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5 Strategies for Reinventing Your Career in Uncertain Times

https://hbr.org/2020/11/5-strategies-for-reinventing-your-career-in-uncertain-times

hbr.org

5 Strategies for Reinventing Your Career in Uncertain Times
Move past fear to explore new avenues for growth.

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Change in uncertain times

Change in uncertain times

During times of uncertainty, we usually prefer to keep the status quo. We focus on our most urgent decisions: how to be safe and healthy, how to keep our bosses happy, or, if we’ve lost a job, how to find a new one as quickly as possible. This makes it difficult to find the time, motivation, and mental energy to think about longer-term questions.

But there is no such thing as total predictability and despite the challenges that extended periods of uncertainty present, those periods also offer unparalleled opportunities for strategic planning.

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Explore the unthinkable

If you want a new job during uncertain times, consider planning not just for the most likely scenarios but also for one in which you’re unemployed for twice as long as you expect, or in which your partner also is unemployed.

These scenarios are difficult to think about, but deciding how you would handle them, and setting triggers for action can help ensure that you don’t find yourself in a more dreadful situation later on, such as having to sell your home or move in with relatives.

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Imagining the best possible future

Challenge the assumptions you are making about yourself and think about different ways you could leverage your skills and fulfill your passions.

  • Think about your most vivid difficult moments and about the skills or creative adaptations you drew on to meet them.
  • Think about the moments when you were at your best. The patterns you discover can serve as clues.
  • To understand what you value, think about how you spend your free time.

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Focus on what you can change in the short term

  • This will help you move past the paralysis of uncertainty. If your tasks feel intimidating, break them down into small manageable steps.
  • If you’re not sure what to prioritize, start with something that will bring you benefits no matter what, like brushing up your CV or updating your social media profile.
  • Consider these questions: “What small move could I make today that would bring me joy?” or “What could I accomplish if I gave myself a week?”

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Think about what you need to leave behind

When thinking about an uncertain future, don't just think about acquiring new skills or making new connections. Planning for uncertainty is also about making strategic choices concerning what to leave behind.

It is difficult to give up things in which you’ve invested a lot of time, effort, and energy. And you can get nostalgic about the past, especially when facing uncertainty in the present. But moving forward means knowing what is no longer serving you and giving yourself the space to pursue something new.

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Networking is necessary

We have to get over the belief that being competent and qualified means we shouldn't need help finding a new job.

We feel this way because networking makes us feel vulnerable. We are a...

Networking is effective

Hiring managers want job candidates whom they know they can trust. That is why they prefer candidates who come through personal referrals.

Referrals have a 50 percent chance of getting an interview, while non-referrals have only a 3 percent chance. Referrals or internal candidates fill up to 80 percent of jobs.

How to network

Networking is not just talking to strangers - it is also initiating career conversations with your existing acquaintances.

Keep these questions in mind: Can your siblings, neighbors, friends, hairdresser or other regular contacts describe your aspirations and particular expertise in one or two sentences? Can you explain theirs?

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Coping in uncertainty

Coping in uncertainty

Whether you are a manager, teacher, or physician, you are a leader in your organization or community. In times of distress, it can be difficult to know how to help others best and motivate them to ...

Coaching with compassion

In the face of uncertainty, it is natural to hold on to the status quo and stick to as-normal-as-possible routines and tasks. This can work when the context is predictable, and the goal is clearly defined.

However, during periods of volatility and stress, a taskmaster mode could be a mistake. The individual can feel pressured or obligated, which will make them negative. It is more important to prioritize your team's needs and create an environment of trust and support. It will unleash positive emotions, and the person is likely to feel more confident, hopeful, and willing to consider new ideas.

How to coach with compassion

We can follow six steps to help others, using the acronym “REACH”:

  • Resonance. Check in with each person without discussing a list of tasks. The goal is to create a supportive and positive relationship.
  • Empathy. Shift your concern from wanting to be understood to understanding others.
  • Awareness. Be aware of your mindset and emotions. Emotions are contagious.
  • Compassion. Try to focus on the needs of others and encourage caring and warmth to help another person in their development.
  • Hope. Spreading positive emotions will uplift others when you help them to picture a brighter and better future.
  • Humor. Stress shuts us down to new ideas and experiences. By keeping things light, you remind others to keep smiling. In turn, it will reduce stress and increase satisfaction, productivity, and performance.

Career negotiation and opportunities for advancement

Career negotiation and opportunities for advancement

Professionals often think of career negotiation as bargaining over an offer package.

Although reaching agreement on pay and benefits is necessary, it is vital to think more broadly ...

Career negotiations fall into three categories

  • Asking negotiations. You propose something that's standard for someone in your role or at your level.
  • Bending negotiations. You request a personal exception or unusual arrangement, for example, remote work setup or a promotion where you lack conventional qualifications.
  • Shaping negotiations. You propose ways to play a role in changing your organizational environment or creating a new initiative.

Organizations may be very open to shaping negotiations during challenging or fast-changing times,

Job negotiation: what, how, and with whom to negotiate

People often walk blind into a potential negotiation. They lack information on what is negotiable. It is vital to reduce vagueness and ensure that you get a fair opportunity.

Write down all the questions you have.

  • What is potentially negotiable?
  • How should I negotiate?
  • Who will be my counterparts, and what do they care about?

Find answers from talent professionals, a media search, or contact a professional on LinkedIn who can tell you more about the hiring manager.