Opportunities are all around us. I realize that’s a bold statement in this economy, and you may find it hard to believe. Yet, as you consider it: isn’t it true that opportunities always exist? Often we just don’t know where to look. Or we aren’t willing to pursue those opportunities – because they are just different enough to make us say, “Nah, that’s not for me”. Is there a world where you could entertain new possibilities, and explore transition into a new career? Maybe even launching a new business?
Stay open to new possibilities. Without being open to possibilities, the world can seem very small indeed.
I get it though: you may still be wishing that the airline didn’t lay you off. You may not want to get out of the restaurant business. But here we are.
Change is the call to action. Can you answer the call?
There are a myriad of opportunities online right now – remote jobs, part-time work and entrepreneurial ventures. But those opportunities might be a departure from the past.
The pandemic asks one question of all of career-changers, and here it is: can you begin again? The good news is, yes, you can. That’s not just motivational mumbo-jumbo: that’s how human beings are wired. We may not want to create something new, we may be wishing for what’s past, we may tell ourselves that there are no opportunities, but sooner or later we tap into the two words that we all have the capacity to embrace: move on. Here’s how to do just that – and you don’t have to go it alone:
- Connect to Create – if it’s all up to you, get ready to lift the world all by yourself. How’s that going? When confronted with this globe-toting responsibility, I heard that even Atlas shrugged. It’s easy to feel like you’ve got to do it all on your own. Get this: You don’t. When I needed to write two books inside of six months – that’s right, over 100,000 words from January to June – the first thing I did was hire a coach. You know why I hired a coach? Because I wanted the books to be good! I wanted to win. I needed someone in my corner to help me to get there. I saw I was part of a team – it’ wasn’t all up to me. Don’t put the weight of the world on your shoulders, especially when there are people and resources who can help you. Find a coach, a mentor, follow an expert here on Forbes: if you’re trying to re-enter the toughest job market in modern times, don’t go into battle by yourself.
- Gain a Fresh Perspective – who’s helping you to see what you don’t? We all have blind spots. It’s a physical place where the optic nerve meets the retina, but it’s also a mental space where we fall into the trap that says there’s no opportunities. Many are trying to figure out if working from home is a blessing or a curse. The real answer is: remote work depends on what you make of it. This could be the time for you to discover an unexpected working from home opportunity. Who’s helping you to see past your blind spot?
You don’t have to tackle the US economic crisis on your own, Atlas. Even in the midst of difficult news, opportunities still exist. Resources are available. Perhaps you will find the ability to tap into the perspectives that can make a difference, as you come to understand that it’s not all up to you. That’s the first step in embracing a career change.