Career in the time of Coronavirus

Career in the times of Coronavirus

The coming times are going to be hard. Not just on the personal front for all of us with the spread of the disease and disruption of social life but also greatly on the professional front. The virus and following lockdowns across the world have brought the economies of all the countries of the world at the brink of collapse. A recession is imminent, as a matter of fact already here. People are losing jobs across industries. The unemployment rate has already crossed 23% in India and looking at the uncertainty of the coming times, it is expected to grow. Some people have been fortunate and they only had to go through pay cuts and furloughs which in such times is still a much better option compared to layoffs. But no one knows how long their employers will retain them even at reduced salaries. If the market and the demand for goods and services does not come back up in time, they will also be forced to cut jobs to reduce costs even further. All in all, we are not in a good place and the way ahead is also foggy at best if not dark.

We used to believe that our educational background, professional experience and state of health would be enough to give us a stable future. Even if we lost our jobs, these things will help us bounce back and find a new one. But the virus has proved this wrong. No one is safe from the virus and no jobs are safe either. This virus, even when it is completely eradicated will leave a lasting impact on the way things work across the world. Everything will change. From consumer behavior to shopping patterns to even the way work is done in organizations. We must shift from our usual ways of doing things if we want to prevail.

This is why it is necessary that we need to start preparing for the future and that too at a war footing. It is imperative that we start upskilling and reskilling ourselves to prepare for whatever is to come in the future. To reskill is to learn new things, different from our usual area of expertise, while to upskill is to update our existing knowledge and skills to strengthen them. The importance of upskilling is self-evident. You need to be so good at your job that your employer has no reason to ever let you go. Reskilling is important to make sure that we are ready for the digital transformations that are going to happen to not just our work but also the way we work. The sooner you accept that life will never go back to normal as you remember, the better it would be for you.

How do you begin reskilling and upskilling? Here are four points that you can follow not related to any particular field

  1. Get in the right mindset. These are adverse times and it is natural for one to panic or be discouraged. We need to be mindful of these times and our emotions and make sure we don’t let them take control of our minds.
  2. Realize the urgency of the situation - We are in the midst of a crisis and the longer we put aside developing ourselves, the tougher it will be for us to deal with the current and future issues the world throws at us.
  3. Understand the situation and think about transformation - You cannot develop a skill until you know what you need to develop. You need to access your expertise and see what aspect of your skillset or the way you work needs to transform. For eg. if you had been working in sales, traditionally you would have had physical meetings with prospects. This won’t be possible from now. You will instead have to learn to start using technology to interact with the customer and provide them with the same or a better experience.
  4. Ask for help and support when needed. This is new for all of us. We will get stuck and our motivation will go down. That’s OK. When it comes to reskilling and upskilling you cannot do it alone. Find someone who can help you. Find someone you can help.
    I am a technology leader with more than 13 years of product development experience. If you are a developer or a startup or even a business looking for support with their product or technology requirements, feel free to connect with me on my Linkedin.
  5. Build a source of passive income - Most of us are in this pickle because our primary and only source of income was impacted by the economic downturn. We need to take a lesson from this and find ways to add an additional source of revenue. Look into your skillset and try to see what you can do that will act as an alternate source of income.

We will get through these hard times. We, humans, are extremely resilient. We just need to sit at homes and prepare ourselves for the future that’s waiting for us.

Stay safe.

Note: I plan to write a upskilling and reskilling post specifically for technology people. Subscribe to my newsletter to get it whenever I release it.

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I have helped many startups in building their products and I would be happy to have a chat with you about your idea. Catch me on twitter at @akhilrex