“I’m not at the office. And to be honest I’m f****** LOVING it. I don’t want to go back, but is it really possible to make a career change in lockdown?”
“I’ve finally got some time to think about what I really want to do. But I don’t have any ideas, or any clue where to start.”
“I couldn’t bear it if this opportunity to make a change passed me by.”
“If there’s one thing I know for sure, I definitely don’t to go back to working the way things were.”
“But is it really possible to get started on my career change in lockdown?”
The world is on pause.
Normal life has been suspended.
The way you work has been interrupted.
If you’ve been unhappy at work, then you’re probably, on some level, appreciating the seismic shake up of your normal working life.
It’s not comfortable, and it’s taking some getting used to. But at least something’s CHANGED, right?
It’s like you’ve been stuck on this relentless hamster wheel, going round and round, thinking half-heartedly about how nice it would be to make a career change.
How sodding lovely to do work that felt meaningful, and challenging! That you wake up feeling excited about.
Work that uses the best of your skills, and lets you finally, FINALLY be yourself.
You can practically feel that melting sense of relief, just thinking about it.
And yet it’s also felt impossibly far away, hasn’t it?
If only you had the time, you’d do something about it.
If only you could come up with a viable idea, then you’d get started.
Time has rattled on and on. And somehow, you’ve become comfortably uncomfortable.
And not a damn thing has changed.
In space of a hot minute, everything we thought we could rely on has changed.
These may be unprecedented times, and I’m not saying that anything about this lockdown, or the virus that caused it, is good.
But if you’ve been thinking about a career change for a while and not done anything about it, corona has just handed you the biggest GIFT of time to make it happen.
It’s a royal kick up the arse, and a never-to-be-repeated invitation.
Here are three reasons why starting career change in lockdown is the IDEAL time, and what you need to do to take advantage of it.
1. We have ALL stepped off our respective hamster wheels
“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” — Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr
It’s not as dramatic as the moment where Neo wakes up, out of the Matrix for the first time. And yet there’s something of that in what’s happening.
We’re normally swept along by all the busy-ness of life, stuck in our routines and habits, so used to the familiar shapes and structures of our lives.
And now, the things that we took for granted, like meeting each other (or leaving our houses whenever we like) are suddenly not there anymore.
Even getting food has become a challenge.
The things in life that seemed ‘fixed’, have more wiggle room than we thought. Things that we thought we needed (hello, Friday night dinners out!), are less important than we’d realised. We’re fine, without some of the regular fixtures on our monthly spending.
We’re having to reconstruct ‘normal’, from the bottom level of the pyramid up.
When the outbreak started, things felt chaotic and scary. It was not the time to be piling on the pressure to make a career change.
Yet, in the conversations I’m having with career changers, I’m sensing that something has shifted. We’re at a point where that new normal is starting to settle down. It’s not necessarily OK, but, for what it’s worth, we are getting used to it.
And now that that’s the case, there’s never been a better time, to think about what work that fits might look like.
You’re outside of your routine. Away from your office. You have the privacy of your home around you. A place where you can be unapologetically you.
There’s nothing like a good shake up of normal, to give you a sense of what’s possible.
And you can use that, to allow yourself to imagine what work you love would mean to you. Outside of the realms of what you’d previously defined as ‘normal’ or ‘realistic’.
Like the office workers, redeployed as delivery drivers, who’ve realised they really don’t want to go back into desk jobs again.
Or the cabin crew redeployed as health care workers.
What do you realise now, that you didn’t appreciate before?
It’s time to acknowledge and appreciate the good, and state what’s not working. To borrow a question that Tony Robbins asks in Awaken the Giant Within: If you raised the bar on your working life, what parts of it would no longer measure up?
- Get quiet. Relax. Tune in.
- How do you want to feel, at the end of a working day?
- What do you want to be present within that day, and what do you definitely not want anymore?
- Allow yourself to dream, unfettered by life as it has been up till now. What does your ideal work day look and feel like?
2. People are craving human connection in lockdown, and many have MORE TIME
If you’ve followed me for any length of time you’ll know that I’m not a fan of the idea of traditional ‘networking’.
(Or its accompanying disingenuous race to exchange business cards, hoping that one day the connection can be cashed in for a ‘you-scratch-my-back-I’ll-scratch-yours favour.)
