Category Archives: Career Transition

Career Resilience for Women – 5 Actions to Take Now

A crisis throws you many curve balls. The COVID-19 pandemic is no exception. It’s changed practically everything. You’ve had to adapt on a dime, including in your career.
Here are three significant trends women still need to watch out for…

A Tight Job Market

The impact of layoffs and furloughs is still being felt by many. I can’t count the number of people in my network who have lost their jobs over the past year. Some have had to take on what employment they could find to make ends meet. Impacted by the economic downturn from the pandemic, these once rising professionals and leaders are finding it extremely difficult to rejuvenate their careers.

Even if you’ve been able to hang on to your job, you’re likely to have experienced pay cuts and compensation freezes. In many industries, companies had to put their talent management processes on hold, delaying promotions and hiring. Whether you’re looking to advance or are in the job market, you realize how this crisis has certainly slowed things down. Companies have had to put their energy toward the most immediate challenges… transitioning to a remote workforce, workforce reductions, stimulus regulations, and following CDC guidelines for how to return to work.

Need for Flexibility

A second big trend I’m hearing about is the need for greater flexibility – on everyone’s part.
The workplace will be different – your office environment, work arrangements – remote work is likely to continue on a large scale into the future. Demand for talent has shifted to different industries and fields. Skill requirements are shifting. And companies will shift their focus from primarily regulatory compliance to looking at their talent pool and reassessing the alignment of the skills they need to return to growth.

Impact on Women

A third significant trend is the impact that the pandemic has especially had on women. Many of you are living this right now. Though certainly there are many dual parent households where both parents are pitching in, by and large, women are the primary caretakers for her family and household. Right now, women are also juggling being their children’s teacher and work responsibilities. Have you been there? McKinsey reports that women’s jobs are nearly twice more vulnerable to this crisis than men. All of these challenges may not be fully taken into consideration when setting expectations or evaluating employees during this time.

A Lasting Impact

People are hopeful that things will return to normal soon. But, these trends have made lasting change in how you work, how you lead, and how you navigate moving your career forward.
The COVID-19 crisis is not unlike many of the challenges and crises you face. There’s usually an abundance of fear and worry because of the impact experienced and ongoing uncertainty around factors you can’t control. There is a way to move past all that.
Resilience is a term we hear all the time now. But, what does it really mean to be resilient, and how can you apply resilience to your career? According to the American Psychological Association resilience is a process of adapting.

People and organizations that exhibit resilience demonstrate an ability to manage, albeit not always perfectly, to the changing conditions during a crisis. Resilience begins with a mindset, or perspective, that getting through the crisis is possible. You find the courage to step out of your safe zone to move forward.

5 Actions to Take Now

The Resilience Ready principles – Perspective, Purpose, Perseverance, Partnership, and Praise – give you a framework for rebuilding your reservoir of resilience so that you can adjust to and purposefully deal with the challenges as they present themselves both in your life and in your career.

What actions can you take right now to bring greater resilience to managing in your life personally and professionally?

Perspective – Put on your ‘glass half-full’ spectacles, so that you see the crisis you’re facing with more opportunity than lack of opportunity. You have to work to discover it (and have some patience.) You’ll remain stuck as a victim or continue to settle for your current state if your head is not in a positive, hopeful space. A better, yet different, future is ahead for you!
Purpose – Know your value, and don’t be shy about it! Losing your job or being thrown into a different work arrangement can make you feel less-than. You question your self-worth. What are you passionate about? What are you good at? Where do you have experience? How you use your value may look different now. Remember that you can still be highly relevant and purposeful.

>>>Download The No Excuses Monthly Guide to Transforming My Career

Perseverance – The workload and pressure can be almost unbearable in a crisis. Stress is a real problem right now. Both physical and mental health are real concerns. A stress assessment can give you an indication of your stress level, possible contributors, and help you improve those areas. To be able to persevere means you have to take care of yourself. Sometimes just taking 60 seconds to breathe deeply can help you feel refresh. Turn off your camera during virtual meetings to give yourself a mental break.

Partnership – You’re not in this alone. “We’ll get through this together” couldn’t be more important than when you’re going through challenging times. Stay in touch with your personal and professional network on an ongoing basis with a genuine interest in their wellbeing. Ask for help if you’re personally struggling. Staying in touch and offering your support also helps you build social capital for times when you may need a favor.

Praise – While you see so many of the problems and struggles during a crisis, there’s also so much to be grateful for. What can you be grateful for in others and in the environment around you? Keep your eyes open and share your gratitude with others. Don’t forget to show yourself some love for both the effort you’re putting in to get through this and even the smallest progress along the way. Praise raises possibilities.

Resilience is crucial to move through this and other crises in your career. The time to begin building yours is now.

