By Linda Taliaferro
The world has certainly changed in response to COVID-19. Many people are working from home full-time, and while this is great in some ways, it can also be concerning for people who are looking to make big moves in their careers. How are we supposed to get that elevator facetime, or drop by for a quick check-in that might lead to an opportunity?
But this situation doesn’t mean your career is stalled out on your professional goals.
DON’T CANCEL THE MEETINGS
A remote working situation doesn’t mean you can’t get those valuable one-on-ones or meetings. Video solutions like Zoom, Teams, and Skype give us a good alternative to in-person meetings. Don’t cancel any of the upcoming meetings you’ve set up with mentors and project partners, just turn them into video meetings. Definitely don’t cancel them just because you can’t sit across from them at a desk.
STRENGTHEN YOUR SKILLSET
As we’re working from home, this is a great time to be doing some e-learning. Is there something you’ve been meaning to pick up? A gap in your skillset you can fill?
Block it in your calendar for an hour once a week to take a course every week, because this time at home is valuable. Strengthen your knowledge and bridge a skill gap so that you’re better prepared to meet an opportunity that might come your way in the future.
You have a great opportunity during this time to show how you can adapt in a crisis by showing up with excellence, whether you’re on video or audio. It’s a great time to demonstrate that executive presence that announces: “I can handle a challenging situation with poise.”
So, answer those messages, answer those emails. However, it is you communicate, be sure you’re showing up with attention and focus. People will notice your presence, even now that you’re not physically together.
TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR STRATEGY
What is the plan that you’re following in your career right now?
Today is a great time to take that plan out and re-evaluate it. How can you be creative during this unprecedented time? Is there anything that needs to be revamped or refreshed? Career plans are living documents anyway, so use your time at home to see if you need to change or adapt anything.
Crises are useful in the sense that they put us in touch with our values and the things that are important to us, so don’t be afraid to take that to your career strategy as well. It may help to schedule a one-on-one with a mentor and share your ideas. What has changed? Why? They can give you some feedback if you’re in doubt about them.
DON’T STOP COMMUNICATING
Being present and showing up in the room is something you’ve heard me say a lot, but it’s exactly as important when you’re remote. If you’re on a conference call, on email, or on the phone I want you to communicate and share the way you might if you were back in the office.
Stress can exacerbate negative self-talk, which makes it hard to speak up, but I want to encourage you to not let this situation stop you from sharing your voice.
Remember that even now, there is power in our technology. There’s power in your laptop with a camera. There’s power in a phone call with a voice. This is the time to use all those tools to your advantage. Don’t tell yourself that it’s not worth it, because it is. Maybe now more than ever.