Everyone is affected by the global pandemic. Organizations are experiencing disruption as forecasting revenue is increasingly difficult, leading to significant layoffs. So what does that mean for your career plans?

What do you do while you “hunker down?” Hang on to a job you hate “just in case?” Put aside any thought of career fulfillment as over-indulgent in today’s economy? The most important thing is to avoid scaring yourself into paralysis. The key to getting ahead in this pandemic environment is to remain focused on your career interests and how to position yourself for a favorable move when the dust settles.

Despite all the dire predictions, several aspects of the immediate future are quite encouraging for those who want to transition into a new career:

  • Many people will retire despite the economy, leaving positions vacant.
  • Jobs will become available as people leave because of personal circumstances like ill health or the need to serve as a primary caregiver.
  • There will be enormous pressure to fill critical jobs as the new Congress and President seek to start a new term.
  • There is always a demand for talent.

The best defense is preparation. This is the perfect time to do some serious self-assessment to know where you want to be as soon as a move becomes possible.

The Ideal Job for You

We have all known people who seemed ideally suited for their jobs. We can probably all recall an especially good teacher. For example, my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Smith, was scary but effective. I learned to read. She was more suited to her career than some of the other teachers.

It would help if you believed that there is an ideal job for you. You seek an activity that will make you excited about getting up in the morning, something you can be passionate about that draws on your experience, talents, and personality.

Identifying Your Interests

What if you have been so focused on developing a successful career that you don’t know what interests you now? I suggest to my career change clients that they use questions such as these to gain some clarity.

  1. Which movies or television shows do you enjoy most? Why?
  2. What part of the newspaper do you read? Why?
  3. What would you like to write a book about? Why?
  4. What were your favorite books from the past two years? What interests do they reflect?
  5. What subjects would you like to learn about now?
  6. How would you use a gift of $10 million?
  7. What have you thought about doing over the last few months?
  8. If you started a small business, what would it be?
  9. Is there something that you believe in so strongly that you would work at it for free?
  10. If you had several free hours to talk to an “interesting person” of your choice (real or imagined), describe whom you would choose.

Doing Your Homework

One of the Web’s great blessings is that you can research any topic that looks interesting without a lot of effort. Focus on a potential area that interests you to gather more information.

  • Who are the key people working in that area?
  • What are their backgrounds?
  • Where are they doing what you want to do -– in a region of the country or all over the world?
  • Who in your current network has the closest relation to your new interest? Remember, they don’t have to be doing it; they have to know more about it than you do to be useful. Better yet, if they can refer you to someone even more knowledgeable in your area of interest.

By pursuing this approach, eventually, you contact the people who are the thought leaders of interest to you, and you’ll so you can get the broadest possible view of the terrain. The next step is to talk to people to discover where you might fit in your new interest area.

Peter Sherer is a nationally recognized career coach who offers clarity and confidence to mid-career and senior executives in transition. His rigorous assessment tools enable his clients to identify a meaningful assignment that uses all of their skills and experience in just two short days. Learn more and get in touch with Peter today.