Lately I’ve had countless conversations with people in my network about how their career plans are being completely derailed due to COVID-19. Graduates in particular are feeling the sting as their plans are uprooted. It’s about being agile in a new world.
Everyone's situation is different, and this has impacted us all in different ways, but the one similarity is that whatever you had planned for 2020, will likely not be happening or will need to be altered.
When things change
Some of us might be 30 years into our careers and finding ourselves at a loss and others are our recent graduates who are finding themselves without any job prospects.
Speaking from experience, I graduated from the University of Florida in 2008, the year of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). Being in the United States during a GFC with a Public Relations’ degree is not where you want to find yourself. After I graduated, I realised during that time that there was no way I was ever going to find a job in PR as a recent grad.
So, I asked myself, if my expected career path was not an option, what could I do? Let that sink in. Yes, your career trajectory and life plan has been turned upside down and it’s important to feel all the disappointment, hurt, anger and grieve for the loss of your plans. Then it’s important to remind yourself that there are many more options out there, and this is an opportunity to carve a different path.
Asking for advice
While I felt I was at a loss, being able to speak with different people and ask them for their advice provided new ideas, connections and pathways I hadn’t considered. I asked friends of my parents, family members, professors, old work colleagues/bosses:
What is your biggest regret?
What do you wish you had done differently?
What would you do if you were in my shoes?
What is your advice for me?
How did you get to where you are today - tell me about your journey?
How to create a new career plan
Compile all the opinions and advice, with possible new directions to see what feels right for you and leave behind what you no longer need. In the end, I came up with a new plan and it was wonderful. I went on an epic adventure and I wouldn't change a thing.
Don't get me wrong, I realise that we are in the middle of both a pandemic and a recession, it's like a double whammy, but in life there are always options and opportunities.
So, why not start with the above? Ask around, see what people have to say, gather opinions and advice. You'll probably scoff at this simple suggestion. It's so basic right? But you’ll be surprised by the answers.
Given you are a recent grad or soon will be, you may not know what you don't know and so it will be important for you to ask around for that advice, and equally spend the time listening to your gut.
Do more research and find information
If you’re lost feeling shy and don’t want to ask others for advice yet, here are some resource suggestions you can begin with:
The 100 Jobs of the Future report published by Deakin University is a great place to start if you’ve recently found yourself at a loss as to where to put your energy and into what field.
Given our borders are closed and may remain closed for the near future, looking at jobs where overseas workers may have been hired can help you narrow and target those types of jobs/industries. This article on high demand jobs for foreign workers was published a few years ago but gives you a good idea as to where there may be shortages in the coming years.
Start your own business! According to this article about starting a business, putting on your entrepreneurship hat and starting a business during a recession isn’t such a bad idea.
Check out some of the positives that came out of the 2008 GFC – 14 successful companies that started during recessions
The Australian government has provided this future outlook resource to help you with your job and study options.