Yessi Bello PerezFormer Senior Writer, Growth Quarters
Coronavirus has ground many industries to a halt, causing huge ripples of unemployment in countries such as the US.
Even though some countries are starting to ease lockdown measures, and businesses may be looking to re-open soon, the pandemic’s knock on effect on the world’s economy is likely to be felt for a while yet.
So here are a few things you should consider if job security is keeping you awake at night.
[Read: 7 tips on lockdown career advancement — for employees and managers]
How real is the fear?
The first thing you need to think about is whether the anxiety, or fear, is justified or whether it’s just in your head.
Is there real room for concern (your employer has clearly hinted that the company is in financial trouble or redundancies are likely) or have you, driven by headlines and hysteria, built this up in your head?
It’s important you assess all the information you do have and make an informed decision as to whether you’re worrying over nothing.
1. Take control
If the fear is justified and there are clear signs that your future at the company is uncertain, don’t panic, and channel your anxiety into something positive while also starting to plan for the future.
Mitigate your anxiety by taking control and asking yourself whether you have successfully done the job you were originally hired to do. Think about why you were hired, what the company’s current and future requirements are, and whether you have the necessary skills to achieve them.
Think about what you could have done differently, or better, and give yourself an easily achievable goal — one you could tick off within the next week. This can be something simple like, for example, reading a research paper that’s been on your to-do list for a while, or reviewing a project’s performance to date. Getting things done will give you a sense of achievement and hopefully lift your mood.
This introspective exercise will give you a better sense of your performance and transferable skills — and give you valuable insight into what your next professional move could be.
2. Take money worries out of the equation
Being concerned about money and the potential loss of income can certainly keep you up at night.
Review your monthly expenses and decide whether you can cut back in certain aspects to begin saving straight away. By creating a sense of security, you’ll have a safety net you can resort to if you do end up losing your job.
Take stock and be realistic. If you haven’t been able to save, and you’ve been living paycheck to paycheck, you may want to seek expert advice. Speak to an advisor to see how you can find a way to build reserves in your current situation.
3. Start surveying job prospects
Being proactive will make you feel empowered and will help shift your focus away from any anxiety you may be experiencing.
It can be hard to think about desirable opportunities when you’re worried about getting money in through the door, but if you can, think about what you would like your next role to be and start there.
Once you know what you want, work on your CV and update your LinkedIn profile accordingly.
By all means look for and apply for jobs online but don’t underestimate the power of leveraging your network — your connections can be your biggest advocates and help you get your foot in through the door.
Trawl the usual suspects (LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Facebook) but get creative and check out relevant communities on sites such as Meetup and Reddit. You may not be able to meet in person at the moment, but this shouldn’t deter your networking.
There are plenty of online communities you can join based on location, experience, and sector. For example, the ‘Bay Area Jobseekers and Recruiters Network‘ on Meetup or the ‘London Jobs & Opportunities‘ subreddit.
4. Do your own thing
Have you always had a ton of business ideas? Is there a business problem you’d like to solve? If so, now may be the time to start thinking about setting up your own business.
Take stock of the ideas you have and think about their viability. Research your prospective operating market, look at the competition, and think about putting together a business plan.
Reach out to people you know — you’ll be surprised by how generous they can be with their time. If you have a business mentor, run ideas by them, ask for connections who can help you shape what you’re trying to do and use every conversation as a research opportunity. Learn as much as you can!
Times may be challenging but just remember that some of today’s biggest fintech companies emerged as a result of the 2008 financial crisis.
5. You’re much more than your job
Last but by no means least, remember that your job is something you do, it’s not what defines you. You are worth much more than your job, role, or position.
If you can, take some time off before your next role starts. It’s likely you’re even more mentally exhausted than you care to admit.
Put your wellbeing first, and hopefully the rest will follow.
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