What's next? The aftermath of COVID-19

Everyone has thought about it, many have talked about; but, who is going to do something about it? In a most recent, Fortune article I read there is nearly 22 million claims of unemployment in the US. With the most recent wave of layoff & reduction in force, in addition to, having no end in sight to combat of the COVID-19 pandemic, that number will surely increase. So, what's next?

Despite, the grim near future, do not panic. In fact, panic is the last thing you want to do. Instead, take this time to reflect, evaluate and elevate. No need to be negative or create negativity around you. Sure this is a "stinker", but it doesn't solve anything to be a negative Nelly or Nancy. Creating bad energy simply transpire into not so great decisions.

The time will come when recruiters are overloaded, hiring managers are overwhelmed and their inboxes are flooded with resumes. Wouldn't it be great to be their saving grace and a "breathe of fresh air". So, when "the time" comes and "shelter-in-place" has been lifted, how will you stand out in the job market? Remember, you are 1 of the 22 million of the now unemployed seeking jobs. The best thing you can do is plan and prepare for "the time". This my friend is called, opportunity; and it is time for you to invest. Yes! I said it, invest. Invest in yourself and your future.

Caution sign for New Opportunity

When is the last time you invested in your professional development? I'm sure I am not the only one that gets caught up in their job and focuses their concentration on being an "astounding" employee; because eventually your hope is; it will translate to a bonus, raise, and/or a promotion. Am, I right? So, you excel in those projects, hit those deadlines, and all the while you're contributing to the company's success; because, the company success is your success. Right? Well, I'll let you determine that answer, but think about it this way. When the company is not succeeding, despite your "great" work ethics and contribution, do they hold on to you, until the end? Or are you filing for unemployment because you involuntarily lost your job?

The harsh reality is, the company does not owe you anything. And you are not obligated to the company nor the job." This was something that was told to me very early in my life. Yes, it is extremely direct, but I am grateful someone was honest with me; because it didn't create a false expectation. This is why Human Resource(HR) development is key. And things like: hiring right, setting the right expectation up front, employee engagement, having the correct set of policies and processes in place, and training development is important.

Every company is different, and it is in our ability to choose the right work environment and company that makes the difference. So for those of you who are in the pool of the 22 million, my best advice is, don't wait. Be constructive and creative. Allow this down time to be your "charging time".

How you may ask? My recommendation is do it in three phases. It what I like to call, "the power 3". Reflect, evaluate and elevate.

Phase one, is reflection. Reflect on your most recent experience. Here are some helpful tips and question to get you started.

  1. What were the pros/cons of your most recent job?
  2. Do a SWOT analysis on yourself
  3. What type of working environment are you most successful in?
  4. What is your working style?
  5. What kind of management style best suits your working style?

Once you have a good idea of where you stand, move on to phase two.

Phase two, is to evaluate. You are unknowingly entering into a game of chess. So, what is your next move?

  1. With your most recent reflection from phase one, you now know where you stand. So, what is your next job? In what industry? What is your title? Salary range? Seniority-level? Job Function? This will be a good to know, because while there be plenty of opportunity, it will help you stay focus on the right path.

Once you have an idea of the direction you're going in, focus on attributes of the company.

  1. What type of company is it? What is the size of the company? What is the culture, mission and values?
  2. What are the top things you are looking for in a company?
  3. What are you going to stay clear away from?

And with this new profound perspective you now have the tools to be able to successfully invest in your future.

The last phase is the action phase and what I call the elevation phase. The importance of this phase is in your planning and preparation. Details are vital, this is what makes functionality appear seamless. If you have ever wonder how sometimes something works so seamless in businesses and other times not? It because of the person behind those seamless project and processes thought of the details.

The aftermath of the COVID-19 is in many ways what you make of it. If anything this pandemic is a wake-up call and the effects has simply change how we will function. Although, the future may appear grim, rest a sure new opportunities are ahead; and the future is heading toward brighter days. How will you elevate your professional development? and What steps will you take to enjoy a brighter future?