By Sunny Jordan, MBA
Strategic Partnerships Manager
COVID-19 has many people asking the question, “What matters most to me and how do I want to spend my time?” The pandemic disrupted life as we know it, and many people are rethinking their life, career, and priorities.
With all that is going on in this world, you might be wondering if this is the right time to reinvent yourself. Maybe you are lucky and didn’t get sick, but found yourself scrambling to make ends meet, caring for a sick family member or child. The pandemic increased our stress and caught us unprepared—physically, financially, and psychologically. That kind of uncertainty may feel uncomfortable and threatening, prompting you to exercise caution and avoid additional interruptions in your life.
However, history tells us that society will overcome this great challenge as it has many times before, so we must think about what life will be like after COVID-19. Think about how you can move forward from survival mode into rebuilding your new self.
Last year, most of us indulged in relaxation, increased family time, and virtual companionship from our screens, which over time became unproductive and unmotivating. One explanation for this phenomenon is a quote from Plato: “Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” We should use this quote as a steppingstone on the path to the next version of ourselves and our careers.
With numerous opportunities before you, this is the right time to pursue your dream career. Here’s how:
1. Assess your past experiences
- Think in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent job and working backward. Identify tasks, responsibilities, awards, and accomplishments for each job. You can also do this if you are a current college student.
- Think about skills and experiences you have that would interest an employer. Write down scenarios where you gained or used those skills.
- Ask yourself, “What are my strengths and weaknesses? What skills do I want to improve or showcase?”
2. Develop many possible selves
When you aren’t certain what the future holds for you, or the path you started on takes a detour, here is your opportunity to create a diverse portfolio of options. On this journey of exploration, you may have to experiment, test, and learn more about who you are.
This idea of possible selves is your guide to discovering who you might want to become.
Have an open mind, be creative, and imagine the endless possibilities available for your future self. Ask, “What does my future look like and how do I want to show up?” This exercise is meant to be freeing and innovative.
3. Explore growing career fields
If you’re looking to change careers during this time when many people are working from home or furloughed from their jobs, try exploring growing industries like cybersecurity.
Cybercrime Magazine predicts that global cybercrime damages will reach $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. According to Gartner Research, the global information security market is forecasted to grow to $170.4 billion in 2022 to cope with the rising cybercrime projection. That’s why jobs like information security analysts are expected to grow by 31%.
In the end, when it comes to reinventing your career in this time of crisis, remember this important point: The time to do it is now—but don’t go it alone. At Western Governors University, online programs are designed to help you succeed in your dream career. At WGU, you have an entire team of faculty members and a mentor whose #1 job is empowering you toward success.
(Note: a version of this article previously appeared in Pride Magazine).