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Layoff; box of belongings

5 Steps to Surviving a Layoff through COVID-19

The current US unemployment rate is the highest since the great depression and growing. The COVID-19 pandemic has practically shut down the global economy, causing companies to layoff or furlough all or much of their workforce. The number of people rehired once the crisis winds down is uncertain. The Federal CARES Act provisions provide some relief. Still, employment is likely to be slow to return in most industries.

You may have been personally impacted or know someone who has. We’ve felt the impact in my family.

An unexpected layoff or early retirement at any point in time brings with it a lot of anxiety and emotion. It raises serious questions that weigh heavy on your mind… “How can this happen after I’ve given so much to the company for so many years? Will I be called back to work? How long will it take to get a new job? How will I continue to provide for my family? Will I have enough retirement income to pay for insurance and our monthly living expenses?”

What do you do if you find yourself downsized out? How do you exit as gracefully as you can and transition smoother than you thought possible?

These 5 steps are your keys to getting through this.

Step 1. Love yourself first

Don’t take this personal. Downsizing often happens as a matter of keeping companies profitable and competitive. In this environment of COVID-19, these actions are a matter of survival for your employer. However, these are never easy decisions for the company to make. Don’t blame yourself or others. Blaming becomes a barrier to moving forward. Besides, it won’t make a difference anyway.

Your first step is to discover and learn to appreciate who you are and the value you bring. Reflect on what you’ve accomplished. You’ve grown in experience, talents, and skills. You have value! Create a “My Value” list by writing your reflections down. You’ll be able to come back to this list when you need encouragement. Give yourself space to deal with and work through the emotions. But, don’t stay in that space. Let the best in you inspire you.

Step 2. Leave with a good reputation

Accept that it’s time to move on. Once announcements are made, even if you have time before you physically leave, the organization is already moving on without you. Do what you can to bring some closure to current projects. If you return to work, it will be easier to initiate those projects again. Leave your work organized and easy for someone to pick up after you’re gone. Assist with the transition. Be as objective as you can. Don’t participate in negative talk. You want to be remembered for your value. You never know where paths will cross again in the future.

Ask your manager about how those affected may receive any updates from the company throughout the crisis.

Step 3. Look ahead

If you were sitting with a fortune teller, what would she see in her crystal ball for you? What would you want her to say you have to look forward to? Feel hope and look ahead to imagine the possibilities. What have you always wanted to do? What are you passionate about? Where can your experience and skills add value to the next stage of your career?

Use the resources the company may make available to help you transition. Take advantage of the benefits of outplacement services immediately. You may feel embarrassed to go to the outplacement or the unemployment office. Don’t be. Use these to the fullest. Even though job opportunities are limited now, the job market will begin to open up over the course of the next several months. Focus on the actions you can begin taking now and over the next several weeks so you’ll be ready. Update your resume, network, seek and apply for openings. Your ideal job may not be available right away. Look at this transition as a marathon, not a sprint.

Step 4. Live with Courage

You have the courage within you to move forward beyond this layoff! From your reflections in these prior steps, you know you are a person of tremendous value! The best-laid plans need action. Dedicate your attention and time to your next chapter. It will take courage. You will experience disappointments. But, remember, a “NO” doesn’t mean failure, it means “Next Opportunity”. In the animated Christmas show, “Santa Clause is Coming to Town”, Kris Kringle sings “Put One Foot In Front of the Other” when he’s trying to help the Winter Warlock change his evil ways. The Winter Warlock’s first step began to change everything for himself. His life was so much better as a result. Move forward with the courage to act by taking a step at a time. You have what it takes!

The Kris Kringles in your network and support system are willing and waiting to help you move ahead. More people than you know have been in a similar situation and are glad to help you as others have helped them. It’s important to cultivate your network on an ongoing basis. Your next opportunity is often as good as your network. A word of caution, don’t just reach out to people when you need something. Relationships are reciprocal. Genuinely reach out and be willing to see how you can lend a hand.

Step 5: Look Beyond to New Possibilities 

I was recently back home in the mountains of West Virginia and was reminded of how beautiful a hike up the mountains can be in the spring. Once you reach the summit, you can look at the beauty and grandeur of the terrain. The view stretches as far as the eye can see. Like the boundary-less view of the horizon, your step forward opens new possibilities. Continue to dream! Better days lie ahead for you.

The beginning of this layoff or furlough seems daunting and uncomfortably uncertain. Have faith that your higher power will get you through this. Psalm 121 has been an encouragement to me particularly during this pandemic. I pray that these 5 steps and this scripture will be empowering for you.

Share this with others who are attempting to navigate their way through this crisis.

Catch the full Leading with Resilience: Crisis Survival Guide series and other resilience resources. I’ll be posting updates with resources over the next few weeks. 

Now is the time to equip your team to effectively lead through this crisis. I’m here to help. Email me directly