Countless days spent waking up in bed, working from home, eating at a desk, looping around the same block and doing it all over again for days without end leaves one longing to escape reality. Boredom, inspiration, and the recession are three main culprits for why individuals set out to pursue a new career path amid a pandemic. More importantly, COVID has left us to reevaluate how we measure the successes of our lives, along with our current list of priorities.
Many individuals have been forced to seek new opportunities for bleaker reasons than boredom; the COVID-19 pandemic has left nearly 51 million Americans unemployed or sometimes worse, furloughed. The pandemic has shattered expected professional plans and outcomes globally.
With a sea of people reprioritizing their lives and reimagining their dreams all at once, a shift was becoming evident. People suddenly began switching industries, kicking off their own job hunts or at least imagining how life may look differently. 1 in 4 women are actually considering a new career path as a result of the pandemic.
And I was one of them.
Working in the increasingly chaotic industry of nonprofit, a pinch of fear related to job security sparked my job hunt. When I called my mentor to share I was searching for my next career adventure, I was in disbelief from what I heard from the other end of the phone; pleas and begs to “stay put”, “it was no time to switch things up”. I scoffed. The first string of problems began a month later.
The pandemic – and accompanying isolation – has allowed time for intense reflection and opportunities to dig deep. I had been with my (now former) employer for nearly 2 years, since the month I graduated from graduate school. I was steadily learning about the field and was proud of the work I had accomplished thus far. But I was feeling uninspired, increasingly overworked and had no opportunities for what I considered real growth or financial gain in the near future. I discerned what I was looking for; a transition to the private sector, an understanding and more intentional work environment, the chance to work closely on the strategy side with consultants and to continue to tap into my creative side.
When close friends began jumping ship one after another at my old workplace, I turned to job posting boards and started furiously sending out cover letters and resumes. My brother came across a job posting that sounded exactly like the job I wanted. They also were known for having some of the best work-life balance practices in the consulting industry.
Making a career pivot mid pandemic is terrifying, but life changing. Consider asking yourself the following questions:
- What am I currently missing that I am looking for in my next role?
- How has the current company (if you’re interviewing) supported their employees during this time of crisis?
- Are you ready to emotionally, physically and spiritually experience two life-altering events at the same time?
- Where do you see yourselves in the next 3 or 5 years? Will your next move help you in this direction?
- The most important of them all: Where do I want to be when I retire? Now work backwards and allow this to inspire your research, networking and interviews you accept!