Instead, I’m much more of a believer in fostering genuine human connection.
Right now, people are appreciating and needing human connection in a whole new way.
I don’t just mean having to connect virtually for work.
Our communities have pulled together in new, creative and heartening ways to support each other.
Friends and families are reporting spending more time connecting now, via Zoom, with better quality interactions, than they did before.
And while some are busier than others (hey there, homeschooling parents!), many people have either more time on their hands, or would make time in order to connect with you.
Career change isn’t something that happens through computers and machines, automated systems and faceless processes.
It happens through conversations.
And when you bring authenticity and vulnerability to those conversations, people respond in human and supportive ways.
While it’s important to be sensitive to the range of different experiences of the lockdown, there’s never been a better time to reach out to someone who’s working in a role you find fascinating.
To listen, ask questions and learn about a field of work that’s always intrigued you;
Find out whether your assumption that the role takes 5 years to retrain for, is true, or whether there is, in fact, another way in that you hadn’t thought about;
Discover things about it, that you don’t yet know.
This is how you begin a career change in lockdown.
When you reach out and connect, you could unlock new ideas and information that could bring you the aha moment you’ve been waiting for.
And you’ll make a connection with someone who might just turn out to be a powerful ally in your shift.
- Find 3 people whose roles or lines of work fascinate you.
- Reach out.
- Be honest about what you’re doing and why
- Ask authentically for a conversation.
- See what happens.
3. The world of work will CHANGE after this.
We’re in the middle of a remote working revolution right now.
While this might feel chaotic and strange, it also offers a sea of opportunity for your career change.
Teams are working together in new ways. Companies will streamline in some respects and expand and diversify in others.
Add to that a renewed focus on employee well-being; reducing bureaucracy so that people can work together more efficiently; and tapping into entrepreneurial spirit within firms, and you have a powerful mix for creating new career opportunities.
That’s just a tiny taster of the changes that will result from this crisis.
How many new roles will exist that didn’t exist before?
With companies having proved that working from home works, we’ll see changes in how many businesses rely on having actual offices, and a trend towards newer companies being entirely remote. That has a huge impact on who they can hire, and where those people are based.
No longer limited by where you work, you’ll have access to a greater pool of employers than ever before. And as we begin to recover economically, the opportunities for starting and growing your own business will increase too.
Not knowing where to start, or lacking ideas isn’t a reason not to begin. There’s a wealth of opportunity out there that you can start exploring right now. Take it.
- Think about how the areas of work you’re interested in might change after this.
- Speak to 3 people who know those areas inside out, and who can tell you about the challenges and changes they’re seeing.
- Consider how you could position yourself to help with those challenges and changes.
Career change in lockdown: don’t waste time waiting for the right time
There’s nothing any of us can do about this crisis, other than abide by the stay-at-home rules, offer whatever help to others we safely can, and do our best to wait it out.
But that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do about your career change in lockdown.
Take the time to understand your strengths and what brings you into flow at work. Get clear on how you want to leave a positive impact on the world..
And most of all, if this is all sounding a little too much to grapple with, get support with your career change, so that you can approach this in a structured way, without overwhelm.
When this lockdown comes to an end, do you want to be one of the ones who let the opportunity slip by, or one of the ones who grabbed it with both hands?
If you want to make the most of the lockdown for your shift, but don’t know how, I can help you.
I’m currently offering a limited number of ‘Career SOS’ sessions each week.
Career SOS sessions: power-hour style, laser-focused initial career coaching sessions, where I’ll work through your unique situation with you, 1:1, and give you some clear actions to take away, so that you feel clear and focused about what to do next.
I can show you techniques to come up with career change ideas, even if you think you don’t have any. I can help you get started having experiences and conversations related to your career ideas, even if you don’t have any experience. And I can help you design a pathway in, even if you can’t see one.
What does it cost?
£47. A fraction of my normal rate (though I can’t guarantee how long I’ll keep them at this rate for).
It’s my contribution to this crisis. I want to make career coaching a no-brainer for you, so that you can use this time to get unstuck and clear about your shift.
Career change in lockdown is not only possible, it’s the perfect time. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by.
I know that your work isn’t right, and it hasn’t been for a long time.
What will you do about it?