11 Strategies to Manage Your Career During Uncertain Times
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It's impossible to prevent yourself from worrying about how to manage your career during uncertain times. Fears surrounding how well you can do the job and if you are even going to have it in a matter of months are thoughts that you're going to find yourself struggling to deal with. The good news is that while some external factors have a tremendous amount of pull in what eventually happens, you have a fair amount of control over it too.
Not only are you expected to maintain a certain standard of work, but you need to be able to evolve and expand your abilities and horizons when the context demands it. Once you can continue to be what the situation requires, you shouldn't have to worry too much about managing your career when things look uncertain.
Below is a wealth of useful information that should go a long way in helping you keep things together and navigate uncertain waters. The strategies are mostly going to be grouped based on career stages, so finding what applies to you should be less challenging.
As a fresh graduate, you are looking to make your mark by establishing yourself in two ways. The chances are that you have a career path that you'd like to follow, and it's most likely based on the degree program you completed. First, you probably intend to establish yourself as a part of that industry. Additionally, you are going to need to cement yourself as a solid asset in the world of work. The strategies below are based on these objectives, and they should help you tremendously with career development during an uncertain time.
Strategy One – Avoid Being Too Picky
Only a few fresh college graduates can be picky about where they start in the working world. Most people must "pay their dues" before their talents and other good qualities get the recognition they deserve. Some of the top chemists were lab assistants before. There are IT managers who started as the intern that had to grab someone else's coffee. You need to understand that this is not a time in your life where you can be too picky.
Since you have a university education and a wealth of knowledge, it's easy to feel that some things are beneath you. However, this is the time for you to work on breaking out of that mindset. You are not going to be doing the more menial tasks forever. Look at it as an opportunity to understand how the spokes contribute to the whole wheel's turning.
You rarely get to be a hotshot right out of the gates, so be more open to "lesser" opportunities.
Strategy Two – Take Opportunities Outside of Your Field if They Come
There's a reason why many companies who are hiring have work experience requirements. It's not just about knowing how to do the job that you are applying for. Companies have different ways of doing things, which means you're going to need the training to understand how the job works anyways.
The more significant concern is knowing that you can function in our working world. There is always going to be a cloud of doubt when someone is supposed to hire a fresh graduate. Getting good grades in school doesn't prove that you can do the work in most cases.
Thankfully, some options are more welcoming than others, but they may not necessarily be in your desired field. Take these opportunities for the sake of the experience, so you no longer appear fresh. If nothing else, it proves that you can hold your own and take the initiatives necessary when given a job.
Being ready to respond to these opportunities well is an acquired skill. Do some research and start practicing where going through the interview process is concerned. Whether you're required to do a physical or a video interview, you need to be able to hit the ground running.
As a junior staff member, you probably feel like the most expendable of the bunch. Managing your career can be very scary during uncertain periods, as you can't shake the feeling that you are going to be the first on the chopping block if the company starts to cut staff.
Realistically, you're not necessarily wrong. The more skilled and experienced staff members are usually safer than the junior ones. On the flip side, the organization can't function without a stellar combination of all three. So, what can you do to keep your job and ensure that you are making a useful contribution?
Strategy Three – Display an Innovative Approach
A company is way more likely to be satisfied with a staff member who seems like a developing asset. There is a known and accepted way of doing your job, and it's great that you understand it. However, one of the best ways to make an impression is to show that you are willing to improve and find better ways of going about your daily tasks.
Pulling this off doesn't even mean making significant changes. Perhaps you can start using a calendar app to schedule activities and make yourself more efficient. Maybe you can use any free time you have to help in another department. You could even do some research to find and adopt better ways that other people have of doing what you do. As you collect information and brainstorm, make suggestions, and let everyone see that you are all about progress.
Strategy Four - Be About the Team
Companies tend to respond well to a demonstration that you are a team player through and through. Everyone must get this impression for this strategy to work, and ideally, this should be something you adopt as a personality trait.
The actions you need to perform are simple here too. Check on persons who seem to be having a bad day. Offer your help where you can, even if the task at hand is not your job. Let your teammates know that they can call on you.
However you go about it, once people know that you are there and about the team, it should all work out very well for you.
As a senior staff member, you are well established as a part of the business. However, when you start reflecting on your career during uncertain times, you may start worrying about where you stand with the company and what you can do to ensure that you're not asked to leave.
