In our careers, we often have little or no control over organizational changes. We can control how we frame them in our minds as part of our more significant career stories. While corporate restructuring is nothing new, COVID-driven reorganizations can be incredibly sharp and brisk due to the uncertainty and urgency sweeping through many industries.

Living through a restructuring means waking up every day with complete uncertainty about what your professional life will look like in the next week, month or year while still having to show up with your best face forward. As anyone who has gone a few rounds in the restructuring ring knows, information is passed out slowly and discreetly from the decision-makers. This process creates stress, uncertainty, and resentment. The term “inhumane” can feel like an appropriate label as you wait for the bottom to drop out daily. It is possible to both survive and thrive through a COVID-driven reorganization. Here’s how to get through with grace and motivation.

Prioritize Relationships

It’s essential to maintain the human side of business during a reorganization, even if you feel like the decision-makers aren’t. Acknowledge that everyone at every level is feeling the same way. One thing that anyone who has been through a restructuring knows is that nobody is untouched. That means that even the people in high-level management roles responsible for implementing reorganization aren’t necessarily “safe.” Now isn’t the time to pull away from your team. A strong team will help you charge forward under the new organizational structure as a more effective unit. Strong communication will provide a backdrop for emotional support and professional networking if the group is dissolved or minimized.

Advocate for Your Team Members

Restructuring can be a chance for some of the people you oversee or mentor to land on higher ground when the dust settles. You may need to prepare to “fight” for your team. Ensure you have a case for each team member based on the unique skill sets and values they bring to the table. Prepare for how you will advocate for each person on your team if you are pulled into a meeting.

Don’t Internalize the Experience

Millions of people had their careers thrown into chaos as a result of COVID. While it may feel personal, this is one era where nobody is shocked to hear about layoffs. Being laid off brings a huge psychological hit. Research shows us that it can take a decade to trust people again after being laid off. In addition, many people internalize feelings of not being good enough, being unlucky, or being betrayed in a way that prevents them from moving forward.

Discover the Opportunity Hidden in the Stress

There is a shift happening like never before regarding people bringing their talents to new roles in new forms. From a professional standpoint, this creates an incredible opportunity to do something new. A decade ago, being laid off meant polishing up your resume to spend hours searching on job boards or talking with recruiters. The freedom that the remote-work response to COVID created means that there may be flexible and dynamic opportunities in your future that were unimaginable just two years ago. Maintaining an open mindset is the key to being able to grab hold of these opportunities.

It’s a season for strategizing. One thing you’ll discover is that many people have gone through reorganizations, lived to tell the tale, and found their most fulfilling professional moments after the fact. You don’t have to choose between being realistic and being optimistic. Reimagining your career plans based on what you would do if your passions could lead you can help you thrive regardless of where you land in a restructuring.

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