The pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we live in just a few months. We’ve lost loved ones, jobs and livelihoods, forcing many of us to rethink our life and career choices.
The stay-at-home rules introduced in March forced many people to change their careers almost overnight, while others have been made redundant. We’ve also begun to think more deeply about the role work plays in our lives, including its importance to society and its meaning to us.
And while finding a new job and switching to a different career path is easier said than done in today’s economy, it’s something many people are considering. A recent survey of 2,000 people in the UK shows a large proportion of workers are considering a rethink of what they do for work.
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But can the current crisis ever be useful in helping you decide what you want to do?
"During stressful, life-changing events such as the recent pandemic, our lives will have been brought into sharp focus and many of us will have reassessed our priorities and life choices,” says Life Coach Directory Member Michelle Thole.
“It can bring feelings of uncertainty and emotional turmoil for many, although it can also be a beacon of hope and change for others. It will have allowed us to put our lives into perspective and our happiness at the forefront of our own ‘new normal’ moving forward. For many, this means creating a new compelling future.”
And while it’s a difficult time to make big life changes — and particularly financial ones — it can be easier to take the plunge if everything is put into perspective by an uncontrollable event.
“It has provided us with an enormous amount of emotional leverage that many needed to make big changes that once would have taken courage and motivation alone,” Thole explains.
“Nothing makes the decision of changing careers easier than living through a worldwide pandemic. It will have evoked a matter of urgency that a half-lived life isn’t enough and following your heart and finding your purpose is more meaningful than a job you didn’t really like to begin with.”
The pandemic has given us time to think about what we really want — and has also changed the way we think about our work-life balance. For some, spending more time at home rather than commuting may have emphasised the importance of family. For others, time spent out of work — particularly if furloughed — may have forced them to think about other career options that may be more meaningful.
“The pandemic has given people time to pause and re-evaluate their working situations. Whether it’s their specific role, company or industry, employees are looking at both personal and professional goals in a new way and seeing new opportunities,” Lindsay Dagiantis, vice president of human resources at Envoy Global.
“Today, there’s a bigger focus on how we use our time. Whether via a furlough, or working from home with kids, there are new challenges and opportunities surfacing.”
Although it’s an uncertain time for many people, it can also be a time to create space to learn new skills and focus on self-development. And if you’re seriously thinking about switching careers, there are several steps you can take.
“There are many courses online, new skills to learn, revamp of your CV, learn a language, soft skills training, get coaching, or you can connect with like-minded peers who can steer you in the right direction,” Thole says.
“Use this time to discover what makes you happy in your career and life, and what you need to let go of,” she adds.
“It's a rather powerful period that allows you to reassess, discover and learn, and become stronger in preparation for your return to the workforce. It's also a great time to experiment with finding your passion. You may discover that you can indeed become your own boss and make money from doing what you truly love.”