Strategy Five – You're Not Safe – Get Hungry
Even if you are thinking about the state of your career and you do have your concerns, senior staff members often believe that they are safe. Remind yourself that no matter how long you have been with the company, The possibility still exists that you could be let go.
Taking this approach gives you the motivation to rediscover the hunger you had when you just came on board. Begin to demonstrate that passion again by offering suggestions, being proactive, and showing your leadership capabilities.
Strategy Six – Grow
This is particularly important for those who have seen no changes for a very long time. No matter how long you've been at it, you need to demonstrate that you can evolve with the times. To reinvent your career during uncertain times is also an essential thing to do. Take training courses, get more certifications, and don't be afraid to challenge yourself.
A freelancer's context is much different from the previous three cases, though there are some similarities. A freelancer does not have certain kinds of worries, but they do have their unique ones. For example, a contract between a client and a freelancer can usually be terminated at any time with no notice.
Additionally, freelancers are often never in the same physical location as those with whom they work. Almost all of them are remote workers and work far from the office. Some freelancers don't even know what their bosses look like. So, what can you do as a freelancer to ensure that your revenue stream is not disturbed during an uncertain time?
Strategy Seven – Maintain Current Relationships Well
The most important thing is to ensure that you're doing what's necessary to maintain the current stream of income you have. New opportunities should never take precedence over long-standing employers who have been good to you. Communicate regularly, put in an extra effort to meet the designated targets, show some initiative in the work that you do, seek feedback, and ensure that the client knows how grateful you are for the opportunity.
Strategy Eight – Establish New Relationships Where Possible
Do not try to pull off this step if you cannot take on extra work with your current jobs. As indicated above, maintaining your existing relationships is very important. Those are clients who trust you, which means you are likely to continue getting work. Once you notice that you have time and availability to do more work, you should go for it. Multiple revenue streams are beneficial, and doing this gives you some level of assurance during uncertain times.
While the eight strategies above can apply to more than one context in some cases, they are mostly specific to a particular category of person. On the other hand, the strategies below are much different since they apply to persons who fall under different employment categories. These are some essentials that take care of if you want to feel better about your career's trajectory during an uncertain time.
Strategy Nine – Familiarize Yourself with the Concept of the Team as an Idea and Not a Physical Group
If you try to imagine your team, you are probably going to think of it as a group of several persons. In your imagination, these persons are probably standing right next to each other. It's important to understand that the team is the idea of several persons pulling in the same direction.
These people don't necessarily need to be in one physical location. Once you understand this well, it helps you to adapt to multiple work situations. Maybe you can't always be in the office. That doesn't mean that the wheels of the business stopped turning. Understand that the team needs to be able to function as a unit regardless of location.
If you manage the team, this is even more important, as you know you need to put in the time to do research and learn how best you can handle a team of people no longer in the same space. Work on motivating your team members, encouraging functional meetings in physical and virtual contexts, etc.
Strategy 10 – Be Comfortable
Studies have shown that people work much better when they are comfortable. Physical discomfort, for example, can tremendously hamper productivity. So, if you want to execute your job functions as well as you possibly can, you must understand that your comfort is a big part of your ability to do that.
One of the best ways to ensure that you are comfortable is to create an ergonomic workspace wherever you are. While you're in the traditional office space, much of what you need is provided, and you don't have to worry too much about it.
However, what about your remote work location? Some of the items that could go a long way in immediately making you more comfortable are as follows:
- Autonomous SmartDesk 2 - Home Office
- Autonomous SmartDesk 2 - Premium
- Autonomous ErgoChair 2
- Autonomous Kinn Chair
- Autonomous Monitor Arm
The idea behind ergonomics is that once a person, the tools used, and the environment are in sync, productivity should be more significant.
Strategy 11 – Consider the Worst Case
The final strategy is one that many people tend to skip over. You must understand that while doing everything that you need to can undoubtedly boost your chances of retaining the state of your career during uncertain times, the opposite is also possible.
Not only do you need to understand that that's not the end of the road, but you should also have a plan in mind to help you take care of things if you should suddenly become unemployed. The pause between one job and the next doesn't change the fact that you have responsibilities that must be addressed. Create a plan and a budget so you are not so lost if the worst should happen.
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